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Wedding Dresses at the V&A

Wedding dresses at V&A

I was treated to a preview of the V&A’s new Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 exhibition last week. It opened to everyone at the weekend, so here’s a peek at some of my favourite things on show.

Wedding dresses at V&A
Wedding dresses at V&A
The ground floor charts dresses from the 18th century up to the mid-20th century. You can clearly see the styles changing through the years and the influence that factors such as wealth and location had on the dress a woman chose. Above, some elaborately hand-worked 18th century dresses.

Wedding dresses at V&A

I love the print of this humble cotton dress, worn by a farm labourer in the 1830s.

Wedding dresses at V&A

A steam-moulded Victorian corset to be worn under a dress – yikes.

Wedding dresses at V&A
Wedding dresses at the V&A
A century later, the influence of eveningwear on bridalwear became apparent. This beautiful gown with a ridiculously long train was worn by a socialite in the 1930s.

Wedding dresses at V&A

Another stunning 30s dress, bias cut silk with a slightly more subtle train, again worn by a society lady.

Wedding dresses at the V&A

A silver lamé bridesmaids’ dress for a Jewish wedding, from just up the road in Stamford Hill.

Wedding dresses at V&A
Wedding dresses at V&A

Not every dress is white: a purple coat dress handmade by its wearer in the 1890s, and a gorgeous red shirt dress from the 30s.

Wedding dresses at V&A

The show is interspersed with little personal touches: fabric swatches, shoes and floral crowns and real quotations written on the walls, which makes it feel intimate and personal. This show really celebrates the bride herself.

Wedding dresses at V&A
Wedding dresses at V&A

Moving upstairs, this section covers the 1960s onwards and contains most of the star draws of the exhibition. Firstly, Kate Moss’s dress from her wedding to Jamie Hince.

Wedding dresses at V&A

The Galliano dress is even more stunning in the flesh as it was in the photos at the time: it’s got over a quarter of a million gold sequins as well as pearl beads and paillons which took over 700 hours to complete.

Wedding dresses at V&A
Wedding dresses at V&A

Another Galliano creation and one of my all-time favourites, Gwen Stefani’s dip-dyed dress. Great to see all the punk-influenced lacing and strapping on the back. Ugly shoes though!

Wedding dresses at V&A
Wedding dresses at V&A

Dita von Teese’s typically retiring shimmery purple gown

Wedding dresses at V&A
Wedding dresses at V&A

Modern dresses with influences from the 60s and 30s.

Wedding dresses at the V&A
Wedding dresses at the V&A

A pretty 60s tea dress, designed by its wearer

V&A Wedding dresses

A modern Ghanian wedding ensemble in traditional wax prints. I thought the show was a little too Western-orientated overall – it would have been nice to see more dresses from other cultures.

Wedding dresses at V&A
Wedding dresses at V&A

Interesting and beautiful craftsmanship techniques: roses applied to the veil with rubber, and the Duchess of Cornwall’s handpainted silk coat.

Wedding dresses at V&A

Even if like me you don’t have much interest in weddings, there is plenty to be enthralled by here. The changing fashions through time, the craftsmanship and the social and historical influences are all fascinating and make this show well worth a visit. The exhibition runs at the V&A until next March; you can find out more and order tickets here.

V&A Friday Lates

V&A Friday Lates

Josh and I made the trip to West London on Friday to check out the V&A Friday Lates. They open the museum extra late and put on installations, talks, exhibitions and interactive sessions to complement the shows that are going on in the museum. Last Friday’s theme was “Adornment’ to coincide with the current Pearls show (I saw this last weekend too, it’s excellent) and it covered fashion and tattooing as well as jewellery.

V&A Friday Lates
V&A Friday Lates
V&A Friday Lates

Sadly I missed the talk I wanted to see due disorganisation, but we swung by the Skin Deep session put on by Brothers of the Stripe, where you could watch the collective doing a live drawing installation and make yourself a rubber-stamped tattoo poster to take away.

V&A Friday Lates
V&A Friday Lates

We also saw a fashion show by E Wha Lim in the Medieval & Renaissance hall. Her surreal work was beautifully complemented by the surroundings.

It was also just great to roam the museum ‘after hours’. We popped to the Japan section…

V&A Friday Lates

Happy chest is happy

V&A Friday Lates

Embroidery detail on samurai robes

… and my favourite place, the jewellery hall.

V&A Friday Lates
V&A Friday Lates
V&A Friday Lates
V&A Friday Lates

Is it just me who likes to play pretend I’m shopping and pick what I’d most like to take home?

V&A Friday Lates
V&A Friday Lates

Beautiful wheel of gems

V&A Friday Lates
V&A Friday Lates
V&A Friday Lates

I think this was the last Lates of the year, but check the site for next year’s events.

Selected clothing

I’m just loving the Selected line of clothing: nearly every piece is a classic with a twist – wearable, elegant and comfortable. Perfect for building that elusive capsule wardrobe. I’m even plotting if I can make recreations of some of these pieces myself… funny how when you start sewing you want to make everything yourself from now on.

selected-dresses

I adore these elegant monochrome dresses. The first one looks like it’d be pretty easy to recreate – just a wrap with wide kimono sleeves, so no fastenings to worry about.

selected-dress

Little black dress made more interesting with texture and a low tied back. Again an easy elastic-waist shape to copy.

selected-sweats

Sweatpants that are almost acceptable to wear outside – right? I definitely want to tackle sewing trousers soon, but crotches scare me.

selected-jacket

Minimally cool waterfall blazer

selected-tees

Give me a perfect slouchy, slubby tee and I am a happy girl.

selected-tee

Interesting folded-bag texture print on this tee

The line’s available from ASOS and their own site in euros.

(Not sponsored, I just want it all!)

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Fancy nails

Nails

I’m far from a girly girl in most ways: I apply the bare minimum of make-up to avoid being told I look poorly and my wardrobe consists almost entirely of cotton jersey in varying shades of ‘drab’. But I do like fancying up my nails, possibly because I am lucky to have very strong, healthy nails – all that cheese I eat, I guess. I’ve even started caring for my cuticles (Bio Oil is the bestest, as well as working wonders everywhere else) and using a top and base coat which really does make a difference. I’ve found it’s pretty easy to fit a quick polish in around working at home or reading blogs, so I’ve been repainting every other day or so recently.

Nails
Nails

I usually stick to plain colours – Butter‘s lovely low-chemical ones are my favourite; I also like Essie, Barry M, Topshop and American Apparel. But when I saw these nail stickers on The Dainty Squid I couldn’t resist the promise of recreating Kaylah’s super cool two-tone looks on the cheat, so bought a few sets too.

Nails
Nails
Nails

My first couple of attempts are a bit smudgy but with practice I’m sure they’ll neaten up. The best part is you can just apply a set of new coloured tips to some chipped days-old polish to give it a refresh without stripping and repainting. Slummy, moi?

NailsNails

For a more subtle look that’s more forgiving to slip-ups, try them with a mattifying top coat – I used Essie’s above left for frosted tips.

If you fancy a go, the sets are super cheap on eBay and arrive really quickly. Have fun.

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Winter wedding wear


I have an excuse to buy a new dress! Josh’s brother is getting married at the end of November (I designed the invitations for them), so I need a pretty cold-weather-appropriate dress. I’m hoping to find something in San Francisco, but here are a few backup options. I’m leaning towards the pretty grey number from Monsoon, teamed with a blazer and wedges for comfort. What do you think? Any tips for cover-ups and legwear?