Wedding Dress

1934 (designed)
Wedding Dress thumbnail 1
Wedding Dress thumbnail 2
+7
images
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Miss Baba Beaton wore this dress when she married Mr Alec Hambro on 6 November 1934. It is an early example of the work of the designer Charles James. It anticipates later developments in his style, particularly his approach to complex cut. The beauty of the design lies in its deceptive simplicity and the designer's complete understanding of the potential of the fabric. Darts and seams shape the smooth ivory satin, which clings and drapes around the body in order to enhance the graceful figure. James said, 'all my seams have meaning - they emphasise something about the body'.

Although he was born in Britain, James worked as a milliner and custom dressmaker in New York between 1924 and 1929. In 1929 he opened premises in London. During the early 1930s he travelled extensively between London and Paris, establishing a Paris branch in 1934. Like Elsa Schiaparelli he was a friend of the Surrealist painter Salvador Dalí and made use of Surrealist influences in his designs.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Brief Description
Wedding dress of silk satin, designed by Charles James, England, 1934.
Physical Description
Wedding dress of ivory-cream silk satin, with high neckline and long tight sleeves. The fabric is bias cut, the torso elaborately seamed and darted to sculpt the smooth satin to fit the body beneath closely. The skirt of the dress extends into a long train which extends into two separate double-points of satin. Spray of wax orange-blossom worn at the neck.
Dimensions
  • Waist circumference: 66cm
  • Bust circumference: 84cm
  • Diaphragm circumference: 68cm
  • Overall length: 150cm
  • To waist length: 40cm
  • Centre back width: 40cm
  • Shoulder to shoulder width: 42cm
  • Sleeve, over length: 62cm
  • Sleeve, under length: 52cm
  • Hips circumference: 80cm
  • Wrist circumference: 18cm
Production typeHaute couture
Gallery Label
Dress with orange-blossom choker Charles James (1906-78) London 1934 To marry Alec Hambro, Baba (Barbara) Beaton commissioned a dress from Charles James. The young designer created a very modern interpretation of the white wedding dress with a raised neckline and divided train. Although the bride wanted a quiet wedding, it was widely reported because of her high-profile social life. The photographer Cecil Beaton was her brother. Dress: silk satin Choker: wax, cloth and paper Given and worn by Mrs Alec Hambro for her wedding, 6 November 1934 V&A: T.271&A-1974(2011)
Credit line
Given by Mrs Alec Hambro
Object history
Worn by Miss Barbara "Baba" Beaton, the sister of Cecil Beaton, when she married Mr. Alec Hambro on 6 November 1934.
Associations
Summary
Miss Baba Beaton wore this dress when she married Mr Alec Hambro on 6 November 1934. It is an early example of the work of the designer Charles James. It anticipates later developments in his style, particularly his approach to complex cut. The beauty of the design lies in its deceptive simplicity and the designer's complete understanding of the potential of the fabric. Darts and seams shape the smooth ivory satin, which clings and drapes around the body in order to enhance the graceful figure. James said, 'all my seams have meaning - they emphasise something about the body'.



Although he was born in Britain, James worked as a milliner and custom dressmaker in New York between 1924 and 1929. In 1929 he opened premises in London. During the early 1930s he travelled extensively between London and Paris, establishing a Paris branch in 1934. Like Elsa Schiaparelli he was a friend of the Surrealist painter Salvador Dalí and made use of Surrealist influences in his designs.
Bibliographic Reference
Fashion : An Anthology by Cecil Beaton. London : H.M.S.O., 1971158
Collection
Accession Number
T.271-1974

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record createdDecember 15, 1999
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