History and Styles of the Wedding Dress
A bit of History and a few different styles of the wedding dress.
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Sorry it is so complicated!
Also, if you are interested in the history of the wedding dress I must tell you about the book published by the Victoria & Albert museum by Edwina Ehrman called ‘The Wedding Dress’. In this blog I will share with you some facts I have learned from it, however, I regret I cannot reproduce all of the amazing colour plates.
- The first wedding dress acquired by the V&A Museum was made of silk woven between 1755 and 1760.
- The 1770s saw the introduction of the skirt being drawn up into soft puffs and large ruched loops as is often seen in present day wedding dresses.
- In 1801 it was fashionable to wear veils with evening dress, which preceded the adoption of veils for bridal wear in Britain.
- Before 1830 the aristocracy favoured white and silver wedding dresses and the men wore white and silver coat and breeches.
- In 1840 Queen Victoria set the trend (for those who could afford it) of marrying in white. She was accompanied by 12 daughters of peers, also in white silk, acting as train bearers. Incidentally they carried the train throughout the service.
- 1850s Music became an increasingly important part of the wedding service.
- 1850s Flounced (layered) skirts became fashionable after the French Empress Eugenia married in a dress flounced with Brussels lace.
- Late 1850s Brides started wearing the veil forward over their face and upper body.
- Late 1850s Photographic souvenirs of the bride and groom or bridal party started being produced.
- 1860s Men’s dress became darker and more standardized. Waistcoats were popular.
- From the 1860s it was customary for bridesmaids’ families to pay for their dresses.
- 1870 The middle classes aspired to emulate the upper classes in costly marriages, ‘wasting money at the very time when it was most needed’.
- 1880s the detachable train was added to ‘untrained’ dresses. This was often made of velvet and hung from the shoulders.
- Page boys started appearing in the mid 1880s.
- 1880s Pearl beads were embroidered into bridal wear.
- 1890s ”Liberty’s” of London’s Regent Street led styles inspired by historical dress from the 16th century, such as jewelled wings at the sleeve head.
- 1933 wedding dress . A predominance of silk tulle and orange blossom embellishments.
- In 1947 Christian Dior’s debut collection in Paris set the fashion for the next decade of tiny wasp waists and billowing full skirts. This was known as the ‘New Look’ style, although many wedding dresses from the 1890s were similar, as too are many contemporary wedding dresses.
- 1947 Princess Elizabeth’s white satin wedding dress was decorated with traditional floral motifs, mainly orange blossom, symbolizing love and the advent of spring.
- 1955 ‘Brides’ was Britain’s first magazine dedicated to weddings.
- 1955 Shorter wedding dresses using manmade fabrics such as cotton organdie, became popular for younger brides and those wishing to wear the dress again.
- 1969 Lulu wed Maurice Gibb in a maxi coat which was fashionable at the time.
- 1970s Fashion, including bridal, seemed confused. Even hand painted floral wool coats were popular.
- 1980s The Princess of Wales, Lady Diana Spencer, set the trend for the decade of ivory silk taffeta, fitted bodices with billowing skirts, long train and large puffed sleeves with a double ruffed collar.
- 1990s were dominated by corseted bodices and bare shoulders.
- However, in 1992 the model Lisa Butcher married the chef Marco Pierre White in a revealing fashionable dress with a low scooped back crossed only by the dress’s brassiere style fastening. Her husband remarked “It was wrong for the occasion. I think a woman should dress only for the man she is marrying. It was sexy for the world but not for me.” The damage was done, the marriage only lasted 15 weeks.