Label ‘Liberty of London’
This is the foundation of a wedding dress made by Liberty for Beryl Soref of St. John’s Wood, London, to be worn at her marriage to Giulio Perugia on October 4th, 1960. The outer layer was later removed to be reused or remodelled, and after Soref’s death in 1979, the remains of the dress were kept by her widower until his own death shortly before it entered the John Bright Collection in 2002. An accompanying indistinct copy of a wedding photograph gives an idea of how the dress originally looked. (See Additional Images). In common with many other fashionable wedding gowns of the day, it had a chic simplicity, being unadorned, with long sleeves and low neckline that appears to be filled with a fine, sheer fabric.
In its ‘nude’ state, the foundation provides information about the complex construction beneath high-quality wedding dresses and ball gowns of the time. Its fitted, low-waisted bodice has been made of double layered net, with nine vertical bands of boning, lined with cotton tape, around the front and back. Each of the breast sections is lined with a circle of silk folded in half and a small net rosette. Beneath the pannier-like side panels of doubled stiffened net lies a series of layers of stiffened and unstiffened net, holding the skirt of the dress out and creating its shape, much in the way multiple petticoats did so under dresses of the 1840s.
A similar foundation of a 1957 Dior Dinner Dress can be studied at the Metropolitan Museum’s website: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/95250