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Marvel at intricate costume creation, in a wonderful display of Barbie dolls dressed in period outfits, highlighting  fashion through the ages. ‘An accurate depiction of the change in ladies dress from 1066-1980s’ was designed and created by Lisa Smith. The exhibition, on display in the Great Hall, showcases the changes in fashion and ladieswear across the centuries and later decades.

“I used Barbie dolls as my main model for 2 reasons” said Lisa. “1. I knew they would be available perpetually, and so kept my collection standard. 2. There are a wide range of different looks, shape, and colour and so reflect the real life diversity in ladies appearances.”

About Lisa Smith

“Having been involved in Amateur and Semi-Professional Theatre for 30 years and involved in all aspects of it from Acting, Singing, back-stage, props, prompting, set decoration etc., in some of the main theatres in Sandwell, Birmingham and Worcestershire, one of my principle passions within the theatre was Costume, particularly for period plays which require accurate period costume! I was so interested in it that over the years I have self-studied it, requesting books on it for birthdays, Christmas etc.  

Ever since I was a teenager and being interested in History, I’ve wanted to do this project, but a busy life just got in the way.  I am a Mum to 2 daughters, and worked, (Some of which I ran my own entertainment business for 6 years which required making and adapting all period styles of costume). When my Girls, (And my little Cairn Terrier, Oscar), grew up and I had more time to myself, I set to it….To portray the, ‘Accurate Depiction of the Change in Ladies dress from 1066-1980’s!’ 

5 years later I have a collection of 74 Barbie dolls that I have dressed in accurate costume, having studied each era in depth for my project. The amount of time spent on a doll would depend on the style and size of the dress, anything from 2 hours to 2 weeks, as I wanted to ensure that every detail was included, even to the back seaming on the Georgian dress that is typical…. 

The tags show the Monarch Reigning at the time of the fashion and the date being the period of time the style was in vogue. As you can see, the later periods have several changes of costume, and in some of these I have had to show just a selection of designs, because like today, styles change every year and there are lot’s more to catch up on!”

Come along for a visit to the Castle and see this fabulous display! Bring the whole family and also enjoy our Terrific Teddies & Toys craft activities. No booking required (except Bank Holiday Monday).