Fashion Design thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Fashion Design

early 1962 (drawn)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This pencil sketch is a design by Wendy Ramshaw (b.1939) for her wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses. She married David Watkins (b.1940) at Christ Church, Sunderland, Co. Durham (now Tyne & Wear) on 12 August 1962. Ramshaw was an admirer of the French film actress Brigitte Bardot (b.1933), and based her sketches on the pink gingham dress by Jacques Esterel (1918-1974) that Bardot wore for her 1959 wedding. The bell-shaped skirt, elbow length sleeves and scoop neckline were still very fashionable in 1962. The bride chose the fabrics for the dresses, and had them made up by a local dressmaker who changed the neckline design to suit the stiff ribbed white fabric chosen, but otherwise followed the sketch closely.

The length of the skirts is interesting. Since the late 1920s traditional white-wedding dresses tended to be long. Although the mid-calf length, or ‘ballerina’ dress became popular in the 1950s, it was quite unusual for dresses to be made shorter. The below-the-knee day-length hemlines on these dresses are quite advanced for 1962. Only a few years later, short, and even mini-length wedding dresses would become increasingly acceptable, although these have never entirely replaced the formal, full-length gown which remains the most typical choice for weddings in the early 21st century.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Pencil drawing on paper
Brief Description
Design for a wedding dress and bridesmaid dress, pencil sketch, Wendy Ramshaw, Britain, 1962.
Physical Description
Pencil drawing depicting a bride and bridesmaid in short dresses with bell-shaped skirts and elbow length sleeves, the skirts ending just below the knee. Two swatches of green ribbon and figured braid are pinned to the drawing at one corner.
Dimensions
  • Width: 13.7cm
  • Height: 17.7cm
Production typeDesign
Credit line
Given by Wendy Ramshaw
Object history
This is the original pencil design for the dress and bridesmaid dresses designed by Wendy Ramshaw for her marriage to David Watkins on 12 August 1962. She had the dresses made up by a local dressmaker, who simplified the necklines as she could not replicate Wendy's neckline design.
Summary
This pencil sketch is a design by Wendy Ramshaw (b.1939) for her wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses. She married David Watkins (b.1940) at Christ Church, Sunderland, Co. Durham (now Tyne & Wear) on 12 August 1962. Ramshaw was an admirer of the French film actress Brigitte Bardot (b.1933), and based her sketches on the pink gingham dress by Jacques Esterel (1918-1974) that Bardot wore for her 1959 wedding. The bell-shaped skirt, elbow length sleeves and scoop neckline were still very fashionable in 1962. The bride chose the fabrics for the dresses, and had them made up by a local dressmaker who changed the neckline design to suit the stiff ribbed white fabric chosen, but otherwise followed the sketch closely.



The length of the skirts is interesting. Since the late 1920s traditional white-wedding dresses tended to be long. Although the mid-calf length, or ‘ballerina’ dress became popular in the 1950s, it was quite unusual for dresses to be made shorter. The below-the-knee day-length hemlines on these dresses are quite advanced for 1962. Only a few years later, short, and even mini-length wedding dresses would become increasingly acceptable, although these have never entirely replaced the formal, full-length gown which remains the most typical choice for weddings in the early 21st century.
Associated Objects
Collection
Accession Number
T.49:3-2010

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record createdSeptember 15, 2010
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