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Dress, designed by Madeline Vionnet, 1937. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Conservation of a Vionnet Dress

This beautiful dress was designed by Madeline Vionnet in 1937 and was given to the V&A in 1968 by Cecil Beaton. It will be on display in the Horst: Photographer of Style exhibition, due to open in September 2014. The dress will be one of 9 other examples of French couture from the 1930s, reflecting […]

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Apron worn to de-install The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014. Photograph © Sadie Hough, 2014

Pockets of Glamour

As the last vestiges of Italian glamour are obscured by tissue and Tyvek, and packed away ready for the first venue of an American tour, I am reminded of the role that clothing plays in getting a job done. At the V&A, the periods in which exhibitions are installed and then eventually taken down are characterised by increased […]

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Silk-satin wedding dress and Honiton veil worn by Eliza Clay, 1865

A Dress with a View

Wedding dresses are designed with a particular ceremony and site in mind. Beyond the symbolic and ceremonial associations incorporated in its design, such a dress is also created to dazzle and to move in a very particular setting. Therefore, whether it is decorated to catch the candle light of a church, or cut to swirl […]

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Entrance to the Jean Paul Gaultier Exhibition, Barbican.

The Uncanny World of John Paul Gaultier

On a recent research trip to the Barbican I had what was both a fascinating and rather uncomfortable experience visiting the Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: from the Sidewalk to the Catwalk. The opening text for the exhibition does much to hint at the unique world you are about to walk into. Gaultier is […]

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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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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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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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