College of Design

Goldstein Museum of Design

Wedding Dress Stories from the Goldstein (Part I)

The Goldstein Museum of Design continues to expand its digital database. Over the past three years, the GMD has photographed nearly 15% of the collection, or 3000 objects. Among the most spectacular images showcase the Goldstein's collection of wedding dresses.

Though these photos appeal to the eye, they also appeal to the emotions. Long after the wedding has taken place, the dress remains as a document, a collection of memories, dreams, and hopes. The dress is a symbol of transition, a testament to both the bride's personal rite of passage and her participation in the very social ritual of marriage. This blog, first in a series of three, will tell the stories of these wedding dresses.


(Above) Wedding dress, veil, and petticoat, 1962. Gift of Barbara Taylor Anderson 1998.024.001a-c

Crafted from cotton voile and imported Venetian lace, this beautiful 1962 wedding dress would have floated gracefully down the aisle. The gown boasted a "Sabrina" (boatneck) neckline and elbow length sleeves, both trimmed with lace. This same lace formed a continuous panel down the front, creating a rhythmic effect from neck to hem. Tiny covered buttons ran down the back of the bodice and voluminous petticoats gave shape to the full skirt and chapel-length train. A matching bow, trimmed with lace, and a delicate fingertip veil were pinned to the bride's elegant upswept hairdo.

The bride, Barbara Taylor, was intrigued by a newspaper ad featuring the dress. Convinced it was "the one," she purchased it at Harold, a women's specialty store in downtown Minneapolis. Barbara's wedding took place in Rhinelander, a small town in northeastern Wisconsin, in June 1962. She carried a small cascading bouquet of tiny yellow roses, white daisies, and trailing English ivy.


While this stunning gown was worn for a June 1996 wedding in St. Paul, it seems to reference the glamorous 1960s-era dress seen above. A stylized leaf lace motif trims the elbow length sleeves, bodice, and cathedral-length train. The modest square neckline, Jackie Kennedy-esque pillbox hat, and flower-adorned tulle veil complete the 60s look.

A photograph of the bride, Elizabeth O'Brien, shows her looking perfectly polished in a bobbed haircut and pearls, carrying a large cascading bouquet of white lilies, roses, baby's breath, and long ivy vines. The bride was accompanied by three statuesque bridesmaids wearing steel-blue column dresses and matching pumps. The bridesmaids also carried large cascading bouquets comprised of bright pink rose buds, carnations, and blue bells.

(Above) Wedding dress, headpiece, and veil, 1995. Gift of Joan K. O'Brien 2001.073.014a-f

Natasha Thoreson
GMD Collections Assistant


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