The V&A wedding dress

Victoria and Albert museum - Wedding-dress
Front of the dress
One of the highlights of the Victoria and Albert Museum fashion exhibition must be this little dress. (Little as in made for someone rather short, by today's standard, I hasten to add.)

It is made of white cotton muslin with a flowery wool embroidery at the bottom of the skirt, silk satin collar and wadded rouleaux in the front. It was made sometime around 1830 by an unknown person and worn by an equally unknown person - it was probably made in either France or Britain. It is very typical of its time with the big balloon sleeves and slim waste - the fashion had made some drastic changes in the last ten years. This is the total opposite of the Regency fashion.

It must also be noted that the museum labels this as a probable wedding-dress, but nobody knows for sure. It is based much on the amount of work gone into this dress, it must have been made for a special occasion. Wedding dresses in the 19th century could very well be white, but not necessarily (many women would just wear their Sunday best, or take into account to have a wedding dress made that could very well be worn afterwards too) and it didn't become really popular until the wedding of queen Victoria in 1840 when she chose to wear white - some ten years after this dress was made.

Victoria and Albert Museum - Wedding-dress
Side of the dress
The side of the dress is by far the least flattering for the wearer - the big sleeves hide the slim waste and making the whole thing rather look like a balloon.
Victoria and Albert Museum - Wedding-dress
Back of the dress
The back shot clearly reveals a dress made to be seen both from front and back. The V-shaped collar from the front is in the back given a totally different shape - while the floral pattern at the bottom of the skirt remains the same both from the front and the back.

Victoria and Albert museum - Wedding-dress
Dress in different light (due to different camera)

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