The Victoria and Albert's current major exhibition is Wedding Dresses 1775-2014. It's only on for another couple of months so if you want to see it, you must go soon!
Embroidered corded silk wedding dress made after a Paquin, Lalanne et Cie Paris model by Stern Brothers, New York, 1890
Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 looks at the history of the white wedding gowns and how important designers of the last two hundred years have reinterpreted and reinvented the garment over the years. The show features beautiful examples by designers such as Charles Frederick Worth, Norman Hartnell, Charles James, John Galliano, Christian Lacroix, Vivienne Westwood and Vera Wang.
The exhibition showcases some of the most extravagant, romantic and glamorous gowns sourced from the comprehensive collections of the V&A. The display also includes several loans such as the garments worn by Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale on their wedding day and Dita Von Teese's purple dress worn for her marriage to Marilyn Manson. The show, which reveals the intriguing histories of the garments, also gives us an intimate insight into the wearers' choice of fashion and their lifestyles.
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Which One Would You Choose?
As you wander round the exhibition there are so many beautiful items on show, and of course, everyone's tastes are different. It is almost impossible to decide on a favourite, but I think this ornately embroidered gown, designed by Paquin Lalanne et Cie, is probably the one I would most like to take away with me.
American heiress, Cara Leland Huttleston Rogers (1867-1939), chose it for her marriage to Bradford Ferris Duff on 17th November 1890.
The dress is made from heavy cream-coloured corded silk. The closely fitted bodice with shirred leg of mutton sleeves and a flared peplum accentuates the bride's trim waist. The skirt has swags around the hem and a full broad train. The gown has exquisite embroidery made with pearls, pastes and gathered crêpe chiffon.
According to the V&A's records, a photograph of Cara, taken on her wedding day, indicates that the dress originally had an antique lace ruffle fixed to the bottom of the overskirt. There might also have been an antique lace trim on the wrists and neckline of the bodice which was removed at a later date. Perhaps it was a family heirloom and they didn't want it to get damaged. If you go to the V&A website and search their collections there are many pictures of this beautiful gown.
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Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 is open until 15th March 2015. This is a ticketed show and full details are available from the V&A Museum.
If you want to know more about the history of wedding dresses and the traditions associated with weddings then Infobarrel has plenty to offer, including:
Getting to the Victoria and Albert Museum
Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL
Getting to the V&A Museum is very easy. It is close to South Kensington underground station.
Cromwell Road, Kensington, London, UK