Carefully packed into custom-made crates, the exhibition Unveiled: 200 Years of Wedding Fashion from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, has departed Melbourne for Wellington by sea. In the meantime, its been all go in Te Papa’s Textile Store with the arrival of our New Zealand commissions – or at least two of them. One is still in the throes of being made. While the gown is looking amazing, our designer is looking somewhat worse for wear as she sews into the night, night after night.
It has been wonderful seeing the designs metamorphasise from drawings into highly tactile and three dimensional objects. Of course, there have been a few changes along the way – both creative and practical. Needless to say there have also been a few surprises, including a bonus pair of shoes and some rather dangerous looking gloves courtesy of WORLD, who have channeled the lively spirit of Surrealist designer, Elsa Schiaparelli. Indeed, in a recent interview Francis Hooper of WORLD stated: ‘Te Papa the client is freaky’ – freaky obviously right down to our fingertips.
Francis Hooper, WORLD
Emphatically declaring that ‘all brides should have crystals on their wedding dresses’, Hooper the WORLD team have painstakingly hand applied, one by one, well over 14,000 Swarovski crystals onto Te Papa’s garments! It is in the unpacking and handling of these garments, that you really begin to appreciate the sheer amount of labour that goes into them.
In comparison to WORLD’s freaky bride, well known bridal designer Jane Yeh has created a pure Cinderella moment for Te Papa. Once the dimensions of the skirt came in, we had to double the size of the plinth! Her chantilly lace gown is adorned with hand made flowers and butterflies, one of which gently perches on the bride’s head, completing the delicate veil.