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William and Kate get ‘Hitched’

28 April 2011 by Dawn

A white wedding dress with a full and fancy skirt

A dress fit for a Princess. (Traveller wedding dress, 2010).

Little did we know when we opened the Hitched: wedding clothes

and customs exhibition last Summer that its closing weekend would coincide with that most lauded of all nuptial ceremonies – the Royal Wedding.

As speculation grows about Ms Middleton’s dress, wedding fashion through the ages is once again the subject of intense media and public interest. Kensington Palace is displaying a set of Royal dresses to mark the occasion, tracing style changes from Princess Charlotte’s 1816 silver-embellished number to Princess Alexandra of Kent’s magnificent 1963 lace creation. And tomorrow another dress (and designer) will join the history books!

Speculation over who has designed the dress has reached fever pitch. We haven’t witnessed this sort of excitement since Carrie Bradshaw nearly made it up the aisle with Mr Big in a stunning Vivienne Westwood gown. Original speculation put Dame Vivienne in the mix, but given her anti-establishment stance (and let’s not forget the Sex Pistols’ high jinx on the Thames during the Jubilee), it’s not really that surprising she’s out of the running. Names like Sophie Cranston, Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen, Phillipa Lepley, Alice Temperley and Jenny Packham are currently being bandied about while Bruce Oldfield says it’s definitely not him.

The Hitched exhibition at Sudley House features wedding outfits from the Victorian age to the present day and includes dresses from Jewish, Chinese and Traveller communities, as well as civil partnership suits. Sudley House also has a pretty garden and traditional tea room – a lovely place to continue the celebrations and toast the Royal newlyweds with a scone and a brew.

‘Hitched: wedding clothes and customs’ closes this Monday 2nd May, so this weekend is the last chance to see it. Later in the year you will be able to see Costume Drama: Fashion from 1790 to 1850 at Sudley House, exploring outfits from the ‘Jane Austen’ era – the type of designs you might see in a TV adaptation. If you can’t wait until then, the Lady Lever Art Gallery will be hosting The Finishing Touch: women’s accessories, 1830-1940 from later this month.

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