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08/07/2015

Stunning wedding gowns and dresses from film and history speak of Love, Desire & Riches

Mulligan donned the pale pink tulle and lace extravaganza as Daisy alongside DiCaprio’s mysterious Jay Gatsby in the 2013 film adaptation of the F Scott Fitzgerald book.

It’s one of the key attractions in the Love, Desire & Riches exhibition opening at Old Government House in Parramatta on Friday.

This metallic lace, tulle and silk dress features in the movie. Picture: Phil Rogers.
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The tuxedo worn by Joel Edgerton as her husband Tom is also on display.

Other iconic movie dresses include the diamante-studded lace dress and voluminous veil worn by Toni Collette in Muriel’s Wedding and Nicole Kidman’s red satin gown from Moulin Rogue.

There’s also Gillian Anderson’s Miss Havisham costume from the TV series Great Expectations.

Curator Lindie Ward said the exhibition was inspired by a similar exhibition held by the Victorian National Trust with some extra additions such as the Great Gatsby dress on loan from the movie studio in the US.

Ms Ward said weddings played a prominent role in popular culture.

“What we were looking at is not only wedding dresses as such but the whole area of weddings and how it appeals to the imagination,” she said.

“And how people look to weddings as a key rite of passage in their lives and that’s why you see so many in films.”

But the collection is about more than just Hollywood glamour and movie magic.

It also takes visitors on a journey of marriage through the ages with wedding dresses spanning more than 200 years.

Curator Lindie Ward takes a closer look at Toni Collette’s veil form Muriel’s Wedding.
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The oldest dress in the collection dates back to the early 1800s and was worn by a Mary Taylor on her wedding day in Birmingham, England.

Made of cotton muslin, the empire-style dress is embroidered with small sprigs and was brought to Australia by her great grandson in 1901.

Western Sydney region­al manager for the National Trust NSW Roxanne Fea said this dress was very simple but her favourite in the collection.

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The oldest dress in the exhibition is a white cotton muslin gown, shown here with a jacke

“It’s such a fragile thing that has been kept in such good condition” she said.

“It’s a garment made with loving hands from more than 200 years ago. You can’t replicate that experience.”

The exhibition also features wedding dresses by iconic designers including Collette Dinnigan, Mariana Hardwick and Carla Zampatti.

Ms Fea said weddings were symbolic, not just of love, but social status, cultural background and ­increas­ing­ly about ­inclusiveness.

A modern wedding dress worn for a civil same-sex union.

The wedding outfits worn by two women in a same-sex civil union also feature in the ­exhibition.

“It’s really important for us to be celebrating the history of weddings because that story is still being written,” she said.

Love, Desire & Riches: The Fashion Of Weddings is at Old Government House from Friday, July 10, to Sunday, November 1.

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