Eliza Wyke / Fashion History & Exhibitions  / Wedding Dresses from the Harrogate Collection

Wedding Dresses from the Harrogate Collection

With out of town visitors to entertain last week, we ventured into the Royal Pump Room Museum, and their delightful display of wedding dresses spanning 150 years.  The majority of the dresses have a local connection; either designed and made locally and/or worn by locals.  The small exhibition charts the changes in fashions, style and body shape, and also the economics surrounding weddings.

Having seen the V&A’s 300 years of bridal fashions a couple or so years ago and it’s grand array of (mostly designer) wedding dresses made for the rich, famous and/or privileged, this exhibition contrasts tremendously.

Personally, I was enthralled by the Victorian and Edwardian dresses as they were individually manufactured and intricately designed.

If you’re in Harrogate, have an hour or so spare, it’s well worth a visit this August (ends 15 September).

Making an entrance


1880s dress in silk

Intricate bodice


On a practical level many women opted for something they could wear again – or even put on their Sunday best as the cost of having a dress made that would only be worn once was prohibitively expensive


Imagine having a waist so tiny…

Detachable train affixed to the neckline. A heavier Victorian invention of the modern “cape-veil”


A love the Edwardian era; continuing with the structured bodice, but with a softer element to the skirt


This is a bridesmaid dress… and the media thought Pippa upstaged her sis!


I love the flapper style – sadly not my body shape!


I love the simplicity of the 1930’s designs


War time practicality – a suit which could be worn again. I adore these sharp shoulders and double deep pockets.


“We fade to grey Bra-ra dress” designed by Julia Triston to raise awareness that 42% of marriages in England & Wales end in divorce.  In the background “To know a Veil” comprises half-finished phrases of regret surrounding a relationship’s demise.

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