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Skirt suit

  • Place of origin:

    London (designed and made)
    Paris (buttons, made)

  • Date:

    c.2000 (designed and made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Starzewski, Tomasz, born 1961 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    wool lined with silk satin, metal and enamel buttons.

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the family of the late Baroness Thatcher

  • Museum number:

    T.1595:1&2-2017

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Skirt suit in fuchsia pink wool lined with silk satin. The jacket has three artist-designed metal and pink enamel buttons. Decorative blanket-stitching edges the collar. Pocket flaps extend from the front panels of the jacket (the actual pockets appear to be sewn up, or non-functional) . Knee-length pencil skirt.

Place of Origin

London (designed and made)
Paris (buttons, made)

Date

c.2000 (designed and made)

Artist/maker

Starzewski, Tomasz, born 1961 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

wool lined with silk satin, metal and enamel buttons.

Dimensions

Length: 80 cm jacket, Circumference: 108 cm bust, Circumference: 98 cm jacket waist, Length: 64 cm skirt, Circumference: 82 cm skirt waist, Circumference: 100 cm hips

Object history note

Mrs. Thatcher ceased to be Prime Minister in 1990, when she was succeeded by John Major as leader of the Conservative Party. She became Baroness Thatcher in 1992. The Baroness retained and maintained her strong sense of style, regularly buying clothing from the designer Tomasz Starzewski (b.1961), whose family came to the United Kingdom as political refugees from Poland in 1947. Starzewski custom-made a fuchsia pink suit with decorative blanket-stitching and artist-designed metal buttons for Thatcher. It was a colour that Thatcher wore quite regularly as it was her husband Denis's favourite. She notably wore the suit on 11 March 2004 to attend the Women of Achievement Reception held at Buckingham Palace, London, although she may well have owned it for a while previously, as Denis had died the previous year and this was donated as having been one of his favourite outfits to see his wife wearing.

Formal portrait photographs of Thatcher taken at the event on 11 March 2004 clearly show that the decorative blanket-stitching on the side of the collar had already come slightly adrift at the time she wore it. We have therefore decided to leave the stitching exactly as it was, rather than re-adjust it to sit in the intended alignment.

- Daniel Milford-Cottam
19/10/2016

Descriptive line

Tomasz Starzewski, London, c.2000. Fuchsia pink wool skirt suit with Paris artisan-designed buttons.

Labels and date

Suit
Tomasz Starzewski (born 1955)
About 2000

Margaret Thatcher was made a Baroness in 1992, two years after she stepped down as Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader. She remained a prominent public figure and wore this suit by the London-based couturier Tomasz Starzewski to the Women of Achievement reception at Buckingham Palace on 11 March 2004.

London
Wool and silk
Given by the family of the late Baroness Thatcher [December 2016 to mid 2017]
A Prime Minister's Wardrobe
1979 - 2003

In 2016, the V&A was given a selection of clothing belonging to the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013). The collection includes outfits worn by Baroness Thatcher at significant moments in her public and private life, and constitutes a record of the working wardrobe of one of the most important figures in recent political history.

As a powerful woman in a predominantly masculine environment, Margaret Thatcher used her wardrobe as a strategic tool to inspire confidence and project authority. She was a strong supporter of the British fashion industry, and commissioned many of her signature tailored 'power suits' from the London firm Aquascutum.

Thatcher understood the power of image, especially in a media-driven world, and frequently wore bold colours in order to make a visual impression. She was also aware that her wardrobe had a diplomatic function, recalling, 'I took a close interest in clothes, as most women do: but it was also extremely important that the impression I gave was right for the political occasion'. [December 2016 to mid 2017]

Materials

Wool; Silk satin; Enamel; Metal

Techniques

Tailoring; Sewing

Categories

Politics; Fashion; Clothing; Women's clothes

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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