I went to the V&A today as part of my research for this project. The exhibition was called Wedding Dresses 1775-2014.
It was a display of wedding dresses that ranged from the years in the title. Not only did it show how the fashions changed throughout the decades, but it also told stories about each one.
The displays detailed information about the dresses, the times, the wearer & their lives. This was the part that drew me, yes the dresses were magnificent and all of them beautiful in their own right. But it was the stories that I was interested in. How wartime women would have such a simple gown so that it could be reused, how the designers had created them to reflect the individual. I think that best example of this was the dress belonging to Dita Von Teese when she married Marilyn Manson. It was a large shimmering purple gown that was far from the traditional white wedding dress.
The exhibition was truly a walk through wedding history! I was disappointed that photography was prohibited but also delighted to discover that there are many photos available online which will benefit my memory & provide evidence for my writing.
At the exhibition whilst reading the stories of the dresses & it made me think more about relationships. First about how I feel so strongly about crochet & the reasons I want to use it in my work. Then about my idea of relationships with collections. Which made me think, how special is a wedding dress to a woman? It’s generally the most important outfit that a woman will wear and in some cases, it will only be the once. So there is this determination for perfection down to the tiniest details. Not only this, wedding dresses are unique (yes I am aware that you buy them in shops), but they are generically sized and then moulded to their wearer, for the perfect fit – unlike commercial clothing that is created using national averages. So therefore a wedding dress is personal & important, they’re special. Most women keep their wedding dresses, a reminder of their special day & sometimes they’re handed down to other relations. Women keep them because it has sentimental value.
This has made me think about the fashion industry – how it is such a worldwide but also wasteful industry. Millions of people throw away clothes every year (me included) to replace them with newer ‘in fashion’ items. But we don’t look at other things; like wedding dresses in this way. I’m going to research this area more, look into the commercialised fashion industry and the throw away culture of modern society.
There are some of my research images. The big ball gown was called ‘Flower bomb’ which was probably cue to the amount to appliqué there is on the garment.
I found this dress the most inspiring garment there.