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Evening skirt suit and cloak

Evening skirt suit and cloak

  • Place of origin:

    London (designed and made)

  • Date:


  • Artist/Maker:

    Margaret King (designer)
    Aquascutum (makers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    wool and silk brocade; shot-silk.

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the family of the late Baroness Thatcher

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Purple and deep pink brocade dinner suit, the jacket with scalloped peplum, lower in the back than the front. Removable purple and pink shot-silk cuffs with frills and a removable pleated shot-silk dicky are attached inside neckline and sleeves with covered press-studs. The same silk covers the buttons down the front of the jacket. The skirt is full length and slim cut, the back with a long panel extendng into a short train. Worn with a loose, flowing shot-silk taffeta cloak, sleeveless, with gathered shoulders.

Place of Origin

London (designed and made)




Margaret King (designer)
Aquascutum (makers)

Materials and Techniques

wool and silk brocade; shot-silk.


Length: 63 cm jacket front, Length: 69 cm jacket back, Circumference: 104 cm bust, Circumference: 100 cm jacket waist, Width: 23 cm dicky, Length: 20.5 cm dicky, Circumference: 26 cm removable cuffs, Length: 6 cm removable cuffs, Circumference: 80 cm skirt waist, Circumference: 102 cm skirt hips, Length: 102.5 cm skirt front, Length: 113 cm skirt back, including train

Object history note

In 1988 Thatcher wore a dramatic purple and pink metallic brocade dinner suit to the Lord Mayor's Banquet. The couture ensemble by Aquascutum was paired with a sweeping purple and pink shot-silk taffeta cloak. This outfit has a powerful visual impact and strong presence. Thatcher wore it with a chunky pearl and diamond necklace and earrings, which played up the regal qualities of the outfit. Some commentators have compared Thatcher's appearance and self-presentation at this time to that of Queen Elizabeth I, who, 400 years earlier, was also a powerful woman in a predominantly masculine world, and who, like Thatcher, used her image and profile to great effect.

- Daniel Milford-Cottam

Descriptive line

Aquascutum, London, 1988. Purple and pink wool brocade and shot-silk dinner suit with shot-silk cloak.

Labels and date

Evening ensemble
Margaret King for Aquascutum

This brocade suit has a floor length skirt and sleeveless, taffeta opera cape with sweeping train. Margaret Thatcher wore the outfit to the Lord Mayor's Banquet at London's Guildhall in 1988, where she gave the evening's keynote speech. The ensemble was custom designed for the then Prime Minister by Aquascutum.

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]


Wool and silk; Brocade; Shot silk


Tailoring; Weaving; Sewing


Politics; Fashion; Clothing; Women's clothes

Production Type

Haute couture


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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