Back from honeymoon, I decided to prolong the wedding bubble by heading to that well known territory valled V&A, and purchased a ticket to see their Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 exhibition. It’s an uplifting show that manages to capture brilliantly the ethos of each era through a dress, taking us the growth of the wedding industry and the never-ending effect of media focus on wedding fashion. With the raise of photojournalism, society weddings were reported in detail in the national press and gossip column. Since then, this interest hasn’t ceased. Recession and age proof, the keen interest for weddings spans from c list celebrities to royalties.
A wedding is an iconic moment and bride’s dress is its most emblematic symbol.Each dress exhibited is a symbol of its owner’s optimism and captures, better than any other vestiaries’ items, changes in social and cultural attitudes. I will never forget the pictures of my grandmothers wedding outfits. The years after the war were not a happy time. Between rationing and high unemployment, not much money was running around, let alone silk and organza. They got married in a suit, with a knee length skirt, an outfit that looks more like what you would wear for an interview.
This show is not for everyone, for example my husband would be bored to death. The show stoppers and truly spectacular outfits are just an handful: the Gwen Stefani’s one, a piece from Jenny Peckham, and the quitessentially 1930’s style of Norman Hartnell. These pieces truly capture the changing social and cultural attitudes to the wedding ceremony and marriage, taking an innovative turn.
No envy for the Kate Moss’ dress. Neither for her choice of husband.