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A Marriage, a Medal & a Painter

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With the Wedding Dresses exhibition about to close, this seems an apt time to draw attention to a medal going into the Europe Galleries, struck to celebrate an important marriage 205 years ago. This bronze medal celebrates Napoleon’s second marriage to Marie Louise, daughter of Francis I of Austria, in 1810 (following Napoleon’s divorce from […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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The Indian Wedding Show

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Last Sunday (25th January) the Fabric of India team went to the Aashni + Co Wedding Show, held at The Dorchester, London. It showcased the work of some of India’s leading designers including two already selected for our forthcoming exhibition. It was the first time that any of us had been to such an event […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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