From the collection of the National Museum of Costume in Portugal
The bride would never enter the church or present herself before the guests uncovered in this way. It would be considered a lack of modesty. Gloves were, therefore, an indispensable accessory. Fashion dictated that the collar be very high and straight, up to the chin; small whale bones supported the structure.
The waist is very narrow, a “wasp-waist” as it was designated, from which issues an extraordinarily flounced skirt falling in a bell- shape, as was the fashion at the time.
The whale-boned bodice compresses the waist and pushes the rounded bosom upwards, forming what was called a “turtle dove breast”.
This dress is a Portuguese interpretation of the fashion revolution proposed by the designer Poiret. Although dated slightly later, it follows the innovatory precepts of the line created by that famous and celebrated French Couturier.
This represents a revivalism of the Directory style on the one hand, and on the other a renewal of the silhouette for the figure gains an Empire-like stance , fashionable at the beginning of the XIX century.
Poiret goes back to it with the intention of freeing woman and abolishing the whale boned corset which, apart from being uncomfortable, was vehemently condemned by a small, but influential group of contemporary physicians.
The main characteristic of this wedding dress consists in the way the fabric was laid down to be cut, on the bias.
This technique was invented by the famous French fashion creator Madeleine Vionnet who conceived a type of garment which is fluid, very feminine and malleable, accompanying the curves and counter-curves of woman’s body.
The novelty and originality of this dress lies in the use of a wide pink organza ribbon which draws a strong and thick vertical line.
The innovation in this kind of garment consists in the outward use of an element which was used in the olden days as underwear.
This kind of ribbon and bow were often applied to undergarments and, therefore, this reference, quoted here in daytime wear, signals an inversion or a change of meaning.
In a very unusual initiative this dress was made from a maternal grandmother’s “Belle Epoque” costume, in 1965, well before revivalism became fashionable.
This adventurous composition was idealized by the bride’s mother, transmitting the affection, cultural inheritance and family history in this project. The result is a mixture of contemporary elements and Art-Nouveau ones.
The 70s were marked, simultaneously, by various avant-garde typologies and by the beginning of the revivalism which is associated with the end of the century and, in this case, the millennium.
It is in this context that this dress can be dated to the 1970s. It is a Neo-Romantic piece, for the lace and the silk nervures are evocative of the blouses worn at the beginning of the century.
The immense amplitude of the silk net skirts are very “New Look”, very close to the current neo-Baroque taste. The low cut bodice, held up only by small straps or no straps, leaves the shoulders bare. This was nicknamed “fall, fall” by the boys and was very much the fashion in James Dean’s time as was the bolero, which was a short jacket covering the bare shoulders.
This dress comes from a shop which specializes in bridal gowns and it should be mentioned that nowadays this choice is available to prospective brides. The main feature of this dress lies in the type of sleeve chosen.
It is a revival of the Renaissance sleeve. Between 1820 and 1830 this kind of sleeve made an appearance and this is true of the 1980s in this century.
Manuel Alves/José Manuel Gonçalves introduced into this exhibition a very hermetic colour, related to the 1950s This tonality emits the intensity and the density of cement and concrete architecture mixed with the blond patina of certain old bronzes
This evocation is possible due to a perfect, masterful cut, a feeling of idyllic summers, an image which belongs to the Happy Years when capitalism reigned and conquered, a time of financial abundance.
Nuno Gama is the great name of the 90s, belonging to a cultural avant-garde and specially aware of values relating to national identity.
This young author present a bride dressed in satin, wearing a costume composed of a rather long coat worn with trousers. These are a heritage from Courrèges, the French designer who, in 1965, substituted skirts by trousers in his fashion shows.
This garment is also affiliated to the famous Yves Saint Laurent smoking with an added decorative touch.
Olga Rego proposal is related to the value of our national patrimony in textiles, for example the Island of Madeira and her characteristic embroideries. To create a bride with the typical Madeira embroideries was the challenge Olga Rego set herself here and the result was a costume in which the originality lies in its transparency.
The vision offered to us is of an intimate garment which is, on second thought, an outer one composed by shorts and by a corset with an innocent flavour, recalling the 20s underwear fashion. As we can observe, the result is almost provocative and naughty, daring us to look. The visual impact is very romantic, an effect which is accentuated by the width of the sleeves.
José António Tenente lent to the National Costume Museum a wedding dress made in a coloured fabric. The colour chosen is difficult to describe, since it can be seen as a pastel yellow evocative of the tonalities used by Watteau, which is to say related to the late Baroque values, the creme tones used in the Rococo style. Beige can be associated with white tonalities which have yellowed with time.
The fabric chosen is the one used during the 1930s for the confection of hats. The fashion designer created a very feminine bride - in this case a professional photographer. The fluttering quality of the material links this dress with the ballroom dances of the nineteenth century, where it would have whirled to the sound Strauss’s waltzes.
Texts: Madalena Braz Teixeira
Translation: Márcia de Brito
Online exhibition: Cândida Caldeira
Collection: National Costume Museum in Portugal
- PORTUGAL. Museu Nacional do Traje; TEIXEIRA, Madalena Braz Teixeira; trad. Márcia de Brito - Traje de Noiva : 1800-2000. Lisboa : Museu Nacional do Traje, 1996. ISBN 972-8137-52-4
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