Reels of silky white fabric, intricately arranged pearls, glittering white beads, buttons and lavish embroidery everywhere you look – the V&A Wedding Dress Exhibition was just as opulent and ethereal as I had imagined.
Walking you through the age old tradition of the demure white wedding dress, the exhibition showcases dresses from 1775 to 2014, and all the years in between. From the Tudors’ padded skirts that extend metres away from the bride’s waist to the sheer silk dress edged with delicate feather-shaped embellishment that belongs to Kate Moss, the dresses document the fashion of the wedding dress as well as the social context in which they were worn.
Behind each and every dress there lay a unique story of love and tradition and, for me, these stories are what make the exhibition so enthralling: A mature bride who didn’t believe she was young enough to marry in white had chosen a violet gown for her wedding day; a bride dressed in a hand-painted coat who had been told that she couldn’t wear white as it was her second marriage.
The gift shop continued the exquisite display of sparkling items but, these ones, you can take home. Thoughtfully themed around the wedding poem ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’, I found a dish full of beautifully painted ceramic buttons (something blue) and these three were just too lovely to leave behind…