"The Alice Look" at the V&A Children's Museum. Photo by the author.

“The Alice Look” at the V&A Museum of Childhood.¬†Photo by the author.

I recently visited the V&A Museum of Childhood in London, UK. Its a lovely little museum filled with various toys. They also currently have a small temporary exhibition called ‘The Alice Look’ about how Alice in Wonderland’s Alice has developed and changed and been an influence on fashion.

Alice in Wonderland is an interesting book in that it was created by Lewis Carroll for an actual little girl called Alice Liddell. In the original illustrations of the book shown in the exhibition, Alice is always dressed traditionally in the everyday clothes of a middle-class Victorian child, as this is the era Lewis Carroll wrote the book in. There is also a lovely Victorian outfit on display, much like the one that Alice would have worn. There were also several other costumes and outfits inspired by Alice.

In the exhibition there were several versions, books and picture books, of the story of Alice in Wonderland, all showing different variations of Alice. It was interesting to see how Alice’s hairstyles and clothes change depending on the time period the books are illustrated in. It is a really fun way of looking at how girls fashion changes over time.

In the exhibition there are also several examples of how Alice has not only followed fashion, but also influenced fashion. There is a film clip from a fashion show and several photos from fashion shoots. There is also a lovely pair of shows with a print with characters from Alice in Wonderland that I would quite happily wear out and about shopping.

It is interesting to see how a little girl inspired a story that continues to be an inspiration in our lives today. It was also fun to see so many different interpretations of Alice in one space and reflect on the influence of Alice in Wonderland in my own life.

Recently I dressed up as Alice for a toddler event I organised in a museum. A couple of years ago I created a Halloween costume of the Red Queen for little sister. And last year my other sister played the part of the Cheshire Cat in their school’s performance of Alice in Wonderland.

Has Alice in Wonderland been an influence in your life?

-Michelle Graabek
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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