Even those of us who are slightly anti-marriage and may never wear a wedding dress are still slightly obsessed with the concept, it may be hard to admit but it is the ultimate outfit in the lives of most women. I remember doing a blog a while back on Royal Wedding dresses and getting a bit addicted to pouring over the historical facts and detail. We all know how iconic they can be – Kate’s Alexander McQueen dress? I personally am a big fan of Grace Kelly’s and prefer simple silhouettes with amazing attention to detail to make it unique.
The V & A always come up trumps for fashion exhibitions and this summer we are spoiled with not one but two stellar offerings – the Wedding Dress exhibition and the Italian Fashion exhibition – it’s all a bit too much! The exhibition spans over three centuries, giving us a delectable timeline of styles and the history behind some of the most famous dressed in history. Wedding Dresses has been seen by 240,000 visitors in four international venues, showing that its popularity is still at an all time high, despite massive shifts in social norms over recent decades.
With 70 outfits designed by some of the world’s most talented designers, such as the founder of couture Charles Frederick Worth, Norman Hartnell, John Galliano, Vivienne Westwood and Vera Wang, we are definitely in for a visual treat. The exhibition also contains pieces from the V & A’s own collection from the past two centuries, as well as new acquisitions and high profile loans, such as Dita Von Teese’s dress for her short lived marriage to Marilyn Manson, and the dresses of Gwen Stefani and the Duchess of Cornwall.
Like many fashion bloggers I am fascinated with the fashion history, and this exhibition is dripping in interesting historical facts. I was fascinated to learn that white dresses were not always the popular choice – in the 18th century wealthy women preferred fabrics woven with metal thread! White become more popular in the 19th century (popularised by Queen Victoria) – brides would remove the trimmings from their dresses and wear them again for other events. The first documented white gown was in 1406, worn by Phillippa of England. In the East, red was worn to symbolise wealth and status. Black was popular in Scandinavia. There is a mistaken belief that white symbolises virginity – in olden days blue represented chastity. I could go on and on but you can find out more first hand when you visit!
Wedding Dresses – 1775 to 2014 – 3rd May 2014 to 15th March 2015.
£12 (adult/no donation). Open late every Friday.