Narratives of Dress: The Pink Silk Dress, “A Costume Drama!”

8th – 22nd June 2022 | Wednesday to Saturday 12-8pm.

Unit 6, Great Western Arcade.

‘You are invited to a “costume drama!” Join Misses Gell, dressmakers c.1877, at the Great Western Arcade, Birmingham.

Narratives of Dress: the Pink Silk Dress offers the audience an encounter with the pink silk dress and explores its possible ‘lived biographies.’

Upstairs, in Misses Gells’ studio, we encounter the dress-makers at work, but hidden in the cellar we find the pink silk dress, and hear her speak. The audience is invited to witness a dialogue between the researcher and the pink silk dress, where dress and researcher discourse on parallel trajectories. The cellar space offers an echo of the original ‘founding moment’, as experienced by the researcher and the pink silk dress.


The pink silk dress is part of a larger assemblage of dress uncovered in 2012. Discovered in a cupboard at Birmingham City University (BCU) by Louise E P Chapman, Senior lecturer in BA Hons Costume Design and Practice at BCU research revealed three gatherings within the larger assemblage of dress with one part of the gathering bequeathed by Kate Elizabeth Bunce, the Birmingham Pre-Raphaelite artist. The pink silk dress comes from a ‘hybrid gathering’ we believe bequeathed as an object to study to the Birmingham Institute of Jewellery, Fashion and Textiles at Birmingham City University.

Please note that you will need to pre- book the ‘founding moment’ as numbers are limited to five, within 30- minute time slots. Please allow an hour to an hour and half for your visit.

Link attached: https://www.narrativesofdress.co.uk/book-online