Swoon-worthy, Cultured and Educational; V&A Wedding Dresses 1775-2014

To celebrate the weekend, we have a very special post, with a very special guest contributor!

Meet Amanda Gegg. The latest member of the BM posse.

Amanda is a London-based PA, writer, and semi-professional cake eater, who’s more than a little bit obsessed with all things fashion, travel and music.

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Image via V&A

Something of a culture vulture – especially when there’s dress swooning involved – Amanda takes us around an exhibition dedicated to silk trains, tulle skirts, couture designs and serious star power.

Take it away Amanda.

Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 at the V&A, London

Calling all brides to be – or indeed anyone who enjoys an indulgent day out with a splash of culture – this might be your dream exhibition. 

Over the next ten months the V&A Museum in London, will be offering visitors the chance to take a journey through the origins of the wedding dress. Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 is an exhibition that takes in all the social, cultural and historical factors that have made the wedding dress what it is today.

Dress, Ian Stuart | Image, Daily Mail

The exhibition is beautifully set in the dome of the V&A, in amongst a sea of white walls and display cases spread across two floors.

Visitors are introduced to the Georgian era of the wedding dress, incorporating a very Jane Austen feel with all of its silk brocade and embroidered muslin.

 Image via V&A

We are then shown the organic progress the dress made towards the Victorian age where Queen Victoria (ever the business-mind she was) introduced British lace to the mainstream market, which lives on in gowns and wedding veils today.

The next chapter in the journey depicts ‘The Society Wedding’ (1930-1940) and my goodness these dresses are absolutely breath-taking, especially that of Ms. Charles Sweeney whose remarkable dress will have you completely entranced.

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Image via V&A

It becomes very clear as you go on that dresses made at the turn of the twentieth century were designed to have wow factor.

There is a very clear influence of evening wear starting to come through, with layered construction and scalloped hemlines, not to mention a mix of materials to create the texture which many brides look for in their dresses today.

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After a little cinematic trip down memory lane for all of you who love a royal wedding (and the legendary dresses of Princess Diana and Kate Middleton), we are lead upstairs to the mezzanine floor and to the latter part of the twentieth century. On another regal note, don’t forget to look out for the Duchess of Cornwall’s fabulous bridal ensemble. 

V&A Wedding Dress Exhibition | Bridal Musings Wedding Blog 1

The first dress you are presented with at the top of the stairway is that of Dita Von Teese and you would be forgiven for needing a few moments to gather yourself when you are confronted with the beautiful boldness of this purple Vivienne Westwood creation.

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Dress, Vivienne Westwood| Image, Daily Mail

Westwood’s innovative approach to style and colour sets a very good precedent for the rest of the mezzanine floor where you are consequently sent through a whirlwind of the revolutions in style and colour that presented themselves from the 1960s onwards.

There are very clear changes that took place in the late twentieth century with one of the main developments being the ‘ready-to-wear’ wedding dress challenging traditional couture.

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This, for most of us, is a wonderful thing offering us the opportunity to view dresses before they are made, and furthermore, makes the mezzanine floor of this exhibition a veritable treasure-trove of inspiration for brides-to-be.

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Image via V&A

There are, of course, still dresses that will completely blow you away, after all this is what this exhibition is all about.

Leading the way in this respect is the world-renowned designer John Galliano with his innovative cut and construction.

We are even lucky enough to see first hand some of the most famous examples of his work including the wedding dresses of Gwen Stefani and Kate Moss.

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So there you have it; the marvels of the world’s best wedding dresses (and their designers), all under one roof.

And it’s not just swoon-worthy, it’s educational too.

The V&A have scheduled talks and seminars throughout the exhibition. If you’re in London, look out for Alice Temperley: Wedding Fashion, a guest lecture from the iconic British designer, on Tuesday 10th June 2014. 

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Dress, John Galliano| Image, Daily Mail

How cool to be able to see such iconic dresses up close and personal? I never noticed all that stunning sequin detail in Kate Moss’ wedding dress before, so who knows what other delights you’ll uncover if you head along.

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