From Kate Moss to Marilyn Manson, Wedding Dresses 1775–2014 is beautiful at the V&A

By Stephanie Pomfrett | 08 August 2014

Exhibition Review: Wedding Dresses 1775–2014, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, until March 15 2015

Click on the picture to launch a gallery of images from the show

This exhibition is every bride-to-be’s dream; it's not only looking at the evolution of wedding wear (men are, briefly, included too), but also a stunning look at how what we wear when we get married reflects who we are.

It’s a history of weddings around the world in 80 dresses and my word, it’s beautiful.

As you go to buy your tickets, you notice a mannequin looming above you wearing what looks to be a dramatic shot silk dress.

This is the Vivienne Westwood dress that Dita von Teese wore to her marriage to Marilyn Manson in 2005 and is well worth a peek – if only to gasp in admiration at the Louboutins that accompany it.

This one dress sets the tone for the whole exhibition: dramatic, beautiful and interesting.

Many of the dresses you’ll have seen in the press over the last few years, such as Kate Moss’ Galliano dress (and husband Jamie Hince’s smart suit – grooms take note) and Gwen Stefani’s beautiful pink-tinged Dior dress.

However, the It-girls of older times are represented here: the stunning Norman Hartnell dress designed for the wedding of Margaret Whigham to Charles Sweeney is truly awe-inspiring and the detail on some of the older dresses and veils is so intricate, you worry for the seamstresses’ eyesight.

But the exhibition is not just about the celebs. Some of the most poignant gowns are those for ordinary women who often made their own dresses: keep an eye out for the dress made by a woman who felt white was inappropriate and a wartime dress made of un-rationed upholstery fabric.

  • Open 10am-5.30pm (10pm Friday, closed December 24-26). Tickets £8-£13.50 (family ticket £20-£32). Book online. Follow the museum on Twitter @V_and_A.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

More from Culture24's Reviews section:

Kenneth Clark at Tate Britain

Russian colour photography at the Photographers' Gallery

British Folk Art at Tate Britain


Follow Stephanie Pomfrett on Twitter @wuthering_alice and visit her blog.
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