Bridal show offers elegant flashback

The last time Carmel Quinlivan had seen her ivory wedding gown worn it was as she glanced in the mirror before she walked down the aisle of St Mary's Cathedral.

Yesterday, 61 years later, Mrs Quinlivan was taken back to the day she married Francis when her dress was modelled by Perth College student Isabel Vaillancourt as part of a fashion show of vintage wedding dresses at the college yesterday.

From the handcrafted elegance of the 1850s to the endless tulle of the 1950s, the dresses that had sat in closets for decades were paraded along the catwalk for an audience of former brides and their families, who had donated the dresses to the Afternoon of Elegance show.

Kept in immaculate condition, the dresses were matched up to excited students and dressed up with veils and flowers for the one-off parade.

Among the audience was Mrs Quinlivan, who remembers her excitement at paying £25 for her dress to be made by a well-known dressmaker in Bridgetown.

"It felt pretty good to be wearing it. I couldn't afford any new shoes, so I covered my shoes in the material, too," she said.

"I think it's lovely to do this. Some of my granddaughters have dressed up in it but apart from that, this is the first time I've seen it worn."

Organiser Bev Ireland said she had been overwhelmed with the response to calls for donated wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses for the parade, which raised money for financially disadvantaged families linked to the college.

The West Australian

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