College of Design

Goldstein Museum of Design


Wedding Dress Stories from the Goldstein (Part III of III)

White wedding dresses are considered traditional ceremonial garments symbolizing the bride's purity and innocence. Despite this deep-seated association with "tradition," wedding dresses are highly susceptible to fashion trends. In the late 1920s, Parisian couturier Madeline Vionnet introduced the world to the bias cut dress.The resulting dresses - long, sinuous, and silky - captured the imagination of European and American consumers, solidifying the bias cut's status as the most recognizable silhouette of the 1930s. This blog explores the iconic bias cut wedding dress, beginning with a lovely example from the GMD's collection.


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Above: Wedding dress and veil, 1931. Gift of Carolyn Spater Latz 1996.057.001a-b


Minneapolis bride Marion Henrietta Goldberg's ivory silk wedding dress heralded the beginning of a new decade. Designed to flatter her curves, the innovative use of fabric direction created dramatic art deco angles at both the neckline and hips. Elegant ivory lace softened the crisply geometric neckline and added a demure touch to this slinky, sexy wedding dress.


Trendsetting Marion, pictured above, paired her dress with a lace Juliet cap and cathedral-length tulle veil. She carried an enormous cascading bouquet of white roses, garnished with masses of lacy ferns, gauzy bows, and floor-length silk ribbons tied in lover's knots. This type of bouquet is a holdover from the 1920s, when voluminous bouquets were favored by bold, androgynous flappers wearing short, boxy dresses.


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Above: Images from "It Happened One Night," 1934
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Just three years later, a similar dress appeared in the 1934 film, It Happened One Night. American actress Claudette Colbert donned a white silk bias-cut gown with embellished scoop neckline, Juliet cap, and dramatic tulle veil. The veil steals the show in a pivotal scene where Colbert's character, Ellie Andrews, realizes she is about to marry the wrong man. She runs off to reunite with Clark Gable's character Peter Warne, her long veil streaming along behind her.


Natasha Thoreson
GMD Collections Assistant



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