Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 at the V&A

When I was planning my wedding, one of my favourite things was looking through magazines and blogs to get ideas for my wedding. I made a scrapbook (yes, I'm one of those brides) and filled it with pictures of flowers, decorations, hairstyles, make-up looks - and dresses. Lots and lots of dresses. So you can understand that when I found the V&A was going to have an exhibition of wedding dresses, I was ridiculously excited to check it out and see all the gorgeous gowns.

The exhibition looks at changing wedding dress fashions and trends from 1775 up until the present day. Sadly as the downstairs area (especially around the entrance) was pretty crowded I couldn't really get any decent pictures of them, but there were some beautiful dresses, from Regency Jane Austen-style cuts to Victorian gowns with incredible lace and embroidery details. Some of the fabric were amazing as well - things like brocade men's waistcoats and a particularly gorgeous pink polka dot fabric for Princess Beatrice's wedding dress (no not that one).

Ridiculously tiny corsets. I don't know whether to be impressed that someone managed to fit into that or a bit saddened that women had to suffer for beauty (though I suppose we still do, but this isn't the time or place to get onto that...)

Love this quote that was on the wall in the exhibition - it really captures how I feel about my own wedding (though I should point out I'm excited in a kid-at-Christmas-wanting-it-to-be-here-now kind of way too!)

I could imagine this beautiful drop waisted 1920s dress being worn by a character on Downton Abbey - the beading and lace looks incredible and I love the sparkly belt.

This is a terrible quality picture I know but I couldn't get up close enough to get a good one. However I had to include it as it's just so pretty. It's a 1940s tea dress in the most gorgeous red chiffon and harks back to some of the earlier dresses, which were often colourful rather than white so they could be worn again. I love the idea of a wedding dress being repurposed into everyday life.

This is a Dior New Look dress from the late 1940s/early 1950s and is absolutely beautiful. I love the lace detailing and the beadwork as well as the sweetheart neckline under the lace. This is actually very similar to a dress I tried on and very nearly ended up buying - but you'll have to watch this space to see the real thing!

Moving upstairs to find the more modern (1960s onwards) and celebrity wedding dresses...

I feel a bit mean but must admit this sign did make me chuckle!

I really like this dress - it's very simple but the ruching on the bodice, the beautiful neckline and the gorgeous flowy skirt just lift if to something else. And you can't go wrong with a bit of a princessy tiara...

I have a bit of a thing about bows and so the giant one on the back of this dress is utterly brilliant - after all, during the ceremony most people are going to be looking at your back, so it makes sense to have some detail there.

The embroidery detail on this wedding dress (they're meant to be phoenix feathers!) for a Chinese bride is just so incredibly detailed. And how fierce are those red shoes?!

Speaking of detail, this is Kate Moss's wedding dress and it's beautifully intricate - just look at the sheer amount of beading and sparkle on there! This was one of my favourite dresses in the whole exhibition, despite not liking it when I first saw photos of it; it's really one you need to see up close to appreciate the full effect.

One celebrity wedding dress I have loved for years, however, is Gwen Stefani's. I really like the unusual detail of the pink dip-dye and the fact it's utterly romantic yet still oozes rock-star cool.

Saving the best for last - my favourite dress of the whole exhibition. This is the dress Dita Von Teese wore when she married Marilyn Manson and it is just so, so beautiful. The gorgeous mix of pinks and purples and blues in the fabric, the shape - demure yet sexy - and the playfulness of the tri-cornered hat are a winning combination in my book

If you fancy checking it out, Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 is on at the V&A until 15 March 2015 - so plenty of time to pay them a visit! - and tickets cost £13.50.

Have you been to this exhibition? Which of the dresses is your favourite?


  1. I absolutely adore V&A And thank the lord there is plenty of time for me to go- I always see exhibitions and have like 3 days to try and go, and obviously can't!!! Would love to make a visit, thanks for sharing xxx


  2. What a fantastic exhibition - really interesting! I've only ever been to the V&A once on a school trip when I was about 15 and my main memory of it is me and my friend getting so completely lost in the corridors that at the time we were supposed to meet back at the coach we were in the Museum desperately trying to get out worrying the bus would leave without us! Funny!

    Chloe x

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