The costume collection comprises of approximately 4.000 items: men’s-, women’s- and children’s clothes from 1700 to the middle of the 20th century. In addition the Rijksmuseum also holds several costumes from the 17th century worn by important historical figures. However the emphasis of the costume collection lies on the 18th century with a wedding dress of c. 1760 with a two metres wide skirt as the ultimate highlight. The 19th and 20th centuries are well represented with examples from fashion houses at home and abroad. Of a more recent date are the post-war dress made of silk maps and the Yves Saint Laurent ‘Mondrian’ dress from 1965.
Although most of the costumes from the collection have been worn by Dutch men and women, the fabrics, cut or embellishments often came from abroad i.e. Paris, London, Rome, the Indian Coromandel coast or Canton in China. One of these exotic status symbols was the ‘Japonsche rock’, a kimono like banyan worn here since the 17th century and of which the Rijksmuseum own various splendid examples.