We are experiencing some issues with search on this site. We’re looking to provide a fix as soon as possible.

Search our collections

Advanced Search

Object: Wedding dress

This image has All Rights Reserved.

Title Wedding dress
Production Carosa (fashion designer), circa 1950, Italy
Caracciolo Ginetti, Giovanna (fashion designer), circa 1950, Italy
Medium summary Wool gaberdine lined with wool hopsack; with cord work embroidery executed on raw silk panels
Materials wool, silk
Classification wedding dresses
Technique machine sewing, embroidering
Dimensions Other: x 1495mm (Length)
Centre Back: x 1720mm (Length)
Other: x 790mm (Length)
Other: x 457mm (Length)
Credit line Gift of Mary-Annette Hay, 2007
Registration number GH015668

This stunning medieval-style gown was designed by Italian high fashion house Carosa. Carosa was a major influence on Italian fashion in the 1950s when the country’s fashion industry was emerging on the international stage. Highly decorated Italian gowns became particularly popular with American film stars and, as a result, had a major influence on American designers for Hollywood.

Luxurious wool
The luxurious woollen fabric and the gown’s exquisite cord-work embroidery were trademarks of Italian-designed garments after World War II. Embroidery, in particular, had long been an Italian craft, and was practised with great skill at this time.

How the bride found her dress
Mary-Annette Burgess wore this dress for her marriage to Donald Hay in 1953. She had joined the New Zealand Wool Board as Promotions Officer in 1948 and made it her mission to ‘take the wonder of wool to the nation’. She became familiar with every aspect of the wool industry, both in New Zealand and internationally, and gained the confidence of farmers, fashion designers, and retailers alike.

Dramatic fashion shows became her trademark, and her productions were sell-out attractions across the country. But her passion for wool wasn’t confined to the public arena. She wore designer wool garments at every opportunity, even to her own wedding.

Related information

Disclaimer: This information was created from historic documentation, and may not necessarily reflect the best available knowledge about the item. Some collection images are created for identification purposes only and may not be of reproduction quality. Some images are not available due to copyright restrictions. If you have information or questions about objects in the collection, contact us using our enquiry form. You can also find out more about Collections Online.