The traditional white wedding dress is the quintessential emblem of British marriage and the symbolic centre of this most special of days. But it has not always been the largely classless symbol it is today, and this book opens a fascinating window onto the dresses' real story, whether they were part of the grand ceremonies commemorating royal and aristocratic unions or the humble country weddings of the commonfolk. Here, costume expert Shelley Tobin looks at Queen Victoria's simple white dress and lace of 1840, the crinoline revival of the 1950s, our modern designer frocks, and everything in between, including the myriad accoutrements such as the trousseau and flowers. She also sheds intriguing light on the reasons why women have not worn a white dress, including poverty, war-time rationing and divergent traditions.
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Shelley Tobin is a specialist curator and dress historian with over thirty years' experience. She is currently Curator of Costume for the National Trust at Killerton House, part-time Assistant Curator for the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter, and consultant to the Blandford Fashion Museum, Dorset. She has curated many exhibitions focusing on the history of clothing and textiles, particularly western fashionable dress. She has served on the executive committee of the UK Costume Society, and the Dress and Textile Specialists Group, and is currently a member of the National Trust's advisory panel the Costume Working Group. She has published, lectured and broadcast on many aspects of the subject, including Marriage a la Mode (2003), and Inside Out, a Brief History of Underwear (2000). She often contributes to BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour and local TV and radio programmes from the South West of England to New South Wales.
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