Friday, April 5, 2013

I Do!

When I walked into the Pasadena Museum of History and made a right turn into the exhibit room, I gasped.

I'm not going to show you what I saw because you need to see it for yourself.

The current exhibit is called I Do! I Do! Pasadena Ties the Knot, 1850 to 1950, Part I. Yes, there will be a part II! This one surprises with its 1800s charm and 1920s glam. Look at the buttons on the dress above. Special, aren't they? Yes, and the buttonholes are hand-sewn. In fact the whole dress was stitched by hand, for a young bride with an 18-inch waist.

Jeannette Bovard, Media Consultant for the Museum, took me through the exhibit, instructing me on styles through the ages and pointing out the special dresses (pretty much all of them). The wedding dress worn by Susie Markham, niece of Governor Henry Markham, is so fragile that it might never be displayed again. Another dress from the 1920's had to be laid flat because the docents feared the heavy beads would tear the fabric with their weight.

Wednesdays are free at the Museum if you live, work or are a student in any of the following local communities: Alhambra, Altadena, Arcadia, Bradbury, Duarte, Eagle Rock, El Sereno, Glendale, Highland Park, La Canada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Monrovia, Monterey Park, Pasadena, Rosemead, San Gabriel, San Marino, Sierra Madre, South Pasadena and Temple City.  Please mention this offer and show some form of i.d. when you get your tickets in the Museum Store.
  
Or go Thursday or Sunday and have a docent tour (I recommend it, some of the docents even curated this exhibit, and they know the intricate details). Prices, times, and other details are here.

When you're finished ooh-ing and aah-ing at the dresses, satin shoes, period photos and other wedding finery, stop back in at the Museum Store. My book, Camelot & Vine, is now in stock there and I would like very much for them to have to order more.

17 comments:

Andy said...

I did and I'm glad I did.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

U captured this at the right angle and the lighting is just right!. BTW I've cracked open Camelot and am very pleased... So far, the angst, as well as the airport shock, I fully get... Remember the answer to your Goodreads friend add? well u nailed it.

Adele said...

I have never been there, and you have really given me an incentive. I love a good surprise. Great photo, too!

LONDONLULU said...

Oh my gosh, I can't get over that dress! Love the capture and the 18-inch waist is making me feel a bit clinched.

Petrea Burchard said...

Andy, a Winston Churchill quote is scrolled on the wall of the exhibit: "My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me."

KBF, I'm glad you're reading it! "Airport angst," I might steal that...

I think you're on the Wednesday list, Adele. I'll bet you'd like it.

Lulu, apparently most of these brides were young, but still...

dive said...

Lulu's right … That's not a dress; it's an instrument of cruel and unusual punishment.

pastandpresentwithpamela.com said...

As a volunteer at PMH, I'm excited to start leading tours of this exhibition. Not only are the dresses amazing, but they reflect women's roles and how people changed in that century, including WWII weddings. And, yes, those gorgeous dresses ...

The tours are on Thursdays, not Tuesdays, and Sundays, and read the link about other times. You can go in and see the exhibit other times, too.

altadenahiker said...

I was there for the opening and your photo is far far better than any of the thirty I took.

Petrea Burchard said...

Truly, Dive. Though I'm told people were smaller then. But I couldn't fit into the largest dress they had.

Thank you, Pamela, I fixed it (docent tour days) in the post. Wonderful that you're leading them!

Hiker, that's because I took 100.

TheChieftess said...

Wow!!! Love the dress and the photo of the dress!!! I remember being a young (and verrrry skinny) teenager reading Gone with the Wind and there being a mention of Scarlett's 21 inch waist...I went and got a measuring tape and I can honestly tell you that in order for me to have a 21 inch waist much less an 18 inch waist I'd have to be about 10!!! And even then, I'm not sure I'd make it!!!

Petrea Burchard said...

Yeah, I think a lot of these young women were 15, 16. Girls, really.

Shell Sherree said...

That sure is a purdy photo, Petrea. Here I was, thinking I was overnipping the waists on my damsels ~ they have nothing on this! And what a perfect stockist for Camelot & Vine. A nice coup ~ well done!

Petrea Burchard said...

I don't think you've overnipped in your illustrations, Shell. These ladies may have overnipped in their corsets, though.

pastandpresentwithpamela.com said...

It's me, the wedding dress docent, again.

Petrea mentions how teeny tiny they were, but they were not 15 or 16, all were grown women. The corsets whittled their rib cages as well as their waists. That's why petite women now could not fit into the dresses.

Corsets and foundation garments is a part of the exhibit, with lots of pictures.

And those gorgeous, slinky silk gowns from the 1930s in the exhibit -- I thought those brides might have looked like "plushbottoms" walking down the aisle, but the signs tell what they wore underneath. Not like today when brides might wear only a thong underneath something that sexy.

Petrea Burchard said...

Thanks, Pam, I was mistaken.
I probably wore regular cotton undies under my bridal gown, but honestly I don't remember. Most of the day is a blur.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

A childhood friend of mine's mother was a very aristocratic women - at least in my memory. She also was a model, and one with an 18 inch waist. The last time I had an 18 inch waist was at birth.

Ms M said...

Your photo is excellent!

The exhibit sounds fascinating, too.