For the first time in over thirty years, the charming Georgian house of Platt Hall in Manchester will be hosting a bridal fashion exhibition, covering the wide ranging fashion choices of brides over the past one hundred years and the stories behind the dresses.

An array of dresses worn by British brides over the past century will be displayed alongside their contemporary wedding portraits, drawn from the Gallery’s extensive collections and aims to explore the personal choices made by the brides who wore the gowns, from those who chose to marry in a traditional white wedding dress to those who chose to challenge the norm and attend their special day in something more unconventional.

Eighteen unique wedding dresses will be displayed as part of Something Blue, together with portraits of each bride wearing the gown on her wedding day. The stories of how each bride came to choose each particular dress will also be told in fascinating narratives that accompany the exhibits.

The brides themselves came from backgrounds as diverse as the dresses and include a mill worker and a woman who was serving in the air force at the time of her marriage. The exhibition also includes the wedding dresses of art world figures Kathleen Soriano (judge on Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year) and Maria Balshaw (Director of Manchester City Galleries and the Whitworth Art Gallery). Also incorporate within the show, are two dresses by Manchester designer Jean Jackson.

Many of the dresses on display originated from Manchester or the surrounding area, with the earliest wedding dress dating from 1914 and having been donated by Annie Appleton, a mill worker from nearby Todmorden, who married the day after the outbreak of The Great War.

The exhibition will be displaying the dresses in two periods. Dresses from 1914-1958 will be displayed in the rococo dining room, with dresses from 1961-present day displayed in the main exhibition room. Changes in styles materials and fashion trends will be illustrated from a more traditional dress of the 1940’s that, due to rationing of materials, was creatively sewn from parachute silk, to the modern suits and shorter dresses that were favoured by some brides in the 1960’s.

Aiming to show the creativity and personal choices made by British brides over the last hundred years, as well as offering an insight into the preparations made for their special day (from those who had been planning it for years to last minute haircuts and sale rail dresses!), Something Blue should be an enchanting exhibition and well-worth a visit.

The floral arrangements for the exhibition have been provided by Manchester-based florist, Frog Floral Artistry.


Something Blue: Wedding Dresses – 1914 – 2014
Gallery of Costume, Platt Hall, Manchester
1st August 2014 – 15th March 2015
Open Monday-Friday, 1-5pm. Saturday and Sunday, 10am–5pm.
Tel: 0161 245 7245