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The work of Bellville Sassoon, Britain’s most prominent high-society couture label, is the subject of a major new exhibition now on at London’s Fashion and Textile Museum.

In celebration of the 10th birthday of FTM, the Bermondsey Street museum is playing host to 150 designs and dresses from the label’s archive, each exploring the role of British couture on the international stage.

Established by Belinda Bellville and David Sassoon in the 1960s, Bellville Sassoon rapidly grew to become the go-to couture house for designs synonymous with unapologetic glamour and elegance, each of which offered an exciting alternative to the traditional couture pieces offered by more conservative design houses. Fuelled by the busy high society calendar of coming out parties, weddings and balls, bespoke Bellville Sassoon designs were frequently commissioned for debutantes and the new breed of jet-setting celebrities emerging throughout the 1960s.

Clients of the label also included members of the Royal Family, with Princess Margaret, Princess Anne and Princess Michael of Kent all stepping out in gowns which embodied luxury British craftsmanship and opulence. The company further expanded in the 1980s under designer Lorcan Mullany, who developed the ready-to-wear business and the label’s association with Vogue patterns- an affiliation which continues today and which has allowed thousands of women to create their own Bellville Sassoon designs at home.

Celia Joicey, Head of Fashion and Textile Museum, says: ‘Bellville Sassoon’s designs epitomise high-society glamour. They reinvented British couture in the second half of the 20th century, and their designs wonderfully evoke a world of debutantes, socialites, weddings and royal celebrity. We are delighted to be collaborating with David Sassoon to create this major exhibition.’

The Glamour of Bellville Sassoon runs at Fashion and Textile Museum London until 11 January 2014.

Sarah Farrell is a fashion and lifestyle blogger at My Sentimental Heart. A regular contributor to Aesthetic Magazine, Sarah’s main interests lie in baking and style. Sarah is also the Features Editor of Aesthetic Online. She Tweets @sarah_sentiment.

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