Here Come the Brides

3 May 2014 – 15 March 2015 Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 had a long journey to arrive at the V&A, having already travelled 46,425 miles, to four international venues – where it was seen by 240,000 people. Here we highlight some of the exciting things that go on behind the scenes in the run up to a major fashion exhibition.

The exhibition showcases around 70 wedding outfits and numerous accessories. Contempory highlights include loans from Dita von Teese, and Gwen Stefani; while stunning examples from the V&A collection, such as garments by designers Charles Frederick Worth, Norman Hartnell, and Christian Lacroix, demonstrate the facinating history of wedding attire, while also allowing a glimpse into the lives of the wearers.

Back to the blog front page

Waving Off the Brides and Grooms

Jenny Copsey and her new husband on the steps of St Pancras Town Hall at their wedding in 1971

As the idea of a wedding dress exhibition at the V&A was first proposed ten years ago, before its development, tour and ten months on display at the V&A, it feels like the end of an era as we approach the 15th March closing date of ‘Wedding Dresses 1775-2014′. With that in mind, we thought we would bring […]

Keep reading

A Romantic Frame of Mind

Honiton lace veil, 1865 © V&A Collection

As well as placing the bride in a slight state of mystery for her groom as the ceremony commences, a wedding veil flatters and frames the woman’s face. As in all aspects of wedding wear tradition, a veil must balance style with symbolism. As the ideal of a well to do young bride in white […]

Keep reading

Hitting the Sales

Debenhan & Freebody wedding dress, 1926 © V&A Collection

As January now seems forever associated with the sales, this month’s post will explore the history of purchasing wedding dresses from the late eighteenth century to the present day. An 18th century bride would be expected to marry prepared with a trousseau appropriate for her new life as a wife. Depending on her familial circumstances […]

Keep reading

A Boxing Day Wedding

Metal minaudière decorated in faux pearls, 1956

We all need a little glitter come the festive season, and brides are no exception to this rule. As previously explored, winter weddings – preferably made white with snow – offer the opportunity for velvet dresses and fur stoles. The dark days also mean such ceremonies are lit by further candles and lights than their […]

Keep reading

Friends of the Couple

Suit worn by Christopher Breward for his Civil Partnership ceremony, 2006 © V&A Collection

While we are honoured to have the wedding dresses of celebrities on display, we were equally touched to be loaned and trusted with pieces worn by those who are, perhaps, less well known but no less significant. While curating the exhibition, an emphasis was placed on representing lots of different kinds of brides and weddings […]

Keep reading

Ralph & Russo: Let the Glamour Begin

Courtesy of Ralph & Russo ©

Weddings and fashion shows have something key in common. When attending either, guests wait in excited anticipation for a grand entrance, and a first sighting of The Dress. On Friday, these elements will combine, as the couturiers Ralph & Russo join us at the museum to put on a very special event for our Fashion […]

Keep reading

How to Warm a Wedding

Silk velvet wedding dress, 1927

As the nights draw in, so too do the clothes we wear, as we swap loose sun dresses for wraps and jumpers. This change in style transfers inevitably into bridal wear – although many brides do attempt to overcome the cold, shivering slightly in a sleeveless dress or wrapped in a stole or cape. The […]

Keep reading

Isobel the Matchmaker

Machine-made lace and silk wedding dress by Isobel, 1953

Sometimes, through a lack of lasting materials or personal accounts, a great designer can be lost to fashion history. Through drawing together the remaining pieces, memories, records or mentions in magazines, such a fate can sometimes be avoided. This, we hope, could be the case with Isobel, a leading British fashion house in the interwar […]

Keep reading

A Georgian Romance

White muslin dress worn by Mary Dalton Norcliffe, 1807

If you have ever watched a Jane Austen period drama, the style of the white muslin wedding dress worn by Mary Dalton Norcliffe in 1807 will appear as something of a familiar sight. The Georgian period endures as a symbol of British gentry and romance, and its fashions in particular continue to carry these associations. […]

Keep reading

Save the Dates

Detail of the tulle train of the Flowerbomb dress by Ian Stuart, 2011 © V&A Collection

As I am moving on to work on another project at the museum, my posts in this blog will now be released on a monthly basis. To keep things tidy, the posts will be released on the second Wednesday of every month for the rest of the exhibition’s run (so that’s until March 2015). Please […]

Keep reading