Not Just a Load of White Dresses

April 9, 2014

There are some days when I end up taken aback by how enjoyable a day I have had at work.  The day we received the sari destined for display in Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 was one such day. 

The fashion collections at the V&A vast, and hold hundreds of garments from around the word. Until now however, I have only really worked with western attire, and one aspect of costume mounting I’ve never had to tackle before is tying a sari. Armed with a picture of the bride and two vast lengths of cloth, I wasn’t sure I was going to end up with anything that resembled the photograph! This would be particularly embarrassing, given that the lender of the sari is one of my colleagues, Anjali Bulley, who married in 1988.

After asking colleagues from around the museum if they could help, we finally decided that the best person to ask for advice would be….the Mother of the Bride!

Erm…..where do we start? © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Thankfully, the brides’ mother Ansuya and her aunt Nimu, agreed to visit the Textile Conservation Studio to show us how the two saris should be worn.
 Over to the experts. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Both saris are worn in a Gujarati style with the sari given by the brides family (the white one), worn below the sari given by the grooms family (the red one). Here you can see us having a lot of fun working out exactly what should go where!
 The white sari, given by the brides’ family is draped over the right shoulder in pleats. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Perfecting the drape ©Victoria and Albert Museum, London
The red sari, given by the grooms’ family is worn looped over the brides’ head ©Victoria and Albert Museum, London
All finished, and ready for display ©Victoria and Albert Museum, London

About the author

April 9, 2014

I work as a Costume Mounting Specialist in the Textile Conservation Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum. I spent the whole of 2009 preparing the first phase of Wedding...

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