Arts & Culture: Unveiled – 200 Years of Wedding Glamour

Dita Von Teese Vivienne Westwood Purple Wedding Dress illustration

Dita Von Teese wearing Vivienne Westwood

Since my move from London, one of the things that I have missed the most is the abundence of world-class culture available on a daily basis. I’m getting so jealous of hearing my friends gush about this or that amazing new exhibition and am in need of a serious culture fix. Luckily for me then, I was able to get a sneak peak of the upcoming summer exhibition at the WA Museum in Perth – Unveiled: 200 Years of Wedding Glamour.

The exhibition explores the evolution of wedding fashion from the 1800s to the present day, offering a fascinating insight into the wants and desires of women throughout the ages as they chose the most important dress of their lives (my Pinterest followers will know that I’m pretty obsessed with weddings). One the things I find most interesting is how the changes in styles reflect the politics, culture and fashions of each era. Necklines get lower in the second half of the 20th century, while trains get shorter and we see more experimentation with colours. Today’s brides can choose any style they want: just check out blogs like Rock n Roll Bride to see some gorgeous alternative nuptials.

Although I’ve always been a bit obsessed with 50s style wedding dresses, I found the 30s one of my favourite eras in this exhibition. The ultra-modernist sleek lines and dramatic trains are such a welcome departure from what we perceive to be ‘traditional’ wedding style (i.e. massive princess puffballs).  This silk satin wedding dress by Charles James was worn by Baba Beaton in 1934 and comes with an orange blossom choker and really sums up the hard-chic style favoured by trend setters like Wallis Simpson, who eschewed floaty,soft femininity. You could say it was their version of 80s power dressing and reflected the way these women were keen to play a more active role in society. The metallic sheen was also typical of couture fashion at the time, which was heavily influenced by industrialism and new synthetic fabric techniques.

Wedding Glamour also includes accessories and underwear like this stunning corset by Nina Ricci, which was worn by Dita Von Teese on her wedding night in 2005.

The exhibition runs from 8 December, 2012 until March 24, 2013.

 

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