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18th and 19th Century



Design Process

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19th Century Bridal Gowns "Simonetta"

turquoise and navy shot silk nineteenth century style historical wedding dress side view of nineteenth century style wedding dress in jade green silk

This commission was for a "proper" nineteenth century style bustle dress, not a mere hint of victorian style. The client was more than happy to wear a bustle frame under the gown, therefore ensuring that her wedding dress would have the appropriate silhouette she hoped for. This bride was inspired by Mina's (Wynona Ryder) costumes from the film, "Dracula". While I had to explain that I cannot legally make a direct copy of a film costume, it is well known in costume circles that this famous red bustle dress was possibly inspired by the Harper's Bazaar engraving, shown below.

Harpers plate bustle frame design options

We used the original costume plate as a design source, while retaining the flavour of the film costume.

fluted hanging cuff at elbow detail of pleated organza trim

To simplify the gown as much as possible - and therefore ensure the bride's comfort all day - the wedding outfit was in three main pieces: a bustle frame (which collapses in on itself on sitting down), the corseted bodice and the
apron fronted/ bustle-backed skirt.

turquoise and gold bustle wedding dress from behind
detail of hand-beaded tassels


the draped bustle.



the draped bustle.



This bride chose a deep turquoise silk dupion, shot with navy blue. The pleated organza trim was individualised to her order. Tassels of tiny beads in toning shades were made by hand to hang off the back of the bodice. Alternative trims can be applied to the same basic shape.
Please contact for individual estimates on similar gowns.

Many thanks to Simone and her photographer for the beautiful photos of her wedding day.(

 Simonetta Victorian Wedding Gown Copyright © 2008 Theresa Blake. All Rights Reserved.