• Instagram - Black Circle
  • Twitter - Black Circle


Please reload



whatgrandmawore is a celebration of all-things fashion and its most iconic moments, written by Ruby-May Helms. She has a BA (Hons) in Fashion and Dress History, and an MA in the History of Design and Material Culture. She is currently in the process of applying for a PHD in design history, exploring the relationship between clothing and death. 


This blog explores fashion and dress history through the analysis of surviving garments and other material culture from museum collections. It discusses fashion theory, topical and current issues, and reviews the latest exhibitions. 


TO CONTACT: rubymayhelms@hotmail.com. 


You can follow us on our social media channels by searching for us on Instagram and Twitter.

  • Twitter
  • Instagram

July 21, 2016

Films provide escapism for those who watch them. Viewers are transported to a world of glamour, stardom, excitement and fantasy. During the ‘Golden Era’ of film, a time commonly associated with the 1930’s, cinema became an enormous industry in America. With the arrival of the talkies (sound films) during the late 1920’s, by 1930, 80 million people visited the cinema weekly (Esquevin, Monacelli Press: 2008).

Big blockbuster studios such as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Paramount were responsible for promoting some of the most well-recognised and prestigious stars of the twentieth century. Garbo, Dietrich, Harlow, Hayworth and Hepburn, were all actresses still idolised today.

Adrian gown, actress Jean Harlow starring in the film Dinner at Eight, 1933. 

These women were beautiful. They appeared on screen in glittering sequin dresses, floor length bias-cut gowns, sharp suits and even more shockingly, masculine trousers. One outfit alone on the screen could produce a fashion phenomenon. America exce...

May 29, 2016

Following my previous post, I wanted to show off some of my photographs that I took of Berlin’s amazing graffiti and street art, as well as sharing an all-important list of places to visit in the evening. As I have already reiterated, Berlin is a city full of culture and art, and this is not just confined to the museum space. For those who want to see the beauty of the streets, read on…

East Side Gallery

118 artists from 21 different countries all contributed to the art which appears on the remaining 1.3km section of the Berlin Wall. Located next to the River Spree inFriedrichshain-Kreuzberg, a district associated with amazing graffiti and a youthful culture, the East Side Gallery is an open air art space which you can view by walking along the street. Filled with political commentary, mockery and dedication to peace, the Berlin Wall stands as a memorial to all those effected by war and the turbulent history of Berlin. Much of the graffiti was protected by metal barriers when I visited...

May 21, 2016

Last month I took a trip to Berlin with my university. I had heard many great things about the city; that it was spacious, modern and full of artistic culture. Indeed, my visit proved that Berlin is an up-and-coming city with much to offer. With such a colourful history to say the least, Berlin is a hodgepodge of Cold War buildings and meticulously formed modern architecture. Youth definitely influences Berlin wherever you travel within the city. I of course took photographs of all the places I visited, however this is not always an option in museums (as rules are rather strict, with some museum assistants insisting that you keep coats and bags in the cloakroom. Therefore if you visit these places, remember to behave yourself). I have made a list of some of my favourite museums that a young visitor to Berlin should definitely make the effort to visit.  




The Kunstgewerbemuseum is a must see for all art/decorative art/fashion history students. At first glance...

Please reload