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General News > Internationally Celebrated Costumier Recreates Founder's Ballgown
25th – 30th June & 3rd – 6th July 2012
An internationally celebrated costumier is to recreate a ballgown for The Bowes Museum, originally worn by its founder, Joséphine Bowes.
Luca Costigliolo, an expert on historical sewing methods, has appeared in BBC2’s Victorian and Edwardian Farm series and is currently creating the wardrobe for Lucretia Borgia - played by actress Holliday Grainger - for the TV series The Borgias.
A founder member and teacher at The School of Historical Dress in London, Luca is a costume designer and maker, both for the theatre and opera. He has worked with The Globe Theatre and English National Opera and has co-written two V&A Museum publications on 17th Century dress.
The gown he is recreating for the Museum, which is shown in the 1860s portrait of Joséphine above, will be made from the finest silk specially woven in Como, Italy, using sewing techniques that would have been used at the time.
The project, appropriately titled Joséphine Bowes and the Costumier, will create a unique interpretation of Joséphine’s story, with visitors able to watch the making of the one item so often requested, a dress belonging to her.
Luca will be working in full view of the public, explaining his methods and answering questions as he goes along. He will closely reference the portrait, which is on show on the first floor of the Museum; Joséphine’s dress bills - she shopped at Worth, Paris - which are in the Museum archive; and a selection of her fashion plates and magazines from our library.
“There are no surviving examples of Joséphine’s fine Parisian wardrobe, so we very excited at the prospect of bringing to life our founder in this way,” said Joanna Hashagen, the Museum’s Keeper of Fashion & Textiles.
The 10 day event involving the making of the gown will be captured on film and as an online video diary and blog, documenting every stage of the pattern cutting and sewing. It will begin with the making of the crinoline, to give shape to the full skirt of the gown, ready for when the finished dress goes on display in late July.
Watch Luca’s daily progress online and comment at www.thebowesmuseum.org.uk