★ I just love this beautiful portrait photo entitled ‘The Bride’ by Harry Upperton Knight (1920), not only for its beauty but for the fascinating glimpse it offers of post-WWI wedding attire. An undoubtedly beloved outfit, the bride’s ensemble has some interesting details which place it firmly at a fashion crossroads – with the waning influence of opulent ‘Gilded Age’ designs on one hand, and the move toward the daring, simpler silhouettes of the ‘Jazz Age’ on the other.
With her elbow length gloves, ankle length skirt and cathedral length train, the bride’s overall ‘look’ is still very much rooted in the styles of the late-Edwardian era, with the draped tunic (in a softly patterned fabric?) over the longer underskirt having remained an immensely popular style throughout the 1910s. Some of the details also hark back to earlier fashions, with both her over-skirt and her train being adorned with opulent beaded tassels, which had long been popular features of many of the era’s evening dresses. However, with the loose fitting barrel shape and drop waist of the dress, the gradual transition to the free and easy fashions of the 1920s is apparent. Her veil too is particularly interesting, as it appears she has chosen to eschew the then-popular Juliet cap in favour of a more modern close-fitting cloche with a small peak. Decorated with a band of flowers above the brim, the chapel length veil seems to have some delicate floral elements, which were likely hand-embroidered onto the tulle rather than woven in.
So, there it is – a quick look at a bride and her wedding dress. Unknowingly caught between two highly distinct style eras, she did what countless other brides have done, and still do – she combined elements from both past and future styles, and forged them into in a heady concoction of silk, tulle and tassels that now shows so clearly the gradual progression of fashion. If only the focus was a little sharper and the details a little clearer, then we could have seen this beautiful bride in all her sunlit, era-spanning glory…