Afterhaving said the cliché ‘I do’, a woman’s thoughts are constantly preoccupiedwith the ultimate dress of her life: the wedding dress. It constitutes anobject of desire for millions of women and it symbolises love and commitment aswell as social status. But have you ever wondered from where all the bridalfashion traditions cοme? Oddas it may sound, in the Middle Ages, brides would mostly wear bold colours insteadof white on their wedding day.

At the time, blue was the most popular choice asit was the symbol of purity and that led to today’s ‘something blue’. The dresswould be made by fine materials such as fur, silk and velvet in order to demonstrateone’s high social status.

Thetrend of the white wedding dress goes a long way back in history. It appearsthat Princess Philippa of England was the first woman to wear a white dress in1406 at her wedding to King Eric of Denmark.

However, the white colour was onlyestablished as a trend when Queen Victoria wore a white wedding gown made oflace at her wedding to Prince Albert. What Queen Victoria did not know, wasthat she was starting, possibly the most long-lasting trend in fashion. Afterall, long, white wedding dresses still form a tradition in western cultures. AlthoughJessica Biel’s Giambattista Valli pink wedding dress seems original, the realtrendsetter bride is Queen Catherine of Braganza, who chose to wear a pinkdress at her wedding to Charles II of Britain back in 1662.

The Renaissanceperiod was also the beginning of the wedding dress train and the garter tosstradition as a symbol of good luck and faithfulness.

Inthe 1920s, along with the emancipation of women, wedding dresses became moreprovocative. Hemlines rose up to the knee, in a body-hugging shape and despitethe Depression, they were glamorous and elaborately decorated. Afterthe Second World War, the rationing of clothing began.

Wedding gowns came inmore structured shapes that were inspired by soldiers’ uniforms. The designswere also simpler due to limited choice and women mostly wore ordinary garmentssuch as the wartime crêpe dress or atailored suit. However, in the years of prosperity that followed, lace andfeminine shapes were back in vogue. Jackie Kennedy’s ivory tissue silk weddingdress and Grace Kelly’s taffeta and tulle gown remain symbols of elegance untiltoday.

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

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