Dressed to the Nines is a current exhibition showing at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, it showcases types of clothing worn for special occasions from 1850 to present day. Featuring a selection of clothing (on mannequins and a rail), a display of shoes and drawings. The artists and designers who are featured through the space include Christan Dior, John Everett Millais and Lacey Lou. Dressed to the Nines was curated by Dr Rebecca Unsworth – her first exhibition. 

Figure 1 shows the section that is the peak of the exhibition – the dresses show a diverse mix, which complement one another in both style and colour. The main difference between this section in comparison to the others is the background. Utilising the sparkly curtain behind the clothing, creates a heightened sense of elegance throughout the display and it also forces a sense of union throughout. It’s a shame that this concept wasn’t carried out through the whole exhibition. “Blink and you will miss Dressed to the Nines” (Catherine, 2020). Initially the size of the display is underwhelming, however I think this is affected more so by the lack of back drops – having them would have intensified the environment and thoroughly encaptivated the viewer; meaning the size wouldn’t have mattered. An example shown in Figure 2 is the Too Cute! exhibition (Rachel Maclean) that also showed at Birmingham: due to its interior, was described as “A curational experience that excels in the bizarre” (Glover, 2019).  

The most unusual section of the display is photographed in Figure 3. The clothes here were displayed on a rail, meaning the audience couldn’t view anything efficiently. In your average display of clothing this wouldn’t have been an issue, however Dressed to the Nines is specifically displaying extravagant wear for special occasion. The rail forced the viewer to be inquisitive without the opportunity to explore it – leaving you dissatisfied. 

Overall, the exhibition is a good exhibition as it mostly shows coherence however, it had the potential to be phenomenal through minor changes. Seeing as it was Dr Unsworth first experience of curating, I am excited to see future exhibition’s that she curates. 



Catherine, B. (2020) ‘Review of exhibition’ Blink and you will miss Dressed to the nines exhibition (TripAdvisor) 13 February 2020 [Online] Available from < https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g186402-d188935-r744791111-Birmingham_Museum_Art_Gallery-Birmingham_West_Midlands_England.html> [25 March 2020] 

Glover, T. (2019) ‘Review of exhibition’ TOO CUTE! A Curational Experience that Excels in the Bizarre. 26 February 2019. Available from < https://artsbrum.com/too-cute-a-curational-experience-hat-excels-in-the-bizarre/> [20 March 2020]  

Maclean, R. (2019) Too Cute! [Art Exhibition] Birmingham: Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, March 2019 

 Maddock, Z. (2018) Rachel Maclean to curate Too Cute! At Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery in January 2020 [Online] Available from <https://www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/blog/posts/rachel-maclean-to-curate-too-cute-at-birmingham-museum-art-gallery-in-january-2019> [25 March 2020] 

Unsworth, R. (2019) Twitter Update. 16 December. Available from <https://twitter.com/BexUnsworth/status/1206582723944624128> [20 March 2020]  

Unsworth, R. (2020) Dressed to the Nines [Art Exhibition] Birmingham: Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, 17 February 2020 

Williams, G. (2014) How to write about Contemporary Art. London: Thames and Hudson