Yes the liveries of the Heralds and coachmen were amazing - perhaps some detail on the workmanship that made these ribbon bedecked jackets and elaborate velvet tabards would have padded out our sense of 'how and why?'
I am even less sure of who the exhibition is aimed at - my sense as I came away was - did the Moscow Armouries send a few spare articles over and the V&A have to display them? The timeline seemed fairly narrow - 1720 to 1918. Were they trying to tell us something about the last years of the Russian Ewmpire; what led to the revolution? Certainly of the Emperors covered 3 were assainated - historically that puts the deaths of Nicholas II and his family in context. Would schoolchildren have that sense of history? Would fashion students care? Were all those yards of ribbon machine made? Help me V&A I need to know!
Perhaps the very fact that I am so full of questions is what the curator wanted?
Well here are a few more; the V&A holds a huge collection of decorative artifacts - could they not have displayed the 'magnificence of the Tzars with a few more of these? As usual the fashion gallery was hot and close - I went to the Supreames costume exhibition there (and that was a faultless display!) and because of the location and the lack of real educational benefit of the 'Magnificence of the Tzars' could not wait to leave!
OR - got to the V&A web site and save yourself the cost of a ticket http://www.vam.ac.uk/collections/fashion/tsars/
The Magnificence of the Emperors: From The Moscow Kremlin Museums Collection is on at the V&A from 10 December 2008 to 29 March 2009