After having said the cliché ‘I do’, a woman’s thoughts are constantly preoccupied with the ultimate dress of her life: the wedding dress. It constitutes an object of desire for millions of women and it symbolises love and commitment as well as social status. But have you ever wondered from where all the bridal fashion traditions cοme? Odd as it may sound, in the Middle Ages, brides would mostly wear bold colours instead of white on their wedding day. At the time, blue was the most popular choice as it was the symbol of purity and that led to today’s ‘something blue’. The dress would be made by fine materials such as fur, silk and velvet in order to demonstrate one’s high social status.

The trend of the white wedding dress goes a long way back in history. It appears that Princess Philippa of England was the first woman to wear a white dress in 1406 at her wedding to King Eric of Denmark. However, the white colour was only established as a trend when Queen Victoria wore a white wedding gown made of lace at her wedding to Prince Albert. What Queen Victoria did not know, was that she was starting, possibly the most long-lasting trend in fashion. After all, long, white wedding dresses still form a tradition in western cultures. Although Jessica Biel’s Giambattista Valli pink wedding dress seems original, the real trendsetter bride is Queen Catherine of Braganza, who chose to wear a pink dress at her wedding to Charles II of Britain back in 1662. The Renaissance period was also the beginning of the wedding dress train and the garter toss tradition as a symbol of good luck and faithfulness.

In the 1920s, along with the emancipation of women, wedding dresses became more provocative. Hemlines rose up to the knee, in a body-hugging shape and despite the Depression, they were glamorous and elaborately decorated. After the Second World War, the rationing of clothing began. Wedding gowns came in more structured shapes that were inspired by soldiers’ uniforms. The designs were also simpler due to limited choice and women mostly wore ordinary garments such as the wartime crêpe dress or a tailored suit. However, in the years of prosperity that followed, lace and feminine shapes were back in vogue. Jackie Kennedy’s ivory tissue silk wedding dress and Grace Kelly’s taffeta and tulle gown remain symbols of elegance until today.

A sudden change in trends came about in the 1960s when mini dresses and masculine pantsuits were rather popular. Who can forget Mia Farrow’s chic white dress at her wedding to Frank Sinatra or Bianca Jagger’s legendary white suit? Although in the 1980s wedding gowns were full on puffy sleeves and full skirts, fortunately all of this was left behind for simpler silhouettes. Nowadays, luxury gowns, such as the iconic bridal dresses of Vera Wang, feature sleeker shapes and cuts as well as subtle and delicate chiffon and embroidery.