Thursday, 12 June 2014

Wedding Dress Exhibition 1775 - 2014 at the V&A

I went to the  exhibition at the V&A today called the 


The V & A seem to consistently be setting a high standard to rival the Met in fashion history.
They have had recent successes with their past fashion themed shows and are continuing in that vein with this and another fashion themed exhibition showing about the glamour of Italian fashion.

It spanned two hundred years of wedding dresses and had a comprehensive selection.

Dita Von Teese's Vivienne Westwood dress when she married the Manson bloke. Very Scarlett O'Hara coming down those stairs.


There is a saying that a dress maketh a woman but dresses hung on mannequins disproved that theory.
Hence I will try and show you the picture of the woman showing the same dress where possible.


This was one of the other rare colored wedding dresses.
Apparently wearing a colored dress was considered more appropriate for older brides. But did you know that the custom of white wedding dresses only dates as far back as Queen Victoria?
She started the fashion when she wore white lace to her wedding.


A statement wedding dress with the longest train in the exhibition was the following.


While I appreciated the workmanship and detail the dress seemed to be more of a conduit to convey the bride's status.


Can you guess which bride wore this wedding dress?


I was a bit surprised that it was worn by her as well.
Not that I know what I expected from her but it wasn't that memorable for even a devourer of pop culture not to recall...


Most of you should be able to guess the one this belongs to.


Just a postscript...
The shoes were Linda Bennett for LK Bennett.
I had to double check at the exhibition and they did seem to make a point of it too...




This dress is not very photogenic because up close the colors are nuanced and delicate.


No photographs were allowed in the exhibition so most of these photos were courtesy of the museum.
So these are some highlights.

A piece from the 90's.

An example of a wedding dress from the 1700's.
I did wonder if anyone honestly replied when the bride asked if her hips looked big in that dress.

And one by a modern popular designer Jenny Packham.


But my favorite dress of all was this wedding dress which was designed the the American designer that has an exhibition in New York at present.  It was made by Charles James.

Via

It is deceptively simple.


But then you turn around and there is a detail that would be considered avant garde even now.


But upon closer inspection, 
you can see the clever cuts, darts, and stitching.
He put the darts slightly lower than the bust line and that seemed to create a smooth flow of the bust to the waistline.


Apologies for the crude explanation but all I know how to sew is a hole in a sock.
But he knew what he was doing.


There are no pictures I could find but I did find a link to the video news reel of her wedding.
It seemed a merry affair with her bridesmaid wearing a scarlet dress!  Even if you are not interested or don't like the dress, 
the video clip is a charming in many other aspects.
Please view the link here.

If you are in London or plan to be, then I must encourage you to visit and there is plenty of time as it ends March 2015.  
However, if you can't make it then please click on this link and 
browse through the items individually.

Have a lovely weekend.

29 comments:

  1. I am so jealous I would luff to see this!!! Hope you popped in the the Oratory next door (my church of choice esp the Sunday Children's mass) and lit a candle in my honour and thought of Jennifer from the 2 Fat Ladies who went every Sunday.

    Meanwhile I love the Marg of Arg stories. She really lived. Cole Porter mentioned her in a song.

    Stay sane xxx

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    1. Marg of Arg stories are great but many wouldnt get past this PG13 rated blog!! Will light a candle for you and Jen next time. I those two ladies. Sane? Ha. That grand cardinal cross thing nearly drove me crazy!! xx

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  2. I would really enjoy the exhibition as I love weddings.
    Can you imagine getting wed in that stunning blue gown? What a memorable entrance that would be...
    love the Duchess of Argyll's gown.

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    1. Oh you would love this dress for so many reasons. There were a few bride to be's but I don't think they could really gather ideas as there were too many from so many decades. That train was definitely here i am and you can sit way over there look!!

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  3. Wow! That last dress by Charles James is just beautiful! I did a double take at when it was made! It looks so modern; I would have guessed it was a 21st Century dress!
    I miss living near the V & A very much. Thanks for the lovely journey!

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    1. Ironically wedding dresses seem to be stuck in a time zone where as that dress would be a head turner even today! The fashion police would bow to that piece. The weather was just perfect and we sat at the courtyard afterward and if that puddle wasn't so murky i would have gone in myself!

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  4. Great post Naomi! You are my exhibition eyes in London and I love you for it. I did not guess correctly for either the Kate Moss or the Camellia dress but I did know that Queen Victoria is the one who started the vogue for a white wedding dress. That Vicky, such a trendsetter! The Charles James gown is so beautiful in its simplicity and I thought your descriptions of the sewing were spot on and well done. My wedding dress came off the rack from Lord & Taylor on 39th Street in NYC and my husband and I eloped at City Hall back when it was a dump. They renovated it a couple of years ago and I hear it is quite fancy now! You should tell these museums that you need a press pass so you can go on preview day and take your own pictures. You will have so much fun! XO, Jill

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    1. Jill - thanks to you I did ask the V&A before the exhibition and I would have gone but I had to go to Korea but now I am going to do as you kindly recommended! They did say they have their parameters of taking pics so it will be interesting. Did you do a post on your dress? I would love to see and am sure others would too!! xx

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  5. Fabulous post N! I would love to see this exhibit… and it's making me rethink that $150 1960's Norman Hartnell couture coat dress I saw in the local recycle clothes boutique….it's too big for me, but the workmanship and fabrics are so wonderful, I'm tempted just the same.
    I don't know why we all wear white to weddings - it doesn't suit a lot of people. I saw a bride in a local magazine recently who wore an off the rack strapless full skirted evening gown from Collette Dinnigan - it had a white background with blue flowers on it (sort of like it was painted on the silk), and a blue sash at the waist. So pretty and fresh, and completely appropriate. Don't know why more don't do the same? I know I just went the white dress route. Now I would probably try to be more creative I think (although I'm almost 40, so if I were getting married now, I might choose something other than full skirted virginal white - traditional anyway).

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    1. Heidi - quickly go and get that coat please!!!!! You could sell it here for way more than that amount!!!!! You could even donate that to your local museum or art school and am sure they would love you for it. Yes white sure doesn't and yet most of us persist. That blue added color sounds very refreshing. You could renew your vows and it makes a great excuse for another party!? After your garden is ready?? :) xx

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  6. oh wow !!!!! I would love to see this...and so would my mum ! amazing... thanks Naomi ! I might go in july then ...xxx

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    1. Your mum would appreciate all the handiwork and stitching bc even I did and I don't know anything! xxx

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  7. Naomi, What a fun exhibition. I love the V&A and really enjoyed the fashion there last year. I am sorry I am going to miss out on this. You picked some great dresses and I loved that little clip. So charming. That dress really transcended time and would look so chic today! xx Kim

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    1. Well Kim it's on until next March so you never know right? I loved that clip too with so many people gatecrashing the wedding in a way but it must have been so exciting and the people back then went to see things upclose instead of relying on Hello magazine! xx

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  8. Oh! This is an exhibition I would love to see. I will keep it in mind. I am surprised by the variety in style and colors... Thanks for sharing.

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    1. You have to drop by on one of your trips over here. I am sure they had a hard time deciding which dresses made the cut as I am sure they had so much choice. Hope you make it FS x

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  9. How funny...the Charles James has the same rectangle skirt as my Viv. Know where she got her inspiration from now!

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  10. I imagine the V&A is the perfect institution to do fashion history proud.

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    1. Mind you the V&A could do anything proud.

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  11. Hi Naomi The Charles James would have been my choice. With The appropriate undergarments of course. Lovely we

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    1. I know I didn't show everything but am glad you agree. THey didn't have spanx back then either!

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  12. Lovely post, thank you, really feel inspired to vist that exhibition, I love the V&A

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    1. I think you would really enjoy it and see the details that doesn't come across on the web.

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  13. wow, loved seeing the real life dress owners wearing their dresses! If i make it to London before March 2015 i'll definitely check this out!

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  14. That dress looks very different on Kate Moss compared to how it looks on the mannequin - just shows how people can make an outfit work. I've never worn a wedding dress and never intend to. The dresses in this exhibition are not my cup of tea but I did very much like Kim K's wedding dress (sorry to bring down the tone of your blog) especially from the back.

    Have a lovely weekend xx

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  15. We had at here in Bendigo (I think they are the same). I did love it.

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    1. @dervla I really hope you can make it bc it was such a good selection. @forcailini you could still get ideas for a couture dress for a fab party! @Martina, I hope it was but looking at different sorts of dresses is always fun! Xx

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  16. How wonderful to see that exhibition.

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