The V&A Guest Edit
This month, we’ve teamed up with the V&A to bring you all things WEDDING. Not only have we invited curators Edwina Ehrman and Susanna Cordner to show us what their perfect wedding would look like, we’ve also asked them to tell us a little bit more about three brides who have bucked tradition in favour of something a little more unusual.
Making the Traditional, Less Ordinary
Throughout history, many brides have chosen dresses that would be considered, by traditional standards, a little unorthodox. Rather than always wearing a wide skirted white dress with a veil, our exhibition ‘Wedding Dresses 1775-2014′ shows the variety of styles adopted by women, and how unique their dresses often were.
Contemporary bridal fashion has seen the return of the individual wedding dress, with women aspiring to be the best version of themselves on their wedding day. Our exhibition tells the stories of individual women – and the lives, loves and styles that brought about their bridal choices. In some cases that might be a fairy tale vision, or an other worldly invention – it might even be a dress you already have that you know you feel fantastic in (…if you’re Keira Knightley).
The most successful of these unconventional choices are the ones which demonstrate and reflect the bride’s personality and relationship – and, in doing so, best compliment her. For instance, when Gwen Stefani got engaged, she said she wanted her dress to ‘be over the top, but not traditional – I wanted it to be everything’. The resulting dress, designed by her friend John Galliano in 2002, might be made up of lengths of traditional white silk, but during its creation the lower section of the skirt and veil were dramatically spray painted with pink.
The result is at once both romantic and playful, a telling combination considering its pop star wearer. Such ombré effects allow a bride’s favourite colour, or perhaps one which is particularly flattering or connected to the wedding’s theme, to sweep into the design.
Lady Mary Charteris
A highly unconventional dress can be tamed with traditional accessories. While Lady Mary Charteris’ brilliant dress designed by Pam Hogg was certainly one of a kind, the romantic floral wreath which secured her veil connected the design to bridal traditions.
Such headdresses hark back to the symbolic floral accessories of brides throughout history and are a truly romantic touch. Made up perhaps of the bride’s favourite flowers, they encapsulate the most winning combination in wedding wear – tradition teamed with the bride’s own taste and originality.
It’s not just contemporary brides either – in 1938 Monica Maurice got married wearing a ruby red silk gauze dress, cinched in with a bright blue belt. While white truly was the dominant colour for weddings at the time, it is a reflection of Monica’s vivacity and confidence that she went with red. Such a choice would still make a statement today, and could serve as a brilliant interpretation of current colour block fashions.
If you’re a Less Ordinary bride looking for more inspiration, check out our wedding department now.