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Fiction in Fashion

Start Date 22 October 2013
End Date 11 January 2014
Venue Fashion and Textile Museum
Location London, UK
Curator Sarah Vine

What have glamorous and fashionable women been reading since 1953? This new display showcases the paperback novels that proved most popular with women readers in post-war Britain. Curated by Sarah Vine, the selection of titles is drawn from the archives of Penguin Books and is displayed alongside glamorous designs by British couture house Bellville Sassoon. Together, the dresses and novels reflect the changing taste of some of Britain’s most fashionable women across six decades.

With reference to the bookshelves of some of Britain’s most glamorous women, as well as to cultural barometers such as BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, the Booker Prize and television adaptations the display presents an alternative social history, highlighting novels that have faded from view as well as those that have remained in fashion.

From controversial bestsellers to literary classics, as well as new editions designed to coincide with films, the authors whose novels are highlighted range from L.P. Hartley, Olivia Manning and Dirk Bogarde to Shirley Conran, Marian Keyes and Zadie Smith.