"Becoming Victoria"

I am honoured and excited to have been invited by the Llandrindod Wells Victorian Festival committee to appear as a young Queen Victoria at this year's festival from 22nd-28th August 2016. In preparation for this role I will be designing and making the costumes for the young queen over the coming months. These will be authentic reproductions of the fashions of the early years of Victoria's reign and will include a range of 1840s women's garments from corsets and petticoats to day dresses, ball gowns and bonnets. This blog will document and share my progress as I research, design and stitch each element to reveal the secrets of "Becoming Victoria".

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Wedding Dress Inspiration

27 days to go...

I have spent the last few days working on my evening and ball gown for Queen Victoria.

I decided to base this dress on Victoria's wedding dress and the gown will also be worn during the festival for the Pageant of Queen Victoria's life which will include her wedding.

Queen Victoria's Wedding Dress, 1840(MoL D325 a & b, Royal Collection)
The original dress is made of Spitalfield's silk. It was originally creamy white but has discoloured over time and is now a darker shade of cream. The dress has a pleated skirt and a separate bodice. The bodice has a very pronounced point at the waist and is decorated with Honiton bobbin lace. The skirt was also originally trimmed with a wide Honiton lace flounce.

Close up of Queen Victoria in Sir George Hayter's painting, "The Marriage of Queen Victoria", 1842. The Royal Collections. Image found here

My dress will be made in a creamy coloured moiré fabric. This is darker than the original shade of the dress but is in fact quite close to how the dress appears now. The skirt is pleated like the original wedding dress and I have adapted the bodice pattern I used for my other two dress to feature a deeper point at the front and a double puff sleeve. The gown will be trimmed with lace, although unfortunately nothing quite as extravagant and beautiful as the original Honiton lace.

The dress is not an exact replica but more of a homage to the wedding dress which also reflects some of the other dresses worn by Victoria for famous portraits. Some of these may have in fact been her wedding dress but is interesting to note that many of the paintings which depicted this dress were not true to the actual garment itself. Nevertheless, despite the differences between the paintings and engravings produced and published at the time, I have tried to stay true to the uncluttered line and simplicity of the original which provoked a new fashion for wedding gowns.

In this 1842 portrait by Winterhalter the Queen appears to be wearing her wedding gown - however, the sleeves and the lace frill appear shorter than on the original dress itself and the lace is missing from the cuffs. (Image found here)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to share your comments and questions here