Frieze Zona Maco

>digital access
>printed version


V&A Museum: la mostra di bianco vestita
(Laura Migliano, no.68 Rex Gold - without boundaries)

Lasting until May 15, 2015, it is the most impressive showing of bridal dresses ever set up. Wedding Dresses 1775 - 2014 is set in the sumptuous halls of Victoria and Albert Museum in London and traces the development in the design of the bridal gown during the last three centuries. Before arriving at the London venue, the exhibition had travelled 46,425 miles, in four international locations, visited by over 240,000 people. The exhibition at the V&A Museum brings together the best of previous ‘showcases’, over 70 wedding gowns, from the late eighteenth century to the present, giving an overview of the evolution of the costume as conceived by the most well known and established designers, form Charles Frederick Worth to Norman Hartnell, from Charles James to John Galliano, from Christian Lacroix to Vivienne Westwood and Vera Wang. It includes the best outfits from the V&A collection, to which are added important borrowings, such as the purple dress worn by Dita Von Teese for her wedding with Marilyn Manson and the outfits worn by Gwen Stefani, Kate Moss and Gavin Rossdale. In addition to wedding dresses, there are bouquets, tiaras, veils, gloves, hats and accessories: taxonomy that reveals the social background of women of different eras, ages, origins and social class. Inexorable are the embroidered waistcoats worn by men, photos, memories and videos of weddings both famous and not, to complete a show which, to say the least, is flamboyant.

The starting point is 1775, with a cream floral dress that shows that the custom of the time was to choose clothes that could be reused, with pastel colours and flowery fabrics or fabrics woven with gold or silver. In the nineteenth century, however, white begins to dominate, thanks to the decision of Queen Victoria to wear a white lace gown for her wedding to Prince Albert, in 1840. From the beginning of the twentieth century the tenet is the embellishment of clothing, strictly white or ivory with embroidery, beads and sequins, and the experimentation with fabrics like velvet. During World War II, the clothes get shorter and the brides are forced to improvise, as is evidenced by the clothes made with upholstery fabric or parachute silk. Among the many dresses on display, perhaps the most famous is the simple ensemble worn by Camilla in 2005 for her union with Prince Charles. Spectacular is the one created by Norman Hartnell in 1933 for the aristocratic Margaret Whigham, a triumph of silk studded with appliqué flowers, with a trail of almost four meters. In 1947 Hartnell created the wedding-dress for Queen Elizabeth II. The upper floor of the exhibition is dedicated to the most recent decades, updated to the collections of Spring/Summer 2014. Particular attention is devoted to ‘celebrity weddings’ followed online by millions of people worldwide. One section shows how different factories in China are specialized in copying the wedding dresses of actresses, singers or popular models in a matter of hours. In short, it is a unique exhibition that arouses curiosity both in fashion enthusiasts, as well as in fervent romantics of the auspicious “yes”.