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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 February 2007, 18:09 GMT
Discovering Kylie's style secrets
By Fiona Pryor
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

Kylie's iconic gold pants
Kylie wore the gold hot pants in her Spinning Around video
An exhibition of Kylie Minogue's stage costumes, awards and accessories has launched at the Victoria and Albert Museum in central London.

It depicts the many twists and turns in her image over the last 20 years - beginning with the dungarees she wore in Neighbours as tomboy mechanic Charlene, before embarking on her pop career.

Her impact has been felt beyond pop music - throughout her two decades of fame she has carved out a reputation as being a trend-setter, which has led to designers falling over themselves to make clothes for her.

The collection features some of the colourful and feather-covered costumes from her recent Showgirl: Homecoming tour - delayed after the 38-year-old was diagnosed with breast cancer.

One costume, from her Fever tour, is mounted on a mannequin which towers above the exhibition hall, revealing the dress and its huge layered skirt. On stage it was big enough to hide 12 dancers beneath it.

You get a really good sense of what a strong career Kylie's had and her constant renewal and ability to create new, fresh, interesting things
Margot Anderson, assistant curator of the exhibition

Framed pictures of Minogue adorn the walls, documenting her career as a style icon who constantly reinvents herself.

Above the portraits is a quote from the singer: "Were it not for my parents, I'm sure this collection would be the size of a suitcase, rather than an exhibition space."

Elaborate costumes

Assistant curator Margot Anderson says: "It's really interesting to go through the costumes and see how she has evolved from the very early days.

"You get a really good sense of what a strong career Kylie's had, and her constant renewal and ability to create new, fresh, interesting things."

The focal point of the whole collection is a replica of Minogue's dressing room at Wembley, during her Showgirl tour of just a month ago.

Justin Timberlake and Kylie Minogue
Kylie made her own alternations to the dress she wore at the 2003 Brits
A huge rail of elaborate costumes is hung up, while masks and head gear with a wardrobe next to it with pouring out of its drawers.

No detail has gone untouched, as even a split bottle of nail polish on the dressing table can be seen and a pair of her slippers underneath the dressing table.

"We bought it in lock, stock and barrel - fan mail, a note from Dannii Minogue on the mirror," explains V&A performing arts exhibitions head Vicky Broackes.

"Its all in there and I think that's where you get very close to Kylie," she added.

Designers' thoughts

The exhibition also features the thoughts of the designers who have worked with Minogue over the years.

I spent many sleepless nights sewing crystals onto Kylie's outfits - there never seemed to be enough sparkle on these dainty clothes
Julien Macdonald, designer

"I spent many sleepless nights sewing crystals onto Kylie's outfits. There never seemed to be enough sparkle on these dainty clothes," said Julien Macdonald.

In the exhibition, he recalls an evening when the singer took his fashion sense into her own hands.

She performed with Justin Timberlake at the 2003 Brits ceremony, but needed a new outfit at the last minute.

Macdonald only had one dress with him - a black outfit with a neckline made up of crystal.

But when he saw her performance on television, she had slashed the dress to the top of her thigh, making it into a short mini dress.

"That night my heart stopped. Kylie had cut the dress. She did look fantastic though, and it made all the front pages, so all was forgiven."

The exhibition runs from 8 February to 10 June at the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, London.

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