The evolution of wedding dresses


wedding dresses
Looking back at the history of wedding dresses, we can confirm that, already in ancient times this celebrated outfit had a significant importance, as it symbolically represented the economic power and the prestige of the future husband’s family, as well as a hallmark of social belonging.

Wedding dresses from to origin

In ancient Rome, marriage was seen as a sort of social promotion. The future unions were arranged when bride and groom were still children to ensure strong family and economic ties. The bride's dress was a white tunic, received as a gift from her parents, closed by the so called “Hercules knot”. Brides’ hair were combed in six braids and wore a flower crown of lilies, wheat, rosemary and myrtle (symbols of purity, fertility, virility and long life); to adorn the wedding gown they added a long veil of a yellow saffron colour which could only be removed the day after the consummation of the marriage. This symbolized the Vesta fire, the goddess who protected the house. From the XI century, the Church recognizes the marriage a deeper social and religious bond. It turned it into a sacred ceremony and consolidates its authority over this institution. The wedding dress in this period did not follow precise rules: the bride usually wore the most beautiful dress that the family could afford. It came in warm, bright colours, becoming the highlight of an elegant wardrobe. The first documented wedding dress in history is that of Princess Philippa, daughter of Henry IV of England, who married Erik of Denmark in 1406. Her wedding dress consisted in a luxurious robe with a white silk coat adorned with vair and ermine fur. The use of a train to adorn the wedding gown only appears in the sixteenth century and has remained one of the essential and classic elements for most of bridal gowns. Train had also a social implication at that time: the longer is the train, the wealthier is the family. In the seventeenth century, a period characterized by deep religious lacerations, weddings become more intimate and private, while in the eighteenth century weddings are all about opulence. Wedding dresses were embellished with floral decorations, frocks, waistcoats and silk or satin culottes. With the French Revolution, it was born the so-called Empire-style dress, of French origin. It’s a new kind of garment, cut right under the breast from which the skirt falls softly, in order to hide hips and waist. Colours are soft and neutral, from white to pastel nuances. The modern wedding dress, as we know it today, was born around the thirties of the twentieth century: white, long, with a veil and a bouquet of flowers. Some brides like to take some risks by choosing red gowns or short dresses. What’s important is that they can choose freely, in order to feel comfortable and in their own skin during the most important day of their life.
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