Wedding dress; 1943; 2007/109/1


Wedding dress

About this object

This dress was made by a Milton dressmaker for a wedding in 1943. Despite the restrictions of wartime the bride opted for a traditional white (pale cream) dress. Her dressmaker obliged with a costume that cleverly used self-fabric embellishments to decorate the dress. The fabric itself appears to be a synthetic satin, presumably one of the textiles that was exempt from the rationing regulations. The dress is full-length with a high waist and a skirt that flares out from the waist. The arms are also full-length with the characteristic 1940s padded shoulders. The panels of hand-made ribbon spirals are the main decorative feature; above the waistline, down the length of the sleeves and across the décolletage.

Janet Wood wore this dress when she married Alexander Campbell at the Balclutha Presbyterian church on 24 August 1943. Janet grew up in South Otago but was descended from a pioneer Port Chalmers family, the Thomsons. Her new husband was in the Air Force, serving on the ground staff at Ohakea, and wore his uniform for the ceremony. Janet borrowed a veil from a friend and was supported by two cousins as bridesmaid and flower girl. She died in 2008 aged 91.

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