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.

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Wedding dress designed by John Galliano, worn by Gwen Stefani, 2002

In a State of Undress

While Victorian values have left white wedding dresses with associations of purity, some modern brides choose designs which celebrate their physicality instead. When Gwen Stefani married Gavin Rossdale on 14 September 2002, she wore a John Galliano couture dress which gave just such an impression. At the time, Gwen stated that ‘when I got engaged, […]

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Ruby red silk gauze wedding dress, worn by Monica Maurice, 1938

The One About the Red Wedding Dress

If you have somehow got away with not hearing the one about the red wedding dress yet, please give my interview with the Decorators a listen. listen to ‘V&A RadioTour #3: The Red Wedding Dress’ on Audioboo On the same site, you can also listen to interviews with five other members of staff, be they a […]

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Hand-coloured engraving by Jules David featuring wedding and day dress designs by Popelin-Ducarre and Plé-Horain. Published in Le Moniteur de la Mode, 1851-2

Queen Victoria and the White Wedding Dress

This blog post focuses on your questions about the connections between Queen Victoria’s wedding and the popularity of the white wedding dress: Cassidy: I have two questions! For the first, I’ve been doing a lot of research lately on early 19th century women’s dress, and it’s struck me that for the most part during the […]

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Double-breasted suit by Stefano Pilati for Yves Saint Laurent, 2011

Gentlemen Prefer Groomswear

This blog post focuses on your questions which concerned gender relations in the history of wedding dresses: Edwin Coomasaru: Hey, I’m really looking forward to the Q&A. I’d like to hear about the relationships between the exhibition’s wedding dresses and gender, particularly the origins and history of the use of white material. Susanna: Thanks Edwin, […]

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Purple silk bodice and skirt, trimmed with cream satin and lace. Made and worn by Harriet Joyce, 1899

The Classic and the Quirky

  This blog post focuses on your questions about breaks from tradition in the exhibition and my own personal response to them: Samuel Bernard: How do you feel the truly avant garde dress designs effect the homogenised view of what the wedding dress should be, and where do you think the future of the wedding […]

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White satin wedding dress trimmed with Honiton lace, 1865

Not All White

This blog post focuses on your questions regarding colour, particularly white, in wedding dresses: Maggie Craig:  Have recently been researching for a local history project in north-east Scotland, where a description of mid to late 19th century country weddings says that brides usually wore black, silk if they could afford it, because the dress became their […]

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Katie Shillingford's veil designed by Stephen Jones

Pop the Question

  Thank you all so much for taking part in the Q&A this week – you came up with some really interesting and satisfyingly tricky questions. For now, I have posted your answers as replies in the comment section below. If the website is not behaving itself, they may not appear in the right order, […]

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June Brides

When researching this exhibition, we did a survey of which months were the most popular for weddings among our selection of dresses and the nearly 240 years they cover. While July proved the most popular month, with nine weddings and one date on which two weddings were held, the only other double up of dates […]

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A Charming Bride to Be

We’ve all been a little over excited this week in the build up to a certain surprise. When Jonathan Lim took his girlfriend Sunhye Moon to see ‘Wedding Dresses 1775-2014’ on Thursday afternoon, little did she know she’d be leaving the exhibition as a bride to be. Jonathan had really done his research, and had […]

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Sparkling Occasions

In a recent interview, I was asked to select the ‘must see’ piece of the exhibition. Part of the beauty of wedding dresses is that every individual has a different idea of what the dream – or ‘must see’ – item will be. This idea offers me something of a scapegoat for my difficulty in […]

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