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The Middle Ages. In farming families, most young women wore their usual Sunday dress.
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The Middle Ages. For royal weddings, like this one of Charles IV in 1322, the bride wore a dress trimmed with white ermine, a fur reserved for royal wear.
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The Renaissance. The dress was inspired by the fashion of the times. The train disappeared. The dresses were cut in heavy materials like velvet, often embroidered with silver or gold, accompanied with a hoop.
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Baroque. Brides favored long pale dresses made from delicate fabrics and lace. A royal bride would wear a blue cape to cover her shoulders, a sign of royalty, seen in the marriage of Louis of France and Marie-Adélaïde of Savoy in 1697.
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Under the First Empire. Wedding dresses echoed the trends of the era, with clean lines and a fluid cut gathered under the chest, often with puffed sleeves, a tiara, and a long train.
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Under the First Empire. The empire dress was often accessorized with golden patterns, a necklace and a tiara, as an essential part of the hairstyle.
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19th Century. From 1840, the dress grew in importance due to influential people of the time, such as Queen Victoria, whose long "princess" cut dress, with long train and bare shoulders, still influences brides today.
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19th Century. Sissi in her Victoria inspired "princess dress" with ornate embroidery and hair accessorized with stars and diamonds.
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End of 19th century. The Countess of Paris, Marie-Isabelle d'Orléans, in 1864. The robes became more sober, and brides wore a veil or a crown of flowers. The color white became definitively institutional in the West.
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The 1920s. The roaring twenties saw dresses with lace, embroidery, and shortened hems. Patterns were graphic, inspired by Art Deco. Tiaras, bandeaux, and feathers finished the look, as in the marriage of Mr. Rothschild with Miss Dupont.
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World War II. Dresses were minimalist due to a shortage of fabric. Women often bought suits they could wear again. A short dress was therefore most often in demand.
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The 1950s. The fairytale dress of Grace Kelly, as she married Prince Rainier, took 36 designers many weeks to create. Encapsulating elegance, the silk and lace tulip dress remains an inspiration for brides today.
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The 1950s. Audrey Hepburn's dress also became legendary, thanks to the tasteful Balmain design. The calf-length organdy dress proved that there was a place for this shorter version in the bridal catalog.
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After the 1980s. After the hippie fashions of the 60s and 70s, the wedding dress found its splendor once more, such as the elegant one worn by Kate Middleton on her wedding day, with detailed lace work.
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