Detail from The Graphic, 26 May 1928
On 26 May 1928, the weekly illustrated newspaper The Graphic treated its readers to a photograph of a beautiful bride with this caption:
This lovely wedding dress, designed by Mr. Norman Hartnell, has been accepted by the London Museum, where it will be exhibited after 1960, as a perfect specimen of our quaint “period”.
Two months earlier, on 28 March 1928, the dress had indeed been presented to the museum by the woman in the photograph: Mrs. Carl Bendix of 19 New Cavendish Street. However, Mrs Bendix had not worn the dress to her wedding.
Before we unravel this story, let us first have a proper look at the gown. It is ankle-length, made of pale pink satin. Like the matching train of pink silk net, the satin is decorated with five-petalled flowers outlined in clear glass bugle beads, bordered by silver metal thread in chain stitch. The petals are either cut into the satin, or petal-shaped satin is applied to the parts made of net. The centre of each flower is formed by a single cabochon pearl, dyed pale pink.