The much anticipated Wedding Dresses 1775–2014 at the V&A has certainly lived up to its hype. After a morning coffee in the V&A courtyard, one heads to the fashions, and prior to entering the exhibition, one gains a glimpse of Vivienne Westwood’s purple gown as designed for Dita Von Teese, there above on the balcony to greet all.
On entering the exhibit, you enter a world of originals. Delicate silks and laces. Victorian corsets and silk and satin dresses dating back far prior to WW1. The downstairs is a place of a beautiful testament to weddings from earlier history, many iconic, some more historically prevalent and many elaborate for their time. Stories and notes accompany the dresses as do shoes, fans, purses and stunning trains.
By the stairs, a film is projected against the wall showing dresses and weddings in action.
“This exhibition will trace the development of the fashionable white wedding dress and its treatment by key fashion designers such as Charles Frederick Worth, Norman Hartnell, Charles James, John Galliano, Christian Lacroix, Vivienne Westwood and Vera Wang offering a panorama of fashion over the last two centuries.”- http://www.vam.ac.uk
Heading up the stairs, there it is, the most rousing and exclusive collection of gowns. In the open space, sits every dress from some of the greatest names in fashion, and worn by some of the most iconic names in society.
Kate Moss’ Galliano wedding dress was the first to greet me. In it’s blush tinted glory. in an interview with The Telegraph in 2011, Moss explained the premise of her big day “I wanted it to be kind of dreamy and 1920s, when everything is soft-focus”. The dress, in all its simplicity was a treat to the eye and complete with her shoes and Jamie Hince’s suit as loaned by the couple. This was one of many dresses which truly enriched my thirst. The Christian Lacroix black embellished gown made in 1993 was certainly much greater in physical form. “Black net veil, high-necked embroidered net body under low-cut black silk satin bodice and skirt, richly embroidered with silk, chenille and metallic threads, with overskirt in off-white silk satin.” – http://collections.vam.ac.uk
For Sex & The City fans, Alber Elbaz’s creation for a certain Ms Bradshaw is on show, as is a plethora of other gowns for a variety of eras as well as cultures. All a combination of the one common factor, weddings. They all come together to show how one single celebration, is celebrated amongst different times, people and with different back stories and paraphernalias.
There are over eighty dresses and no two are the same. The Dior dress worn by Gwen Stefani on her wedding day show an affection to pink, whilst just behind, stands a pale grey design by Gareth Pugh, slashed and in chiffon it is partnered up with a Stephen Jones veil and just oppose, standing tall is a non-traditional outfit. Worn by Marit Allen (fashion journalist and costume designer) whom wore a cotton gabardine coat and mini-dress by John Bates.
“For the Wedding Dresses 1775-2014, we are mounting costumes worn by real brides and it is important that their outfits are not only properly supported for display but also look their very best. This means ensuring an excellent fit between the costume and mannequin, or more accurately – that the mannequin is a perfect fit for the costume. The following photographs show the step-by-step process of adapting a mannequin.” – http://www.vam.ac.uk
It is a place to come and fulfil you knowledge of weddings dating from the eighteenth century. It is a place for aesthetically pleasing the eye and the a great place for future brides to gather inspiration.
On at the V&A until March ’15.