Brides at the Leventis Museum: Tradition and Fashion in Greece and Cyprus

Brides at the Leventis Museum: Tradition and Fashion in Greece and Cyprus

30 November 2016 – 23 April 2017

The much-anticipated temporary exhibition titled Brides at the Leventis Museum: Tradition and Fashion in Greece and Cyprus steps into the cultural limelight on 30 November 2016 at the Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia. Bridal gowns from the Collection of the Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation in Nafplio, Greece, join Cypriot wedding dresses from the Collections of the Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia, as well as several private collections in Cyprus, to set the stage for a unique catwalk that is both an array of exhibits and a glimpse of history, scheduled to run until 23 April 2017. 

The exhibition, organised by the Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia in collaboration with the Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation, presents a wealth of wedding dresses that trace the evolution of the garments from the late 19th century to 1974, in both Greece and Cyprus. The presentation follows the changes in wedding outfits through time, from commitment to tradition to the influences of international fashion. At the same time, it features similarities and differences between wedding dresses from the Greek area and those from Cyprus, two countries joined by a similar tradition, yet marked by different historical fates. The exhibition also distinguishes between wedding gowns from the city and the village, between wealthy and less privileged brides.

Over the course of time, wedding dresses underwent various alterations that reflect the break with the custom of using traditional garments as bridal gowns and their harmonisation with international fashion. The exhibition also shows how the white wedding dress has been ‘imposed’ across the entire Western world since the wedding of Queen Victoria of Great Britain. The gowns on display present changes in the dresses’ width, length and material, according to the current fashion which, in turn, was influenced by royal weddings, but also the movies.

Also featured between the folds of the wedding gowns are the consequences of historical events, such as the economic and other adversities brought on by two world wars. The independence of Cyprus (1960) marks the last period presented in the exhibition. Within the overall optimistic mood of the period, the wedding dress closely followed the trends of the time in order to fulfil the bride’s dream for the most beautiful day of her life. The span covered by the exhibition stops in 1974, when the centuries-long order of things of the indigenous population of Cyprus was ruptured, dramatically and irrevocably changing the socio-economic structures.

The exhibition will be inaugurated by Edmée Leventis on Wednesday, 30 November 2016, at 19.30, at the Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia, 15-17 Ippokratous St, 1011, Laiki Geitonia, Nicosia. A full programme of lectures, guided tours, educational programmes and other events will be announced in January 2017.

Sponsor: A. G. Leventis Foundation
Collaborator: Spiritual Sisterhood of Greek-Cypriot Women, Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation
Media sponsors: Phileleftheros and MegaOne
Supported by: Nicosia Municipality, Association of the Friends of the Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia