Explore the History of Wedding Dresses at the V&A in May

Wedding dress designs have changed immeasurably over the decades, in line with the fashion of the day, so if you have an interest in the history of traditional white wedding dresses, come along to the Wedding Dresses 1775 – 2014 exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Photo by morrina
Photo by morrina

The exhibition opens on Saturday May 3 and continues until Sunday March 15, 2015. It is a fascinating look at more than two centuries of wedding dress design and features a number of high profile wedding gowns worn by famous celebrities and royals, although, sadly, not the dress worn by the Duchess of Cambridge.

About the Exhibition

The V&A has a massive collection of wedding dresses dating back to the 1700s and this exhibition explores the history of wedding dresses. It also offers visitors a glimpse into the lives of the people who wore them. Over the years many famous designers have produced iconic white wedding dresses, including Vivian Westwood, John Galliano, Norman Hartnell, Christian Lacroix, Charles Frederick Worth and Charles James. The workmanship and designs are often amazing, particularly in the older gowns dating back to the 1700s, and one of the highlights of the exhibition is a perfectly preserved wedding gown from 1780, featuring hand-stitched Spitalfields silk.

Wedding Dress Highlights

Celebrity spotters will immediately recognise the stunning pink dip-dye Dior gown worn by Gwen Stefani when she married Gavin Rossdale, former front man of rock band, Bush. Another dress worth looking out for (and frankly difficult to miss) is the daring purple number worn by Dita Von Teese when she tied the knot with shock rocker Marilyn Manson. Lastly, the wedding dress worn by society lady-about-town, Lady Mary Charteris, and designed by Pamm Hogg, will also be on show. Of course this is only a small selection—there are many more weddings dresses to admire, ranging from modern designs through to antique wedding dresses dating back to the 18th century.

Wedding Day Inspiration

You may not be able to afford anything of this calibre, but it doesn’t hurt to go along and check out the many different styles of wedding dresses from the last two hundred years. It is also a good way of seeking inspiration if you are planning a wedding at some point in the future—pick up some postcards from the shop or make a few sketches and let your imagination go wild. The V&A shop sells a large number of books on all things wedding related, including dresses, underwear, jewellery and style advice for wedding enthusiasts or indeed anyone with an interest in fashion. The V&A also has a wedding dresses Pinterest board. Pictures of items from the exhibition collections are available online and can be re-pinned to your own Pinterest board for you to share with your others.

Wedding Planners

You could even take your other half along to the exhibition if your heavy hints are failing to make a dent on their consciousness. After an afternoon spent looking at wedding dresses, the penny will surely drop, although if they disappear shortly after, it is a safe bet that a white wedding probably isn’t on the cards any time soon!

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