No matter how much the fashion industry evolves, white always dominates wedding dresses, a tradition that began when Queen Victoria’s wedding dress spread white dresses in the mid-19th century.

40 vintage wedding dresses from the 19th century to the 1950s are on display at the China National Silk Museum until March 14th.

Before Queen Victoria’s time, the western nobility preferred silver wedding dresses, and middle-class women preferred brightly colored silk dresses.

The exhibition’s silk-satin British wedding dresses, made at the time of Queen Victoria, were supported by a hubbub in the back below the waist to expand the skirt. The sleeves were puffed up while the cuffs were pleated.

National Silk Museum China / Ti Gong

A hustle and bustle at the back, below the waist, props a British silk satin wedding dress from Queen Victoria’s time to expand the skirt with puffed sleeves and pleated cuffs.

These luxury dresses have taken on a beige-like color, but their quality shows visitors that they were once exclusive to the upper class.

From the 1860s to the 1920s, corsets were used in wedding dresses to highlight or even exaggerate the curves of a woman’s torso.

One of the wedding dresses in the exhibition was designed in the shape of an hourglass and reflects the aesthetics of the time. During this period, people used pearls, as well as gold and silver embroidery patterns, to decorate dresses, which were gradually gaining popularity in the West.

As the fashion industry developed, looms made it possible to manufacture lace in large quantities, and lace-embellished dresses were common by the early 20th century.

Long lace bridal veils and wreaths were also used to decorate wedding dresses, making them more romantic and mellow. Floral lace patterns were often used on cuffs, corsages, and shoulder pieces.

National Silk Museum China / Ti Gong

Long lace bridal veils and wreaths make this wedding dress more romantic and mellow. Floral lace patterns are widely used on cuffs, corsages, and shoulder pieces in the early 20th century.

A breakthrough in the fashion industry came in the 1920s when Coco Chanel designed a range of glamorous haute couture in black and white.

Fashion designers removed traditional corsets and hubbub from wedding dresses and created a new style that emphasized the waistline.

Some wedding dresses were revolutionary, characterized by a small, pinched waist and a full skirt that stretched below the ankles, accentuating the busts and hips of women.

These wedding dresses gradually evolved into evening gowns popular with trendsetters like Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, and Audrey Hepburn.

As more women followed this trend, wearing this style of clothing found its way into wedding ceremonies.

The elegance of wedding dresses over the centuries

National Silk Museum China / Ti Gong

A pair of wedding shoes from the 1950s

Exhibition “Romance and Purity”

Dates: Until March 14th (closed on Mondays)

free entry

Address: 73-1 Yuhuangshan Rd

73-1 Yuhuangshan Road


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