I always pop to the V&A when I'm east - even just to potter about the beautiful corridors, gaze at the wonderful Victorian toilet tiles (left) or have a coffee in the Gamble Room (right). The Fashion & Jewellery collections are vast and exquisite [but will be shut from mid-Nov 2010 til Spring 2012!!! :( ].
Whilst we were there we saw the 'Fashion Fantasies: fashion plates and fashion satire, 1775-1925' expo. (I had to ask 3 members of staff where it was as no-one seemed to know...so I guess it's not that popular - but it's a wee gem in my opinion! It's in Leighton, room 102 (which is acutally a corridor).)
A lovely little collection of satirical fashion giggles - here is my favourite:
Punch kept a long-running campaign against the crinoline, claiming it was an example of female frivolity and excess. Here a fashionable woman confronted by the ghost of the over-worked seamstress who stitched her enormous and elaborate dress. [The Haunted Lady, John Tenniel (1820-1914)]