Saturday, June 1, 2013

100 years of bridal fashion

Where do the hours/days/weeks go?
I have so many ideas for posts and a so many folders of photos scattered throughout my computer and phone, and somehow they've all been jumbled up into a confused mess.
So a sorting I must go..................

These photos I took WEEEEEKS ago.  Early May in fact.
I went to a Friend's Day High Tea with The Cavalcade Of History And Fashion and had yummy nibblies and witnessed a wonderful display and talk about wedding fashion over a century - between 1880's and 1980's.

So here are some photos I meant to show you - oh - about a month ago (better late then never right? Right?......)

Please note that my little phone camera and limited photography skills did absolutely no justice to these gorgeous creations.

This elegant gown was worn by blushing bride Violet Llewellyn when she married Christopher Bennett in Balmain, Sydney in April 1880.  Violet was the grand-daughter of the first Manager of the Bank of NSW.
The gown is cream satin with a luscious long bustle train that has an orange blossom trim.
Gals were stylish in the 1880's (as compared to the 1980's which you will soon see for yourself).
Love the cute kindy paintings in the background of the photo below.


Edwardian Era dress.  One of my favourite decades of the 20th century (well ok, every decade up to the 1970's is my favourite - but then I'm a gal of many tastes...)
This stunning cream satin gown was worn by Grace Peters when she married Thomas Hackney in Petersham, Sydney in September 1909.

The roaring 20's and my favourite dress of the day. 
Winifred (Winnie) Rouse wore this gold lame dream of a dress when she  married Lieutenant Frank Leslie Crane at Darling Point, Sydney in June 1922.  Apparently the couple were mad polo players.  The dress is silk embroidered with metallic thread and trimmed with chiffon (sigh)...

The decade when curves came back into fashion.
Wedding gown from 1938. 
Ivory silk with "Lily Of The Valley" print with a flat bows trim at the back and on the sleeves.

World War II era dress. 
A lot of war era brides (my own Nanna included) just wore their best outfit or invested in a pretty dress they could wear later.
Some brides however still went the whole hog - as much as their rationing coupons would allow.
This gown from 1940 is cream lace over taffeta with pearl buttons and a long train. 

1956 and nylon is the new wonder fabric!
This nylon gown is embroidered with seed pearls.  The skirt is made up of layers of taffeta and nylon, the top layer being 'glass nylon' and has a bow at the back.
The bride made her own headpiece.
This gown reminds my of my mother's gown, even though she got married in the next decade (and the skirt was layers of tulle).

The swinging 60's. 
This cream dream was worn by Helen Chambers when she married Hendrik Martin at Epping, Sydney in 1962.
The gown is made of cream synthetic faille and has a detachable train with a fabric rose trim, that I tried soooo hard to get a photo of but couldn't manage without risking knocking down the display.
Helen graduated in medicine at Sydney University in 1960.  Back then women were expected to leave work after marrying and definitely not work after having children.  But Helen continued to practice medicine after marrying and having children.  Makes her a pioneer in my book. 

Two wedding dresses from 1972.
The dress on the right is white nylon with an appliqued bodice and a large bow trim.
It was worn by Joanne Connors when she married Graham Rose in Newcastle in 1972.


1980's - the decade that fashion forgot.
Well that's unfair - there were some fashion from the 80's that were cool.  Trouble was, I didn't wear any of it.
I remember many wedding dresses being fashioned on Princess Dianna's gown.
This cream raw silk gown from 1980, has a verrrrrrry full princess-like skirt with a slight train.  The bodice and sleeves are embroidered with ribbon and pearls.

 All the ladies in their glory.

 The afternoon was finished off with yummy cakes and coffee served in delicate china.


I'm very much looking forward to the next one.


  1. I'm glad you posted these, no matter when you took them, Debs! It's lovely to see the progression {and I'm reminded as to how pretty a name Violet is ~ and how cute a name Winnie is!} Have a beautiful week, sweet lady, and thanks for your message over at my place.

  2. Quite a collection. Yesterday Mrs. Jim and I attended a 50th wedding anniversary affair for our friends.

    The wife/bride had her wedding dress displayed by putting it on a mannequin. She was tiny then, her husband could put his hands (the are large) around her waist. No more.

    I'll try to remember to give you a heads up IF I post it.

  3. Hi Debs, thanks for your visit to my blog today.

    Is it a coincidence? The Pasadena Museum of History is currently displaying antique and historically significant wedding dresses.
    (My post about it here:

    I don't think my wedding dress will end up in a museum....

    Hi Shell!

  4. Shell: I think some of those names should make a come back don't you? ;)

    Jim: Please do! I love bridal wear of the past displays.

    Petrea: That is some SERIOUS corseting!!

  5. What a lovely exhibit. It's amazing how many ways a white dress can be fashioned.

  6. Petrea shared this link on my blog, where I have three recent posts with photos of bridal gowns of the Edwardian Era, those of the 1920s and 1930s. I give tours of the exhibit Petrea mentioned.
    Debs, I really enjoyed your dresses. Thank you.

  7. Here in the States, a lot of those World War II brides wore suits because their boyfriend came home on leave, and they decided to marry on the spur of the moment, before he went to war. No time to order a wedding dress.

  8. We are: Clamco: I agree. Did you notice that every single dress had a different neckine?

    Pamelatartaglio: You're very welcome. I visited your blog and just love the 1930's dresses. My poor Nan was one of those war brides who didn't have time to order a dress. My Grandad proposed, they got married a few days later, and the next day he was shipped overseas. Happily he came back :)

  9. Oops. Sorry - that was supposed to read NECKLINE not neckine.

  10. Sweet story about your grandparents. He shipped out the next day! Glad he made it back to her.


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