Each gown is unique to the star and marks a defining moment in the history of the wedding dress. While British supermodel Kate sparked a trend for the "boho-chic" bride, Gwen and Dita proved that daring women could walk down the aisle in bright, coloured numbers.
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The extravagant designs, alongside 80 other wedding outfits, are the focus of the museum's latest fashion exhibition entitled Wedding Dresses 1775-2014. The display covers two floors and traces the history of bridal wear — from the earliest examples of wedding fashion, including court dresses, to the more glamorous, red carpet-worthy creations by Vera Wang and Jenny Packham.
When Kate married guitarist Jamie Hince in 2011, the iconic beauty wowed in her "phoenix feathers" gown. As a close friend of John Galliano, it was only natural for Kate to ask the British fashion designer to create her couture wedding dress and veil.
The shimmering "phoenix feathers" sewn onto the sides of the gown reflected the fall of the fabric and the whole dress took 701 hours to embroider. The veil, meanwhile, was made using 270,000 gold sequins, 120,000 foil paillons and 2,800 pearl beads and completed in 253 hours.
White was a popular colour for brides in the 18th century but it really became fashionable when Queen Victoria stepped out in a white gown to marry Prince Albert in 1840. It may have been a significant turning point in the history of the wedding dress, but modern brides such as Gwen Stefani and Dita Von Teese dared to turn the tradition upside down when they married in coloured outfits.
Gwen sparked the trend in 2002 when she married fellow musician Gavin Rossdale in an unconventional pink and white silk gown. The design, also made by John Galliano, attracted widespread admiration and media attention.
Dita pushed boundaries even further by donning an extravagant purple wedding dress, custom made by Vivienne Westwood, at her wedding to rock star Marilyn Manson in 2005. The low-cut bodice, full ball gown skirt and bold colour created an unforgettable image of the burlesque dancer.
A wedding exhibition wouldn't be complete without the likes of Vera Wang, Christian Lacroix, Alice Temperley and Jenny Packham displaying their bridal wear. The esteemed fashion designers all played a part in the evolution of the wedding dress, with Vera revolutionising traditional styles and making gowns more body-conscious and glamorous.
Jenny Packham — a favourite designer with the Duchess of Cambridge, nee Kate Middleton — has opted to showcase her "Rapunzel" dress at the exhibition. Swathed in Swarovski crystals down the back and featuring a high neckline inspired by the opulent Edwardian period, the "Rapunzel" is for the red-carpet bride.
Ian Stuart has displayed his "Flower Bomb" creation while Lanvin has made a mini dress reminiscent of when Sarah Jessica Parker played bride Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City the movie.
Two other wedding dresses that are highlights of the exhibition are those of society brides Margaret Whigham and Barbara 'Baba' Beaton. Margaret's 1933 gown, designed by Norman Hartnell, opened the exhibition with its large display of a white, silk satin dress studded with pearl-embroidered transparent stars. The tulle veil is the talking point though, measuring 18 feet and featuring pearl beads trimmed with wax orange-blossom.
Marrying one year later, Barbara opted for an ivory-cream silk satin number with a high neckline and long tight sleeves. Again, the train caused quite a stir, extending into two separate double-points of satin.
Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 the exhibition will take place at the V&A museum, London from 3 May 2014 until 15 March 2015.