National Museum of Singapore-The Wedding Dress Traveling Exhibit

On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of visiting the National Museum of Singapore for the first time.

I feel a bit guilty that my first trip was not to see the permanent exhibits, but rather a traveling exhibit from the Albert and Victoria in London.

The Wedding Dress will be a visiting exhibition through Oct 31, 10-6 daily, $11SGD admission (includes general admission)

I don’t want to spoil the exhibit, so I’ll just a few of my favorite photos here, and talk about the exhibit a bit.

From the main entrance (on the first floor), you take an escalator down to the Basement.  Moms with strollers-I was not given a choice other than the escalator, although I assume there MUST be a way to get down there without one?  Also worth noting-the entrance to the exhibit was barely wide enough to slip my stroller through-I’m unclear on how a person in a wheelchair or a bigger stroller would enter.

Edited to add—thank you to Esther, who in comments shared the following information

There is a visitor accessible lift to the basement level, it’s a bit tucked away, on your right facing the giant LED screen. A helpful guard should usually be on hand to point the way.

Also the temporary galleries have wheelchair access on request.

Outside the special exhibit halls is an exhibit done by the NMS about places people get married here in Singapore, one on the evolution of wedding photography locally, and finally a display of Singaporean wedding gowns.

The traveling exhibit is effectively a two room exhibit with dresses dating from the 1800’s to the 2000’s.  I was lucky enough to trip over a docent led tour, which made the exhibit far more enjoyable.  On my own, when in fashion, I tend to just stare at the pretty dresses and focus on details and not much else.  Given that there were corsets, I was even more distracted, so I was very happy to have a docent there to broaden my focus.  I appreciated several dresses far more because of the women who created/wore them, when I might have otherwise passed them by.

A few of my personal highlights…

I don’t know if I spent too much time reading A Little Princess, or exactly what sparked my interest, but I have a deep abiding passion for boots like this.  I love, love, LOVE these.

This is not a wedding dress that I would’ve found particularly compelling on its own.  But as the docent told the story of its creation, I developed an appreciation for it and a fondness for the kind of woman who would design it.

During the WW2 era, specialty fabrics, like those used in the creation of wedding dresses, were rationed.  When a woman wanted to get married, the entire town/village would donate ration coupons to help a bride buy the fabric.  In return the dresses were passed around, taken apart, re-purposed and re-used in a variety of ways.  We don’t have many dresses from that era for that reason.

The woman who designed this dress was extremely clever.  While specialty fabrics were rationed, others were not.  This wedding gown is made from an inexpensive upholstery fabric that was NOT being rationed.

Detail on a gown.

The second room of the exhibit has a number of gowns from 1930’s-2000’s on display with a breathtaking gown (with a scandalous owner) in the center.  The detailing on the central gown in quite spectacular and I have several closer pictures of it in my flickr set.

This corset belongs to Dita Von Teese (link contains NSFW images).  They also have her stunning inspired by Scarlett O’Hara  wedding gown on display next to it.  I love Dita Von Teese’s 40’s glam pinup style.

See my full set of photos here on flickr.

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7 Responses to National Museum of Singapore-The Wedding Dress Traveling Exhibit

  1. Pingback: » Blog Archive » A review of The Wedding Dress

  2. Esther says:

    Hi there,
    Came across your blog via Notabilia.

    I work with NMS on a regular basis, just thought you would like to know these tips, for your convenience on your next trip.

    There is a visitor accessible lift to the basement level, it’s a bit tucked away, on your right facing the giant LED screen. A helpful guard should usually be on hand to point the way.

    Also the temporary galleries have wheelchair access on request.


    • Thank you so much for this information, Esther! I’ll modify the post to include it so that people will know even if they don’t read the comments. I’m really looking forward to going back!

  3. Kok Choy Yoke says:

    Hi Lover of boots,
    I was there too at the museum with my children. Jus wondering if you could add more interesting facts to the history of how these exquisite gowns. I miss having a docent .They were off duty, the day we went.

    CY OW

    • The only other detail I remember about the gown in the middle of the room is that it belonged to a scandalous socialite (Margaret, Duchess of Argyll—more about her here–,_Duchess_of_Argyll)

  4. Chere says:

    I have no idea how Dita Von Teese manages to make those dresses look so wonderful on her. She has a nice, full figure that really brings out the sexiness. I think she will look great in a wedding dress too.

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