There is something about wedding gowns that seem to enchant women. Be it Kate Middleton or Kim Kardashian, when famous people get married, everyone wants the details. What dress are they wearing? Who's the designer? What are their shoes and hairstyle? And the list goes on.
They watch the TV specials, read the magazines and go online to discuss about it. Whether they are fascinated or just gathering ideas for their dream wedding, most women can't seem to get enough of celebrity weddings.
This is no surprise. Throughout history, famous people have influenced fashion trends, including wedding fashion. Queen Victoria made white bridal garments fashionable in the early 19th century. During that time, most women, especially those who are poor, chose coloured fabrics as the colours were easier to maintain than pristine white. It was only in the latter part of that century, that white unofficially became the de facto colour for bridal gowns.
It is interesting to see the development of wedding fashion throughout the years and how fashion reflects the practices of that era. The Wedding Dress: 200 Years of Wedding Fashion showcases 36 wedding dresses from the Victoria & Albert Museum, among bridegroom attires and accessories.
The traveling exhibition is in Singapore at the National Museum of Singapore for the only Asian stop of the tour, and also includes a section showcasing 12 bridal costumes worn by the various ethnic groups here.
In a celebrity-obsessed culture, two dresses that stood out most were those worn by popstar Gwen Stefani and burlesque star Dita Von Teese. No Doubt's front woman's gown reflected both her 'classic beauty with an edge' style choices in the early 2000s. Do take a look at the construction of the asymmetrical dress and the unconventional gradient colouring of the skirt and train. It manages to be both a fashion statement and romantic bridal gown at the same time.
Displaying next to Gwen's gown and still managing to grab your attention is Dita's violet-coloured Vivienne Westwood dress. A dazzling piece of work with 18th century style full-bodied skirt, it is also displayed with the shoes and hat she wore. It is a rare chance to see these stunning pieces up close.
For the romantic who envisions a fairytale wedding, walking down the aisle with bridesmaids delicately carrying the long train of your gown, check out the silk satin dress worn by society beauty Margaret Whigham. It is hard to miss, placed in the middle of the gallery with its 2.7m train. A video of Margaret on her wedding day in 1933 is also shown at the exhibition, showing crowds of women jostling with photographers to catch a glimpse of the gown.
The exhibition also features gowns by three local designers: Sylvia Kho, Goh Lai Chan and Peter Kor. It is a treat for the younger crowd who may not have seen Mrs Kho's designs as the renowned local bridal designer retired in the early 1990s. The dress on display is from the 1970s and features a high Elizabethan collar supported by wire inserted under the lace.
The exhibition runs until Oct 31, and is open from 10am to 6pm daily. Tickets are priced at $11, but for the month of August, tickets are priced at $6 for Singaporeans and permanent residents.