Vintage gowns catch the eye on the catwalk

Maddie Page walks down the catwalk wearing the gown of her great grandmother teamed with the veil...
Maddie Page walks down the catwalk wearing the gown of her great grandmother teamed with the veil of her own grandmother Isabell Page, a member of the WI. PHOTOS: TONI WILLIAMS
 Brianna Sloper (left) and Milly Christie (both 16) wear wedding dresses back stage before...
Brianna Sloper (left) and Milly Christie (both 16) wear wedding dresses back stage before hitting the makeshift catwalk for the Mid Canterbury Federation of Women’s Institutes wedding gown parade.
Nine-year-old Amelia Brockhurst, mother Emma Brockhurst and grandmother Sue Butterick-Kent, both...
Nine-year-old Amelia Brockhurst, mother Emma Brockhurst and grandmother Sue Butterick-Kent, both WI members, enjoy the Mid Canterbury Federation of Women’s Institutes annual federation cup wedding gown parade.
WI member Rona McConnell parades her wedding gown from 1946 for the viewing pleasure of the WI...
WI member Rona McConnell parades her wedding gown from 1946 for the viewing pleasure of the WI members and guests.

Vintage wedding gowns had a moment to shine again recently when the Mid Canterbury Federation of Women’s Institutes (WI) held a wedding dresses and gowns parade during their annual federation cup day.

Year 9 pupil Maddie Page wore the wedding gown of her great grandmother Mary Page, from 1946, teamed with the veil of her own grandmother Isabell Page, (from 1976), nine-year-old Amelia Brockhurst and her mother, Emma each wore blue wedding gowns and Heidi Wilkins wore the wedding dress of her mother Mavis Wilkins (from 1973).

Amelia was wearing the blue linen wedding gown of her great, great, great grandmother from 1871, and Emma, her own wedding attire from 2009. Amelia offset her wedding gown with delicate Victorian-styled leather boots of her great, great grandmother.

The WI’s annual cup day traditionally saw members vying for the Rugby Cup, in cup day entries in sections across cooking, floral works, craft, knitting/crochet and photography.

But this year members introduced a novelty wedding gown parade for fun, and it drew a crowd to the Ashburton Senior Centre with onlookers keen to see the fashions of the day.

There were 31 wedding dresses and nine bridesmaid gowns in silks, satins, linens and delicate fabrics with intricate beading, lace or button works of their times, made by brides and professional dressmakers, either worn by models such as Bella Dawson, or Milly Christie, or carried in the parade such as Jude Vaughan (1879) and Rona McConnell (1946).

Many of the gowns were the WI members’ own, but some had come from past generations.

The heirloom gown worn by Amelia was owned by 20-year-old Sarah Ann Winifred Clark when she wed William Hiley, at the Tredegar parish church in Bedwellty, Wales on August, 28, 1871.

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