Wedding gowns are one of the clearest indicators of the way fashions change. Conversely, they are also a happy affirmation of the way some things also remain essentially the same. The gown has gone through many changes in its existence though lace has always been one of the preferred materials used, imbued as it is with that sense and feeling of luxury and indulgence.
Go back in time a couple of centuries and the main thing you’d notice is that wedding gowns were not white or ivory two of the most popular colors today. Quite the opposite in fact; dark colors featured prominently on brides as they took their vows. This was for the simple reason that it was very difficult to keep light-colored fabrics clean in the days before washing machines and laundry detergents. One stain could ruin the entire gown and there were plenty of Bridezilla’s back then too; nobody would take the risk.
Queen Victoria is said to have inspired the white wedding dress and it certainly caught on once people got a bit cleaner! The color, along with ivory, has flourished and is one of the things that to this day is still a major driving force in bridal couture. In the earlier years of her reign, gowns were often quite formal, with few embellishments.
When money got tight, such as in the depression and during the war years, brides still wanted to look good and so sought alternatives to silk and other luxury materials; rayon was particularly popular. Lace still featured highly on the list of demands and a lot of mothers found their old gowns pressed into service by daughters. Sometimes a single piece of lace would be cut from Mom’s old gown (no doubt after lots of begging!) and turned into an embellishment that would complete the gown.
In the 60s and 70s, fashion experienced its biggest upheavals and this was reflected in the wedding gown, which went up and down in length dramatically and began to feature much more embellishment. The space-age made metallic fabrics particularly popular.
There was a return to more traditional gowns with long trains and big veils, which gave way to a modern compromise between the two. This led onto our current designs, which seek not to replicate the past but to draw on its influences and create fusions that continue to astound.