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On Friday night I attended the National Portrait Gallery: Late Shift Extra – The Elizabethans Undressed – a free public event that co-incided with their latest exhibition. It featured various events and happenings throughout the gallery.

Here’s the blurb:

For one night only, delve into a world of Elizabethan fashion, music, cosmetics and culture inspired by our current exhibition Elizabeth I & Her People*. Marvel at the ritual of dressing and undressing in Elizabethan times with costume designer Jenny Tiramani and her specialist team.

Admire the completed outfits, which are created using Original Practices and meticulous attention to detail, as they are paraded in a spectacular catwalk show.

Experience the thrill of Elizabethan love poetry with an intimate performance of John Donne’s poem ‘To his Mistress Going to Bed’ and get creative with the evening’s writer in residence. Enjoy talks by exhibition curator Dr Tarnya Cooper and other experts, take part in drawing, textile and cosmetics workshops, and revel like it’s 1599 with live music in the pop-up bar.

Although I was interested to see how the curators would bring to life this particular era, I was especially keen to see the un/dressing performances. There were several of these taking place around the gallery. Each involved a dresser and model on a small stage. The dresser talked and answered questions as they dressed the model and then walked around the gallery interacting with members of the public. It was a informative and entertaining method.



While this was great, I was more taken with the “Ruffs and Cuffs” workshop whereby people were invited to make their own accessory from an array of paper, wire and pins.






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