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White Wedding

Posted by Erin
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Photo by adorngirl.com

The wedding gown is the single most important dress in a woman’s life. Before we have one, most of us dream about what ours will look like. After we’ve had one, we can’t let go, obsessing over which dress certain celebrities will choose. (Kim and Kanye on the cover of last month’s Vogue? All the conjecturing madness that surrounds a royal wedding?) And then, as styles evolve and change, friends get married, we re-imagine how our dress should have been, thinking, “Ah! I should have worn sleeves/an open back/flowers instead of a veil...”

 

(L) Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, Vogue, April 2014. (R) Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge after their marriage at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011 in London.

 

We cannot help it – it’s always a nice day for a white wedding. And, according to the Financial Times, we are not alone. The bridal industry is a $53 billion dollar business in the US alone. We are indeed obsessed and, it appears, we are only becoming more and more obsessed thanks to the fact that fashion has become more mainstream in the past few years, bloggers blogging, reality TV revealing, celebrities fine with selling their wedding photos.

Designers have caught on and are happy to cater to the willing masses, creating separate bridal collections and sending those dresses down the runways not at New York Fashion Week, but at New York Bridal Fashion Week. Vera Wang, Monique Lhuillier and Carolina Herrera are now joined by Marchesa, Reem Acra, and Zac Posen, not to mention their European counterparts who show oversees: designers like Giambattista Valli, Alice Temperley, and Jenny Packham.

Women seem to be willing to sacrifice more and more of their wedding budgets in order to get the dress of their dreams (about 16% of their entire wedding fund), not that their husbands would typically understand trading out the filet mignon option and a few bottles of Chateau Latour for a dress his bride will only wear once (even though she swears she’ll wear it again).

Delving into the evolution of this new “trend” is London’s Victoria and Albert Museum with their latest fashion exhibition, Wedding Dresses 1775-2014, which opened this weekend. Viewers are lead through the a few hundred years of the history of the wedding dress, how and why white became the color of choice for Westerners and how a good wedding dress will mark its moment in time with its telltale style (hence why we all want to re-devise our wedding gowns every few years).

Dresses on display include that of Margret, the Duchess of Argyll’s endlessly trained and starry Norman Harnell gown, Dita Von Teese’s sapphire blue Vivienne Westwood, Gwen Stefani’s punkish, fade-to-pink Galliano, and Kate Moss’s gold embroidered, gypsy-inspired Galliano gown.

 

Wedding dress designed by Norman Hartnell in 1933, worn by Margaret Whigham for her marriage to Charles Sweeny.

 

Spray-painted gown in silk by John Galliano for Dior, worn by Gwen Stefani for her marriage to Gavin Rossdale, 2002.

 

Vivienne Westwood Gown worn by Dita von Teese for her marriage to Marilyn Manson, 2005.

 

Gold Embroidered Gown by John Galliano, worn by Kate Moss for her marriage to Jamie Hince, 2011.

 

The exhibition clearly shows how dresses were once simple and earnest affairs and now are more glamorous showpieces. These days every woman expects her fifteen minutes and, for most of us, whether we like it or not, our wedding day is it, so we go for glam… and we are totally fine with breaking the bank in the name of love.

As long as the man isn’t the means to the dress, this probably isn’t the worse thing in the world. This from a woman who wore three dresses to her own wedding. The way I see it, I saved myself two more weddings. Ha! I need to tell that one to my husband.

 

Maud Cecil's Wedding Gown for her marriage to Greville Steel, November 1927.

 

(L) Wedding dress designed by Isobel in 1953, worn by Anne Shelia Molineux to marry Gordon Hodson. (Shown in middle on right, at exhibit).

 

V&A: Wedding Dresses 1775-2014, photo by adorngirl.com

 

(L) Wedding dress designed by Charles James in 1934, worn by Barbara ‘Baba’ Beaton for her marriage to Alec Hambro. (R) John Bates’s 1966 dress and coat for Marit Allen for her marriage to Sandy Lieberson.

 

(L) Jean Muir, worn by Pamela Talmey, a former Vogue editor, when she married William David Ormsby-Gore, 1969. (R) Gina Fratini, 1970.

 

V&A: Wedding Dresses 1775-2014, photo by adorngirl.com

 

This romantic wedding dress by Spiegel was worn by Angela Stamp for her marriage to her best friend, Howard Fineman in 1976.

 

Embroidered wedding gown by Christian Lacroix, 1992.

 

V&A: Wedding Dresses 1775-2014, photo by adorngirl.com

 

Ian Stuart dresses, 2011.

 

Wedding dress designed by Gareth Pugh and veil by Stephen Jones in 2011, worn by Katie Shillingford for her marriage to Alex Dromgoole.

 

V&A: Wedding Dresses 1775-2014, photo by adorngirl.com

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