Having worked in the bridal industry for 9 years I have already seen fashions change dramatically over the years. As the seasons come and go it is hard to appreciate just how fashions have moved on. It is only when you look back at the images for the collections of previous years that you realise how quickly tastes change. I have witnessed less than a decade of bridal fashion and it would be fascinating to see how the wedding dress has evolved over the centuries and now I can!
The V&A museum in London is about to host a spectacular wedding dress exhibition which charts the development of bridal fashion from 1775 to the present day. More than 70 wedding outfits and numerous accessories will be on display to demonstrate the evolution of the white wedding gown. The dresses will include the work of leading designers like Vivienne Westwood and Christian Lacroix illustrating their take on birdal attire for the big day.
The exhibition will also feature celebrity gowns the most striking of which will be Dita Von Teese’s extravagant dress worn for her marriage to Marilyn Manson. The gown is fashioned from vivid purple shot taffeta and will be a huge contrast to the subtle cream lace of the period costumes. Interestingly those lace gowns look strangely current as lace has been all the rage in the past year as brides have moved away from the A line satin and taffeta gowns that were the popular choice for so long.
The Power of Colour
Von Teese’s gown is also indicative of many brides’ desire to move away from traditional white and ivory. This trend has been in part due to the number of second marriages but also a new found freedom resulting from weddings being conducted in secular venues. Brides now feel able to exercise a greater degree of self-expression. Clearly Von Tease never struggled on that score! I actually expected her gown to be reminiscent of a sexy fancy dress costume but what do I know?
Talking of colour the exhibition will also feature the iconic dip-dyed Jon Galliano number created for Qwen Stefani. This beautiful silk custom gown was a big surprise on the day and fades from ivory to pink. It is certainly one of the most memorable wedding dresses ever created. The blue ensemble worn by the Duchess of Cornwall for her blessing will also be on display. Sadly the Alexander McQueen gown worn by the Duchess of Cambridge will not be there but the exhibition will have plenty to surprise and delight anyone with an interest in wedding dresses and fashion in general.
The Exhibition will be open 3 May 2014 to 15 May 2015 but tickets will be in high demand as the event has been eagerly anticipated. There will also be a shop to accompany the event as even the V&A couldn’t miss that commercial opportunity! Grab your tickets whilst you can if you want to attend. Budding brides may find inspiration amongst the exhibits whilst the rest of us can only dream!
Sally Stacey is a keen writer who worked in the bridal industry for nine years