Friday, December 25, 2009

Friday Review*: I Do: 100 Years of Wedding Dresses

I don't have images, so enjoy Toulmouche's The Reluctant Bride, who looks more like the 'Seriously pissed off Bridezilla' to me

What it is:

An exhibition of wedding dresses at Expressions, Upper Hutt's Arts and Entertainment Centre, with dresses spanning the period from 1875 - 2006.

Remember how I spent a lovely day a few months ago looking at wedding dresses? Well, these are them, and now you can see them yourself (as long as you are in the Wellington region).

The Good:

It's an exhibition about wedding dresses? What could not be good?

Beyond the instant appeal of the topic, the exhibition is beautifully designed and curated.

The selection of dresses is inspired, reflecting both the most popular and common dress trends of each era, and a few brides who broke with the trends and chose very unique and individual dresses.

The visual design is lovely: dresses are grouped by period, with each having enough space to stand alone, without feeling isolated. A few special dresses stand on individual plinths, allowing the visitor to see them from all angles, and keeping them from competing with the other dresses.

The centre of the room is occupied by the most extravagant and over the top dress in the exhibition: a 'princess bride on acid' confection of gold silk, gold lace, embroidery, applique, lacing, ribbons, bows and matching accessories which could have overwhelmed the exhibition, but is carefully placed to complement rather than swamp the other dresses.

The whole room is tied together with panels of romantic floral wallpaper and ribbons of plain wallpaper, presenting the entire exhibition as a present to be slowly opened.

The Bad:

The bad is that I don't have photographs (yet), but you can see a lovely article with a photograph here and TVNZ did a little short on it with three gorgeous dresses in their Breakfast programme.

(You just have to get through 2 minutes and 20 seconds of randomness involving a 6 foot tall texting rabbit first, and restrain yourself from trying to reach through the screen and give the newsreader a smack when she grabs one of the dresses.)

The Ugly:

Some of the dresses aren't quite to everyone's taste.

But that is good too, because there is something to appeal to everyone, from the minimalist to the maximalist, from the traditionalist to the uber avante-garde.

(oh, c'mon, you didn't actually think I was going to say "Well, this one dress with the green bows is just beyond hideous", did you?)

The so good it is bad:

Do I need to say? With all those gorgeous dresses I want to get married again! (to the same person of course). And everyone who attends is going to go slightly dewey-eyed and wedding mad for a little bit.

The other so good is that there are going to be floor talks on Sunday the 13th from 2-3 and Thursday the 17th December from 10.30-11.30 by a local costume historian, and I hear they are going to be very good (I hope!). Maybe I'll see you there?

*I know this is a bit late for a Friday Review, but this exhibition isn't on for very long, and is so utterly lovely, that I want to give you as much of a chance as possible to see it!

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