Special book collections

Fashion and Costume Collection

Past, present and future of fashion

Kensington and Chelsea has been the birthplace of some of the major movements in the world of fashion. Punk era, for example, started on King’s Road, just down the road from Chelsea Library. The borough is also home to the world-famous V&A Museum and the Design Museum and has given to the world several influential designers such as Ossie Clark, Mary Quaint, Biba and Vivienne Westwood. 

Chelsea Library in King’s Road holds within it a fantastic treasure – a large collection of books, magazines about fashion and costume available today. This extensive collection discusses fashion and costume from the earliest times to the present and looks into the future. It represents a wonderful source of information, ideas and practical advice for anyone interested in these subjects, from those with a casual interest, to fashion students and theatre or costume professionals.

Fashion magazines and journals

  • British Vogue from 1924 onwards
  • Tatler and Harper’s Bazaar from 1949 onwards
  • an archive of L’Officiel
  • Taylor and Cutter
  • The Manufacturing Clothier
  • The Ladies’ Cabinet
  • La Belle Ensemble

View the collection

You’ll find the Fashion and Costume Collection on the first floor of Chelsea Library. It is mainly a reference collection, but it is situated in a large reading room so it can be consulted and used in comfort in the library. Some items are available for loan too.

Useful fashion eResources

We have some of the best and most comprehensive fashion and costume eResources which are free to access with your Kensington and Chelsea library card. Take a look at our Fashion and art eResources page.

You will also find fashion and design magazines available via Libby and PressReader. There’s more information on our eMagazines page.

Last updated: 23 February 2023