Wedded Perfection Two Centuries of Wedding Gowns
June 19 – September 18, 2011
Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute
Museum of Art
The ultimate in fashion opulence will be showcased with more than 50 wedding gowns dating from the late 1700s to today in the monumental exhibition Wedded Perfection: Two Centuries of Wedding Gowns opening view June 19 in the Museum of Art.
From vintage to vogue, gilded to goth, these fashion masterpieces are the epitome of artistry and splendor. Wedded Perfection presents historic modes including an 18th century emerald-colored brocaded silk gown as well as high-end couture from legendary designers including Christian Dior, Paco Rabanne, Vera Wang, Geoffrey Beene, Bob Mackie, and David Zyla.
Including court presentation gowns, colored sheaths, and extreme runway samples, Wedded Perfection, the most impressive museum exhibition ever presented on the wedding gown, is organized by the Cincinnati Art Museum. Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute is the only other venue for the exhibition.
The ability of fashion to engender an emotional response is nowhere better illustrated than at a wedding. MWPAI Museum of Art Assistant Director and Curator of Decorative Arts Anna D’Ambrosio said the dresses in Wedded Perfection display incredible artistry and are simply breathtaking. “The variety of styles illustrates how each bride makes a personal statement. Some are cutting-edge fashion, while others evoke romance and fairytales,” she said. As illustrated by the lace, tulle, feathers, fur, rhinestones, and flowered trim on the gowns in the exhibition, the wedding dress may be the most elaborate piece of clothing a woman will ever wear and the one garment in which she is assured rapturous attention. With gowns that vary from a shear, flapper-style dress accented by faux pearls to an intricate 1950s silk organza gown designed by Christian Dior to examples by today’s hottest wedding dress designer Vera Wang, this exhibition will examine the compelling allure of the glamorous, white, wedding dress for modern women and its present iconic stature.
The desire to appear in splendid attire on one’s wedding day is shared by cultures around the world. Divided into distinct sections, Wedded Perfection will explore the origin of western bridal traditions, periods when the ‘traditional’ white wedding dress was not worn, trend-setting wedding dresses, contemporary and avant garde wedding dresses, and influential designers.
The accompanying full-color catalog includes a primary essay that parallels women’s role in society and within the institution of marriage with the evolving aesthetics of wedding gowns. An adjunct essay discussesthe establishment of the commercial wedding industry in the years following World War II and examines trends that resulted in the elaborate and formal weddings most common today. Catalogue entries, comparative illustrations, original photos, and comments on design, construction, and fashionable characteristics are also included.
Wedded Perfection is on View Through September 18th.