In 2004, Anglo-American Charlotte Smith inherited a vast collection of vintage and historic garments and accessories from her American Quaker godmother, Doris Darnell. Along with 3,500 items of clothing came boxes of personal letters and Doris’ handwritten notes documenting the stories of the women who wore them. Charlotte quickly realised she had inherited more than a collection of fashion, but rather a collection recording social history and women’s journeys told through fashion.
As the current custodian, Charlotte has expanded the collection enormously, now over 9,000 + pieces, to include fashion from 36 different countries. She has focused on adding important designers from the 1960s to present day with ready-to-wear, couture and haute couture pieces.
As a “Globe Trotting Fashion Anthropologist’, Charlotte travels the world seeking out fashion’s history, inspiration, and sustainability. Of particular interest is the social impact of fashion, 21st century innovation, dressing to empower, and the importance of celebrating and showcasing multicultural fashion.