The Alice Look
2 May – 1 November 2015
2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the first publication of one of Britain’s best-known and
most-loved children’s books, Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. To mark the
anniversary, the V&A Museum of Childhood’s display The Alice Look will bring together
garments, photographs, rare editions and illustrations to show Alice as both a follower of
fashion and a trendsetter.
Using photographs by Annie Leibovitz, book cover designs by Vivienne Westwood and
Japanese Lolita clothing, The Alice Look will show how Alice has always embraced
contemporary style. The display will also show how she has strongly influenced the way
people dress and inspired designers and stylists the world over.
The display culminates with a new commission by Josie Smith, pattern-cutter for Roksanda
Ilincic, who will make fashion literally out of fiction, producing a 3-D version of Alice’s
Wonderland outfit using fabric printed with text from the book.
The display will be divided into four parts:
Beginnings will twin early editions of the Alice books with children’s garments from the
Victorian period. Sir John Tenniel’s illustrations will be brought to life alongside the distinctive
trademark elements of the original Alice look - striped stockings, apron, full-skirted dress and
T-bar shoes from the V and A’s collections.
Follower of Fashion will show how illustrators have kept Alice relevant and up-to-date for
contemporary audiences through a selection of 20th-century editions of Wonderland.
Inspiration will use magazines, photographs, posters and fabrics, as well as a compilation of
films and still shots, to show how a vast array of people dress like Alice or wear clothes
adorned with her image. A series of photographs that Annie Liebovitz shot for US Vogue
featuring Natalia Vodianova and styled by Grace Coddington will sit alongside images of Lizzy
Jagger in GQ. A selection of fabrics and supporting artwork from the Liberty Spring Summer
2015 Alice-themed fabric collection will demonstrate how Carroll’s work continues to excite
and inspire. There will also be a film showing clips of pop videos and catwalk shows inspired
by Alice, featuring Gwen Stefani, Avril Lavigne and Aerosmith among others.
Global Alice will combine costume and text to show how Alice’s appearance alters according
to her location: Provençal Alice wears tropézienne sandals and a sundress, whilst a Swahili
Alice dispenses with crinoline and opts for a local kanga. A complete Lolita-style outfit from
the 1980s will show the pervasive influence of Alice on Japanese sub-culture.
On Saturday 9 May 2015 a one-day conference will be held at the Museum exploring Alice as
both follower of fashion and trend-setter, with papers spanning the century and half since
the publication of Wonderland. It will look closely at what Alice wears and what this can tell
us about her, and at some of the diverse practices of dressing as Alice in different parts of the
world. It will also explore the extent of and reasons for the profound influence of the Alice
books on the world of fashion. Confirmed speakers will include Will Brooker, Aneesh Barai,
Shahidha Bari, Ellen Kirkpatrick, Emma Mawston, Clare Rose, Mark Richards, Josephine Rout
and Kiera Vaclavik.
You can visit the Museum of Childhood's website here.