From corseted 1830"s waists to 1970"s billowing sleeves: How wedding dresses have evolved through the ages

From corseted 1830's waists to 1970's billowing sleeves: How wedding dresses have evolved through the ages

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UPDATED:

01:44 GMT, 26 July 2012

From gold silk and tiny waistlines, to flowing white chiffon, the picture of a bride's ultimate wedding dress has changed dramatically over the last 150 years.

Showcasing the changing face of wedding gowns worn by American brides since 1830, a new exhibition, Tying the Knot: Cleveland Wedding Fashions, displays vastly differing bridal trends covering more than a century.

From a 1879 dress made for socialite Alice Wade Everett, designed by famed French couturier Charles Frederick Worth; 1920's flapper dresses, the exhibit includes both the brides' traditional dresses and lingerie.

1840's gown made from gold silk

1970's gown made with bric-abrac ribbon trim and daises from Bergdorf Goodman

Comparing centuries: A 1840's gown made from gold silk (left), sits next to a soft 1970's Bergdorf Goodman gown made with bric-a-brac ribbon trim and daises (right)

Senior registrar Danielle Peck told News Channel 5 of Mrs Wade Everett's
feature gown: 'It
is just exquisite. The fabric, the cut, the details, pearl insets, it's a
very complicated piece and just gorgeous to see,' she added.

Highlighting the tiny waistlines, and the many layers that helped create a particular silhouette, one
dress stands alongside an elaborate combination of undergarments –
including what was called a 'lobster tail,' a stiff foundation attached
to the corset waist that lifted the back of the dress to create a full
silhouette.

'We call it sort of a precursor to J-Lo, laughed Ms Peck.

1860's ivory cotton gown

1870's green gown with asymmetrical skirt and fringe

Time travel: A cotton undergarment from 1860 which was worn under the final wedding gown (left), like this 1870's green dress with an asymmetrical skirt and fringe (right)

1880's ivory gown with diamond shaped puffing on the front skirt

1890's grey silk with puffed sleeves

Heavy silk: An 1880's ivory gown with diamond shaped puffing on the front skirt (left), hangs next to a 1890's grey silk dress with puffed sleeves (right)

Contrastingly, a 1920's silver lame
dress with crystals and sequins dazzles, is another, very different,
example of the hand sewn details in the collection.

'Women had excellent seamstresses
and they just made one of a kind pieces, maybe based on current fashion
trends from New York that made their way to the Western Reserve,' added Ms
Peck.

She said what stands out is 'the detail, and how well
these gowns have held up – some of them for over a century.'

Royal brides before Queen Victoria did not typically wear white, instead choosing heavy brocaded gowns embroidered with white and silver thread, with American brides wearing colours including green, blue and yellow, and practical colors like black, brown, or gray.

1900's gown of ivory silk with a high lace collar

1920's short beaded gown

Sharp contrast: The striking difference between a 1900's gown of ivory silk with a high lace collar (left), and 1920's short beaded gown (right) just two decades later

1930's velvet gown with an extra long train

1940's ivory gown with a floral pattern

20th century romance: A 1930's velvet gown with an extra long train (left) contrasts with this Grace Kelly-style 1940's ivory gown with a floral pattern (right)

1950's short white tulle gown

1960's white lace long-sleeve dress

Modern-day vintage: A 1950's short white tulle gown (left) and a 1960's white lace long-sleeve dress (right)

Wedding photographs, invitations and gifts are also displayed in the exhibit, like the souvenir cake box from the wedding of a U.S. president.

A custom Tiffany box containing a
slice of wedding cake, which was presented to bridesmaid Julia Walworth
Severance of Cleveland in the high profile wedding of Frances Folsom and
President Grover Cleveland, held at the White House in Washington on
June 2, 1886.

Tying
the Knot: Cleveland's Wedding Fashions, 1830 – 1980 is on display at
the Western Reserve Historical Society until February 14, 2013