It is currently hosting an exhibition of historic wedding dresses. Love, Desire and Riches is all about the ‘Fashion for Weddings’ in popular culture.
The development of the fashionable wedding dress and its treatment by key fashion designers of the past century such as English fashion giants Charles Frederick Worth, Norman Hartnell and Vivienne Westwood, America’s legendary Charles James and Vera Wang and French fashion designer Christian Lacroix and the French based John Galliano is significant to the wedding dress and its design evolution.
The show at Rippon Lea spans some 200 years of fashion and collectively the dresses provide a stunning display, reflecting the social status of those newly wed, as well as the superb skills of the workers who fashioned the dresses they wore on their special day.
At Rippon Lea the display includes internationally manufactured haute couture gowns and dresses that have adorned celebrities and princesses on their most special of days.
They were manufactured to the designs of those at the top of their trade.
My favourite was the wedding dress worn by Ethel Florence Quirk (nee Petty) on her wedding day. Pearls have been encrusted all over the panel that covered the façade of the bodice and highlighted the centre of the skirt, the dress being fashioned by Madame Maugas at Paris in 1889.
I didn’t know when I saw it but it turned out that this was the dress that inspired the show as I discovered when later reading the catalogue. As the curator explained the Parisian gown was made and worn at a small church in East St Kilda by a bride of some standing in the community.
There are apparently two dresses by Madame Maugas in the Trust’s costume collection. Madame was renowned as the competition for English Fashion designer Charles Frederick Worth (1825-1895) who both vied for the privilege of creating wonderful clothes for European royalty in their day.
The dresses are on display next to celebrity wedding gowns designed by Australia’s Toni Maticevski for Jennifer Hawkins and by Alex Perry for Kyly Clarke.
They are also next to film and television dresses worn by Kylie Minogue in Neighbours when ‘Charlene married Scott (Jason Donovan), as well as when she was a guest star on the TV favourite, Kath and Kim.
The show has been arranged in context by curator Elizabeth Anya-Petrivna to illustrate the ‘changing face of wedding design through the ages’.
The curator particularly noted some have signs of ageing…a tear along the hem or the train, a solitary lost sequin or beadwork making tulle particularly strain under their weight.
The show is not about ‘perfection’ but about showing off the human story attached to their survival so that we may all glean what we will from viewing them.
The dining room fashioned a la ‘Miss Havisham’ provides the fun part. It comes complete with ‘cobwebs’, highlighting the aborted wedding of a significant character in Charles Dicken’s novel Great Expectations from 1861.
Spring has nearly sprung and all over Australia people will now start looking forward to the light, the sun and the warmth of summer, as well as the joys and celebrations that come with the Xmas holiday season.
As well there will be many ‘spring’ brides looking forward to the happiest day of their lives.
They have spent months enacting the pre-performance rituals for their wedding; including buying the clothes to be worn, the invitations to send and the plans for the day.
To start the season of spring my family is certainly looking forward to such a happy event; the ceremony surrounding the marriage of the eldest of my three sons to the lovely girl of his dreams. Being together as one is really all about give and take.
As twentieth century poet, prophet and philosopher Khalil Gibran so wisely observed …
… And stand together yet not too near together; For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow*
Soul mates and partners for life is what all brides and grooms and same sex couples coming together are both looking forward to being following their wedding.
Although first of all they have to run the gauntlet of pre-wedding nerves and all the emotional feelings of expectation and exultation that lead up to the day of the ceremony.
Why do we do it?
Why do we mark the occasion by dressing up, exchanging vows, feasting together and dancing into the night?
The rituals of tradition surrounding the wedding ceremony are very important in all cultures. They have been an integral part of human societies evolution for thousands of years.
It is all about symbolically performing ‘rites of passage’.
It is also about making a declaration before your personal society of friends, family, close colleagues and interested parties, one that is meant to be meaningful and lasting.
Wow, I can’t believe how fast the time is flying by in 2014!
Here we are again, coming into one of my favourite weeks of the year “Dream Week”.
Here at The Culture Concept one of our chosen charities is Look Good Feel Better.
As many of you may know I also volunteer for this amazing initiative.
This will be my 5th year helping with the workshops.
They are now run nation wide in 180 locations around Australia.
An army of 1500 volunteers brighten the day of around 10,000 participants every year.
Look Good, Feel Better is not just in Australia, but worldwide.
Other countries that have adopted the fantastic …
Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) is a wonderful campaign that gives women with cancer hope. For seven days from 31st August to September 6, 2014, retail stores including David Jones and Myer, as well as publishing industries raise awareness and funds for this worthy cause. Buy a Lippie Girls!
During Dream Week $1 from every lipstick or lip-gloss sold at David Jones and Myer stores, nationally, will be donated to LOOK GOOD…FEEL BETTER Our Fashion Editor Jo Bayley is an active volunteer. She wants you to buy a lippie, pout prettily and snap a selfie next week. then you can post it to instagram, twitter or FaceBook with the hashtag #7daysoflipstick@LGFBAustralia wearing your bold new hues. We urge you to help others with cancer to LOOK GOOD…FEEL BETTER.
Learn more about the program by speaking with one of the many volunteers in the beauty industry who help women battling cancer to LOOK GOOD…FEEL BETTER about themselves while undergoing the rigours and uncertainties of cancer treatment. Here is Jo with the gorgeous author, journalist, blogger, relationship commentator, beauty expert and LGFB advocate Zoe Foster Blake at a Pantene sponsored LGFB workshop in Sydney.
There will be one outpost set up for merchandise sales in Westfield Sydney City. Merchandise includes beautifully designed carry bags, coin purses, makeup bags, bracelets, pins and umbrellas – all inspired by the beautiful floral Dream Week theme. Two information outposts will be set up in Westfield Bondi Junction and Chadstone in Melbourne to allow members of the public to engage with LGFB volunteers.
Social Media supporters are encouraged to show support of the 24-year strong program by engaging followers and fans to get involved in planned campaigns on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Connect with @LGFBAustralia #dreamweek14 LOOK GOOD FEEL BETTER DREAM WEEK 31st August – 6th September, 2014 | DONATE
Carolyn McDowall of The Culture Concept Circle examines rituals of tradition surrounding the marriage ceremony and what they mean to many in the 21st century
National Trust Australia (Victoria) is showcasing 200 years of wedding dresses at Rippon Lea House and Garden representing the bride's dreams of her wedding day
A wedding ceremony is about two people declaring the love they bear each other, while looking forward to making marvelous music and many happy memories together
Melbourne dealer Jamie Allpress has been in the trade since he was 11 years old and will showcase fine antiques and art at Sydney's AA&ADA Antiques Fair, 2014
Ming: 50 Years that Changed China is an important exhibition at the British Museum starting 18th September, 2014, with scholars exploring the period 1400 - 1450