Iconic wedding dresses of the ’50s
Celebrating the end of WWII and the much-anticipated lift in rationing, the 1950s saw a significant new era of experimental and soon-to-be iconic bridal fashion. This age is still a source of inspiration for dressmakers today.
Hooped skirts and corsets were popularised, creating exaggerated feminine waistlines and silhouettes. The shorter tea-length gown was introduced. This meant that wedding dresses of the 50’s were often paired with glamorous footwear that could be showcased.
For a greater idea of what the 1950s brought to the dynamic evolution of the wedding dress, and the women who sported them, keep reading…
Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, 1953
Jacqueline Bouvier’s marriage to J.F Kennedy was the social event of the season. It was attended by more than 800 guests and featured 2000 fans outside hoping to catch a glimpse of the happy couple.
Just a week before the big day, Jackie’s original wedding dress was famously destroyed in a studio flood. As a result, her mother turned to her own wedding dress creator. The little-known African-American designer produced Jackie’s gown for the small price of $500.
The New York-based designer Ann Lowe, created a bouffant-style ivory silk taffeta gown with a portrait neckline. The dress also featured tiny wax flowers embroidered throughout and an exaggerated skirt.
Even after her iconic design, Ann Lowe was never fully credited for the gown.
The dress was a common design for the time, and Jackie later admitted that she wasn’t a fan of the traditional silhouette, and would rather have had something more simple and slim line.
Audrey Hepburn, 1954
Upon her marriage to Mel Ferrer on 25 September 1954, Hepburn wore a statement ballerina-length gown designed by fashion house Pierre Balmain.
An iconic bridal gown for the 1950’s bride, this tea-length dress set a trend across the globe.
The demure yet playful dress featured balloon sleeves paired with elbow length gloves, and a unique stand up Peter Pan collar.
The gowns teeny-tiny satin sash waist drew attention to Hepburn’s petite figure, the perfect choice for the innocent, doe-eyed movie star. Instead of a veil or tiara, she wore a gorgeous halo of fresh flowers in her hair.
Audrey’s wedding dress in the film ‘Funny Face’, alongside Fred Astaire was perhaps one of the most iconic bridal looks of the era however.
The full skirt contained layers of tulle and the fitted sleeveless bodice was feminine and dainty. The Givenchy dress featured a Sabrina neckline and was finished off with an elegant veil.
Grace Kelly, 1956
Grace Kelly’s April 1956 wedding to Prince Rainer III of Monaco saw her wear what became one of the most iconic wedding dresses of the decade, and arguably of all time.
Made from over 400 yards of fabric including silk taffeta, antique rose-point lace and pearls, the dress took six weeks to create by three dozen seamstresses.
Designed by Helen Rose of MGM studios, the gown was a gift for Grace.
The dress was actually broken down into 10 intricate parts. It featured a tightly fitted bodice, ruched silk, and hundreds of tiny seed pearls that were hand sewn.
A famous A-list movie star, her bespoke circular veil ensured her face was as visible as possible.
Grace Kelly’s gown has inspired brides for over 50 years, most recently emulated by Kate Middleton for the 2011 Royal Wedding.
Brigitte Bardot, 1959
The inventor of the off-the-shoulder neckline – now known as the Bardot neckline. Brigitte Bardot popularised the most outrageous fashion trends of the time including the beehive hairstyle, the bikini and winged eyeliner.
Walking down the aisle a total of four times personally and six times on screen, she has a number of infamous bridal looks.
Her first marriage to Roger Vadim in December 1952 saw her adorning a demur high collared, long sleeved, floor length gown with elaborate veil.
The gown for her second marriage to actor Jacques Charrier in 1959 was remembered for its informality. Bardot wore a pink gingham A-line dress with a nipped in waist – a bridal look replicated for years to come.
We hope these iconic 1950’s wedding dresses and idols, has sparked your imagination if you are still searching for your dream bridal gown.
Take a look at the range of fabulous bridal boutiques in your local area that we have listed on our website.