The West

Bridal dresses to take centre stage
The embroidered silk wedding dress designed by Norman Hartnell in London 1933. It was commissioned by Margaret Whigham for her marriage to Charles Sweeney. Picture: Victoria and Albert Museum/V&A Images

There are few items of clothing more evocative of time and place over the centuries than the wedding gown.

And in December, a stunning collection of wedding dresses dating back 200 years will be on display in Perth.

Unveiled - a collection of some of most exquisite wedding dresses created - will be on loan to the WA Museum from the prestigious Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

It features more than 40 glamorous and extravagant wedding outfits from the V&A collection ranging from the 1800s to the present day, including some by designers Vera Wang, John Galliano and Vivienne Westwood and worn by celebrities such as Gwen Stefani and Dita Von Teese.

The highlight of the exhibition is a Norman Hartnell wedding dress with a 3.6m train which was worn by socialite Margaret Whigham in 1933 for her marriage to Charles Sweeney.

The dress caused London traffic to come to a standstill as people crowded to catch a glimpse of the bride and her nine attendants.

A private donor has also enabled the museum to add wedding dresses from its own collection to the exhibition.

"The museum is there for everyone, it belongs to everyone and we want to cater for a range of interests," chief executive Alec Coles said.

"It's a stunning exhibition and when we look at how we mark our lives, how we express ourselves through history, fashion, costume and dress is such an important part of our experience.

"So for us to have an exhibition of wedding dresses makes that perspective even more poignant."

Unveiled is another coup for the State museum, which has been riding high after several highly successful exhibitions, including Pompeii, the most popular it has staged. Unveiled: 200 Years of Wedding Glamour runs from December 8 to March 24.

The West Australian

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