V&A names Tristram Hunt as new director as it works on expansion
London's Victoria and Albert (V&A) museum has announced the appointment of Dr Tristram Hunt as its new director. The museum is a key destination for the fashion sector globally, acting both as a general inspiration source for designers but also curating regular fashion and art exhibitions.
The leading London museum has one of the largest and most comprehensive fashion collections in the world, spanning five centuries and including rare 17th century gowns, 18th century ‘mantua’ dresses, 1930s evening wear 1960s daywear and post-war couture.
It celebrates contemporary fashion by hosting live catwalk events as part of its Fashion in Motion series, which has brought collections by Christopher Raeburn, Yohji Yamamoto, Erdem Moralioglu, Stephen Jones and Roksanda Ilincic to the wider public.
In 2015 the V&A also presented the highly successful exhibition on Alexander McQueen, Savage Beauty. It was the most popular show in the museum’s history.
Its new director Dr Tristram Hunt is stepping down from politics having served as Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central since 2010. He was previously the Shadow Secretary of State and Shadow Minister for Education.
But he is also an expert on the 18th and 19th centuries, with a particular focus on Victorian urban history, and has written several books including The English Civil War: At First Hand. He is a history broadcaster on BBC and Channel 4 and lectures on modern British history at Queen Mary University of London.
His appointment comes at a moment of transformation and renewal for the V&A. The design institution is working on the opening of a new site on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, which will complement the existing V&A venues, as well as a gallery in Dundee in Scotland, and one in China.
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