Philip Treacy's creations are star draw at wedding show
HE is the Irish milliner who catapulted hats from 'mother of the bride' on to the catwalks of haute couture.
So there is a little note of irony in the fact that Philip Treacy is one of the focal points of a new exhibition on wedding dresses at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
Amongst the works of the Galwayman featured are the bespoke feathered headdress Treacy created for Camilla Parker Bowles at her wedding blessing to Prince Charles.
Another eye-catching creation is the gold circular hat he designed for socialite Selina Blow for her wedding in 1998 and a stunning antique lace tiara he created in 2008 for his own "right-hand woman", PR officer Nina Farnell-Watson for her wedding to Edward Tryon.
The 'Wedding Dresses 1775- 2014' V&A exhibition features stand-out gowns and fascinators and will run until March 15, 2015.
It features the lace Alexander McQueen wedding gown worn by the Duchess of Cambridge; the sensational purple Vivienne Westwood gown worn by Dita Von Teese for her big day in 2005 and the embroidered duck-egg blue silk dress and coat worn by Camilla for the blessing after her marriage to Prince Charles in 2005 – as well as the feathered headdress Treacy created for her.
But the exhibition does not focus simply on "celeb" weddings of the day. It also focuses on the nuptials of "ordinary" people, with humbler gowns and wedding shoes poignantly preserved by families of long-forgotten brides also part of the display.
Gowns worn by merchants' daughters take their place beside those of flower sellers, as well as a matching suit and dress worn by a Ghanaian couple for their wedding day.
The exhibition also features a double-breasted frock coat worn by Irish gentleman Robert O'Brien Furlong on his big day back in 1871 and the silk embroidered dress Anna Lin Xiaojing wore at her wedding blessing to Patrick Lord Oxmantown in Birr.
Edwina Ehrman, curator of fashion and textiles at the V&A, was responsible for putting together the 239 years of wedding fashion. She explained that she wanted an eclectic mix of veils, bustles and trains.
"I wanted the exhibition to involve ordinary people, not just weddings we've seen before," she said.
The collection traces the changing styles in bridal clothing over the centuries; with pristine white dresses only becoming popular in the 19th Century.
"Wearing white was a status symbol," Ehrman explained.
"When you get to the twentieth Century, white becomes more affordable and so colour like gold becomes more fashionable."