If you love vintage frocks and you can get to Brissie from now until 19 August, we recommend you make a beeline for Old Government House, where you can see exquisite bridal gowns from costume designer Marion Boyce’s personal collection. Developed in conjunction with QUT, The Bowerbird and the Bride features 45 dresses dating from the 1880s to 1970s, collected by the award-winning designer since her childhood. Combining the pieces with characters and vignettes for each outfit, the exhibition is both history-lesson and storytelling – and we caught up with Marion to find out more…
You’ve collected vintage clothing since your childhood – what inspired this passion?
For as long as I can remember I’ve been drawn to beauty and timeless design. I have such happy childhood memories of listening to stories about family treasures and being able to hold them in my hands.
What do you particularly love about wedding fashion?
Throughout time there’s always been a standard for bridal fashion but no two dresses are ever the same, as the bride’s personal hopes, dreams and aspirations are all tied up her gown. I love wedding fashion because there’s always a story to tell!
In what way does the exhibition tell stories and weave together strands of history?
In this exhibition I’ve tried to broaden the parameters around the bride to include other items around the wedding – the hand-embroidered handkerchief made by a war bride, and given to the groom to keep in his uniform pocket next to his heart (the skills needed to impress ones future mother-in-law!), the bridal nightgown and other things that are stored as family treasures along with the bridal gown.
How has bridal wear changed over the decades?
It’s always influenced by social and economic forces, and it’s fascinating looking back through history and seeing the changing landscape of Australian brides – from cloth abundance to wars and depression – and also the effects of the changing structure of social etiquette.
Would would be your dream vintage find – which piece, or pieces, do you wish you owned?
My dream find would be any object I chanced upon that I found utterly mesmerising – be that even simply a button or a scrap of ribbon!
THE BOWERBIRD AND THE BRIDE TAKES PLACE FROM AT OLD GOVERNMENT HOUSE IN BRISBANE FROM 12 JULY – 19 AUGUST, AND YOU CAN BUY TICKETS HERE.