Your browser needs Javascript support for this feature. Museu Nacional do Traje - Permanent exhibition
15 November 2019
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Permanent exhibition

We are permanently telling the visitors about the history of Portuguese Costume from the Eighteenth Century to the Present Day, on the main floor of the Palace. The exhibition is organised in various nuclei, so as to allow independent visits and facilitate the rotation of the items shown. This was the way we found to invite the public to repeat their visits and see other items in various contexts. This is also a way of ensuring the durability of the collection, alternating its exhibition time with resting periods in our technical reserve, so as not to strain the materials.

Palace and court costumes find in this noble salon, on the first floor, a period setting, among the tile panelling, the mural paintings and the richly ornamented ceilings decorated with stuccoes, seeming sometimes to reflect the delicacy of embroidered lace motifs. On the mural paintings, it happens that a dress with a plis Watteau dialogues with its partner depicted in the tiles.

The Empire, Romanticism, Belle Époque period costumes, even the undergarments, presented in the successive rooms, also with themes and decoration that give the space an intimate feeling – recreating period atmospheres – the arms’ room or the music room, for example – offer scenarios in which leisure activities and study rooms are re-enacted, recreating the life of the Palmela family, rooms where the children were brought up and recalling their future daughter in law and second Duchess.

This circuit is suddenly interrupted by a small presentation of the different technical solutions that have been adopted throughout time to obtain the different silhouettes: From the crinoline to the tournure, the volumes, the solutions and various materials used, always worn on top of undergarments.

And if the undergarments tell a whole story, the Costumes as Worn in the Intimacy of One’s Home explain the dress code that ladies followed in their homes: rules that are usually applicable to the wealthier classes, where social calls and other obligations meant changes of attire throughout the day.

In a completely different spirit – a white, neutral space – is the exhibition showing XX Century Costume up to the present day. It tells the story of a time when the world of fashion underwent more frequent change than ever before, when societies and different cultures influenced each other in a totally new and daring manner. From natural fibres to synthetic ones, from cotton to polyurethane or textile glass, from long skirts to hot pants, from velvets to intelligent textiles with incorporated technology from the creators to the users – us! This is a whole new textile world, full of paths to explore, unendingly surprising.

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