Lowcountry brides, take note. If shopping for the most important dress of your life has left you exhausted and discouraged, you should head over to the Charleston Museum for inspiration.
Unveiled: Wedding Fashion and Traditions in the South, on exhibit through July 10, 2016, is an exhibit of envy-inducing bridal gowns and accessories from the early 19th through the mid-20th centuries. The gowns, drawn primarily from the museum’s permanent collection, were either worn by Lowcountry brides or have some connection to the Lowcountry.
Curator of textiles Jan Hiester has arranged them chronologically, an order that demonstrates how wedding dresses echo the fashions of their times.
Highlights of the exhibit include an 1842-vintage silk damask wedding dress whose exquisite fabric was likely imported from Europe and an ivory silk satin dress from the 1920s with a low scoop neck.
Surprisingly, not every gown is white. A dark purple suit reflects the Victorians’ fascination with new aniline dyes.
Hiester’s favorite? The dress worn by Martha Lilias Kirk on September 25, 1937, at St. Philip’s Church. A lean column of satin with an inverted V waistline and stand-up collar, it could have walked straight off the silver screen. Charleston museum.org, 843-722-2996.