Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on October 8, 2013
~The Sound of Music Wedding Dress Rediscovered ~
This is a day in Sound of Music costume history that I’ve been anticipating for a very long time! Earlier this spring, during the sale of many famous Sound of Music costumes, I noted that nearly every significant outfit from the film had come up for auction in recent years, save Maria’s Wedding Dress and a few Baroness Schraeder ensembles. But today we watch history being made, as what is arguably the most iconic movie wedding dress of all time reappears into the public eye.
Fashioned of silk shantung and fitted to perfection, this hourglass creation was once pristinely beautiful for the on-screen wedding of Captain von Trapp and Maria. But as is often the case with film costumes, the present-day state of the wedding gown shows signs of alterations, adjustments, and years of wear and tear. As hard as it is to believe, nearly all the Sound of Music costumes were returned to the general rental section of Western Costume after production ended in 1965. The producers of the movie had no idea that their newest picture was going to be such a smash hit, so they would have had no reason to suppose that the costumes would go down in history. Because of this, the outfits shown in the Sound of Music continued to be “in circulation” so to speak for years afterwards, and this wedding gown itself was reportedly reused for subsequent productions or possibly even real weddings. (I don’t believe Western Costume rents out their stock to the general public for real-life events such as weddings, but an article I read brought that up as a possibility.) I should dearly like to know what in the world it was used for, as I’d love to see another scene with Maria’s wedding dress in it! (This gown is currently going up for auction at Julien’s Auctions and is estimated to bring around $50,000. My guess is that it will bring much more than that!)
Until recently, this movie costume has been in the private collection of Jane Withers, who was once a famous actress herself. I find it interesting that both Debbie Reynolds and Jane Withers, both film stars in their own right, have invested so much time, effort, and funding into collecting film memorabilia from movies that they weren’t even connected with! But I’m grateful that these two ladies have preserved the costumes to the best of their ability and have recently auctioned off their Sound of Music collections so the public can once again see these treasures up close, if only on a computer screen.
Below are pictures of Maria’s wedding gown as it appears today. I will add some final thoughts below the last picture.
So there you have it! Maria’s once-glorious wedding gown may be a bit fragile, but it still serves as a reminder of one of the most beloved family stories of all time.
I believe that one of the alterations alluded to by Julien’s Auctions might have been to separate the back bustle pieces (which cascade into the train) from the skirt side seams and finish them separately. If this was the case, additional pieces would have been added underneath the bustle to the skirt front in order to close off the underneath skirt part.
It is difficult to tell because of the way the skirt is arranged – in the movie it was draped in wide folds in back as is shown in the side shot above, but the photo which shows the back view has the train arranged with all the lower skirt flat in order to demonstrate the full width of the skirt back.
Whatever the case, this gown is a treasured piece of film costume history which will be preserved for years to come.
So long, farewell!