Author(s): Sonia Ashmore
This book charts the history of muslin, a cotton textile so fine as to be almost invisible, and the story of its export from India to Europe and America, while illustrating some of the finest examples from the V&A's relatively unexplored collection of more than 900 objects, including male and female dress, dolls and ballet costumes. Its uses range from gowns for Mughal princes and delicately embroidered dresses to the baby's humble nappy. Many examples in the Asian collections are dyed with vivid colours and embellished with embroidery, gold, silver, spangles and even propaganda, while in the West muslin was adapted to changing fashions throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and has even been used by designers such as Barbara Hulanicki, Vivienne Westwood and John Galliano.
Sonia Ashmore is a design historian specializing in aspects of cultural exchange and trade between Britain and Asia. She has published widely and contributed to a number of V&A books, including British Asian Style (V&A 2010).