V&A Wedding Dresses @ National Museum of Singapore

A wedding dress conjures an image of romance and fairy tale and plays an undeniable role in commemorating the "big" day. Historically, its design also mirror the economic and social conditions of the time. The Wedding Dress: 200 Years of Wedding Fashion from the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, a new exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore, retraces the story of the British wedding dress through the years, showcasing the significant transformation in style and interpretation this garment has seen.

Gwen Stefani and Dita Von Teese wedding dresses
  Amongst the 80 artefacts are 36 wedding dresses, including lavish gowns designed by some of the biggest names in international fashion, such as Norman Hartnell, John Galliano, Vivienne Westwood and Vera Wang.

In the early 19th century Britain, white was just becoming established as the fashionable choice for wealthy brides. However most women, particularly those on low incomes, wore coloured fabrics, particularly because they would try to "recycle" their wedding dresses for special occassions .

Silk gauze wedding dress, British 1874

Queen Victoria led the "white" trend and white bridal garments start to be described as traditional rather than just fashionable. The bridegroom’s outfit became darker and more standardised.

Embroidered silk wedding dress by Charles Frederick Worth, 1880

The early 1900s see the emergence of styles that were inspired by historical costumes, where women sought to create a distinctive identity from other women. This era sees the rise of couturiers like Norman Hartnell and Charles Frederick Worth, who sets up his couture house in Paris .
Beaded lace wedding dress designed by Aida Woolf, 1914

The Society Wedding: 1920s – 1930s shines the spotlight on weddings in Britain’s high society after the First World War, where much media attention was given in the form of photographs and gossip columns.

Embroidered silk satin weddgin dress designed by Norman Hartnel, 1933
Wedding dress and coars designed by John Bates for his label Jean Varon, 1966
Vera Wang, 2007