Summer is always seen to be the season of weddings. Though I am not attending a wedding myself this summer; the Wedding Dress exhibition from 1775-2014 at the V&A museum
was a step in the right direction. The exhibition curated by Edwina Ehrman exemplifies ways in which culture and society have grown to influence the modern day bride. Some say it is a girls prerogative to envision every element of her wedding from a young age and the dress is one of many important features decided upon. Attending the exhibition was surreal to say the least; coming face to face with designers such as Vera Wang, Alice Temperley, John Galliano and Jenny Packham.
With a mixed variety of old and new, the exhibition began with Margaret Whigham’s wedding dress 1933 by Norman Hartnell. Her wedding dress epitomised elegance and sexiness. With an embroidered silk satin dress and a tulle veil, the wedding dress was studded with pearl transparent stars, with a figure hugging shape. The exhibition was well executed with a beautiful array of chronological dresses. Next up was Barbara Beaton in 1934 who had a modern interpretation of the white dress with a wide high raised neckline and divided train; also made from satin.
Sarah Burton, the brains behind the magnificent dress that Kate Middleton wore is of course of great significance to the exhibition though it was not standing behind a glass encased box, the exhibition gave the perfect balance between tradition and modernity. Watching the video footage as Kate stepped outside the car took my breath away. Kate sought to combine tradition and modernity with ‘the artistic vision that characterises Alexander McQueen’s work’.
Demure, femininity and glamorous were to categorise many of the wedding dresses I was to see. Temperley London designed the ‘Jean dress’ which was a regal portrayal of how culture and society has continuously influenced bridal fashion. Soaked in Swarovski crystals and glass embroiled beads, this silk beauty was one not to miss.
Next on the agenda was the one and only Jenny Packham. I was fortunate to have seen an exclusive catwalk of hers also at the V&A Museum last year. Her glamorous Rapunzel dress was inspired by the Edwardian period of 1900, with a perfect balance of old and new, representing a modern day bride. Packham’s contemporary approach showcased this show stopper ivory silk chiffon dress with hand embroidered Swarovski crystals bodice and an embellished train.
Kate Moss’s wedding dress, designed by John Galliano stood in a singular glass box upstairs in the exhibition I stood looking at the dress for longer than I can say and just pictured how the dress had taken over 701 hours to make, alongside the veil taking 253 hours to complete. The dress made from a gorgeous silk chiffon georgette and silk tulle was hand embroidered with over 270,000 gold sequins, 120,000 foil paillons and 2800 pearl beads. The dress was truly remarkable. Kate had matched her dress with a unique pair of shoes by Manolo Blahnik. Standing not far from Kate’s dress was that of complete contrast.
Dita Von Teese’s wedding dress stood dazzling to the viewer. Her 2005 Vivienne Westwood did not disappoint with a low cut bodice and extravagant skirt. Her bold choice of purple, created an unforgettable image, reflecting her character. The dress was made from synthetic taffeta and of course her statement Louboutins.
Whether you do or you don’t love fashion or weddings, this exhibition is truly phenomenal. The exhibition traces the development of the fashionable white gown and how key designers have modernised and influenced the modern day bride.