The white wedding dress as we know it today is actually a fairly modern fashion “invention”. Take a look at any painting from the middle ages or the Renaissance and the chance of you seeing a woman wearing white on her big day is close to zero.

Today’s traditional shade of white (associated with purity and virginity) only became popular in the 19th century, thanks to the trend setting Queen Victoria.

Queen Victoria broke the status quo at her 1840 wedding when she daringly wore a lacy, ivory-colored silk satin gown, opting for an orange blossom wreath over a crown to adorn her head. Now that’s what I call a women who was ready to make her impact!

Photo: Mondadori/Getty Images.

As one can image, the social “media” of the time , the Women’s magazines, embraced the look and translated it as one of  innocence and simplicity, calling white “the most fitting hue” for a bride, and from then on the rest is history.

Before that, many women were married wearing an array of colours.

White was a rarity, and was reserved for the very wealthy or royalty. There were no such things a drycleaners or washing machines, to retain a white gown meant a considerable $$$$ was required to keep it looking that way.

While trends have always been a big factor in bridal fashion, politics and current affairs sometimes affected these trends in more ways you can imagine. During World Wars I and II for example, resources were limited, so brides sometimes wore gowns made of parachute silk or nylon, how is that for being innovative?

Pictured center above is a  wedding dress  made from nylon parachute belonging to Major Claude Hensinger for his wedding to Ruth. Instead of a ring,  Hensinger used the nylon parachute that saved his life during World War II to propose to Ruth. He told her that it was the parachute that saved his life and asked her to make a wedding gown out of it. Ruth made the skirt herself and hired Hilda Buck, a local seamstress, to make the bodice and veil. How is that for a love story?

(image via The Vintage News )

Through the test of time, the white (or ivory) wedding dress, popularised by Queen Victoria has endured, carrying with it a romantic nostalgia, and perhaps it’s because it is  still  a colour rarely worn in daily life (probably because its a nightmare to keep clean. Coffee any one!)

The style of the wedding dress however has changed dramatically through the ages and will continue to moving forward.

There was the 1950’s introduction to the classic sweetheart neckline, popularised by Elizabeth Taylor.

1960’s saw the retro with the introduction of the sheath and mini dress,  puffy veils also made an entrance.

The 80’s, well, nothing can beat the one and only Princess Diana, her gown epitomised the 80’s, puff sleeves and a whole lot of dress. Not unlike Queen Victoria in her days, Diana led the way through the decade to inspire many a bride. The grand, big ballgown became vogue again.

Then we came to the 2000’s, shades of white still very much around but with the influence of social media and celebrities, a rise in “nude” gowns became on trend, though we think Cher had something on that a while back.

Bridal will continue to evolve and transform,  spurred on by global trends entwined along with the social and global mindset and the influences of celebrities, royals and public figures through social media. One thing that will most likely remain and be here to stay –  white or a shade of, reinvented to reflect the times whether it be minimalist, opulent, classic and the list goes on.

Now more than ever, (western) brides have a choice, they can wear white and still remain classic or contemporary, they can wear colour, metallic and be unique dressing to their own style, whatever their choice, the one thing that remains the same is the desire by most brides for the bridal dress to stand out as a piece of clothing, a gown of status and individuality, no bride wants to look like the other, rather make their own impact in their own style, whether its a white gown, gold gown or somewhere in between.

The white wedding dress is here to stay, transform and be reinvented, but only to be joined, not challenged by an array of technicolour options.

Cassandra – Guipurean