Well tailored cap sleeve fuchsia satin, boatneck bodice with V-back, fitted to the waist, pleated overskirt with fringed front bow detail and high-low hem stiffened with crinoline over knee length pencil skirt.
Lydia Edwards’ How to
Read a Dress covers nearly five centuries and makes quick work of some
complex sartorial times. Critic Genevieve Valentine says, after you read it, “Period-piece
TV will never look the same.”
10th February 1840 - Queen Victoria's Wedding Dress
As many people know, it is said that Victoria started the trend of wearing a white coloured dress on your wedding day. However, not many know how complicated the journey was that had it come to be.
In the early of planning her wedding, Lord Melbourne suggested that she might wear her royal robes of state, as she mentions in her diary -
They talked about me wearing my robes, but I thought not.
She made it clear that her wedding was not like others of the time, where it was all for advancement and gain, with no thought of romantic preference. Her wedding was a personal affair; she was marrying for love.
In the end, Victoria would design her own dress, as well as her bridesmaids’ dresses. She had her dress made entirely of British materials, as was well publicised at the time. This was a political move, as she was showing to foreign powers just what her country had to offer and that she was still representing Britain. The silk was woven in Spitalfields, East London and the lace was handmade in Devon. Finally, the outfit was sewed together by Victoria’s own dressmaker, a Mrs Bettans, with the pattern being destroyed afterwards to prevent the dress being replicated.
The finished garment would include a bodice, the waist pointed over a full, pleated skirt with full puffed sleeves and a round neck, all made of Spitalfields white silk satin. The train was immense, measuring 18 feet and edged with orange blossom spays (orange blossom being a symbol of fertility). Orange blossom would feature a lot on her person, as her wreath above her veil (which was 12 feet long) was made of it and it trimmed her dress. She also wore matching satin shoes (see two above), and a blue sapphire brooch at her breast which was a wedding gift from Albert. In her diary, on her wedding day of the tenth of February 1840, she described her whole outfit as thus -
I wore a white satin dress, with a deep flounce of Honiton lace, an imitation of an old design. My jewels were my Turkish diamond necklace & earrings & dear Albert’s beautiful sapphire brooch
Victoria did not wear her actual wedding dress for the whole day, as when she returned to Buckingham Palace after the service and wedding breakfast she withdrew to change into ‘a white silk gown trimmed with swansdown and a white bonnet with orange flowers’, an outfit very similar to her original ensemble. Years later, Victoria would allow her favourite daughter Beatrice (who would be one of the queens few close companions in her widowhood) to wear her wedding veil at her own wedding in 1885 (see photograph below). She would be the only daughter of Victoria allowed this special privilege. In addition later still, Victoria would be buried wearing her lace veil, in 1901
Featured Image Emily Blunt as Victoria on her wedding day, The Young Victoria 2009 Sources - Becoming Queen, Kate Williams Historic Royal Places Photograph #3 by Daily Mail
White silk having sheer sleeveless V-neck bodice with silver lace trim and beaded back tassel over short sleeve bodice with wide silver lace band, vertical lace bands edge front and back looped panels over full skirt, pale pink silk lining, cloth flowers at waist
Philippa of Hainault Queen consort of England 24 January 1328 – 15 August 1369 The lady whom we saw has not uncomely hair, betwixt blue-black and brown. Her head is clean-shaped; her forehead high and broad, and standing somewhat forward. Her face narrows between the eyes, and the lower part of her face is still more narrow and slender than her forehead. Her eyes are blackish-brown and deep. Her nose is fairly smooth and even, save that it is somewhat broad at the tip and also flattened, and yet it is no snub-nose. Her nostrils are also broad, her mouth fairly wide. Her lips somewhat full, and especially the lower lip. Her ears and chin are comely enough. Her neck, shoulders, and all her body are well set and unmaimed; and nought is amiss so far as a man may see. Moreover, she is brown of skin all over, and much like her father; and in all things she is pleasant enough, as it seems to us. And the damsel will be of the age of nine years on St. John’s day next to come, as her mother saith. She is neither too tall nor too short for such an age; she is of fair carriage, and well taught in all that becometh her rank, and highly esteemed and well beloved of her father and mother and of all her meinie, in so far as we could inquire and learn the truth.
WORTH SILK and METALLIC EVENING DRESS, 1920 - 1922.
2-piece black taffeta brocaded with metallic gold apples, surplice peplum bodice decorated with gilt cloth flowers and having short tulle bell sleeve embroidered in gold thread, trimmed in black velvet and heavy self piping, full skirt having piped and scalloped hem over silk, gold lamé and embroidered tulle underskirts