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2005/32/1 Wedding outfit, acrylic / nylon / lurex / Alençon lace / 'Aurora' Swarovski crystals/ jet beads / pearls / tulle veil, worn by Claudia Chan Shaw on her marriage to Stewart White on Sunday October 17, 1993, designed by Claudia and Vivian Chan Shaw, made in the workrooms of Vivian Chan Shaw. Click to enlarge.

Wedding outfit designed by Claudia and Vivian Chan Shaw, Sydney, 1993

Made by Chan Shaw, Claudia in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1993.

For the last 150 years the white wedding dress has lain at the heart of the often-complex preparations for the marriage ceremony in traditional Anglo-Saxon unions, and increasingly in the marriage ceremonies of other cultures. Claudia Chan Shaw’s wedding outfit reflects the growing trend for brides to select an outfit that may make reference to the white wedding dress tradition but is a very individual expression of the brides personal style and her vision of how she would like to appear at this...

Summary

Object No.

2005/32/1

Object Statement

Wedding outfit, acrylic / nylon / lurex / Alençon lace / 'Aurora' Swarovski crystals/ jet beads / pearls / tulle veil, worn by Claudia Chan Shaw on her marriage to Stewart White on Sunday October 17, 1993, designed by Claudia and Vivian Chan Shaw, made in the workrooms of Vivian Chan Shaw, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1993

Physical Description

Wedding outfit comprising hand-loomed white acrylic/nylon/lurex blend knit top and skirt, hat and shoes.

Long sleeved top fitted to waist with deep skirted peplum to mid thigh at front and extending to knee length at back. Top features high neckline and standing collar with centre back zipper fastening concealed by appliqued lace pieces. White Alençon inserts in sleeves and an appliqued trim of black Alençon lace. The top features a hand beaded trim with 'Aurora' Swarovski crystals, 'jet' beads and pearls. The back includes knitted applique 'leaves' forming a small bustle effect. (Claudia Chan Shaw commented 'The leaves to Vivian are like feathers, a private joke for her, because in the family I am known as the little chicken.' ) Hand-beaded knit cameo trimmed with lace at neck.

Ankle length slim fitting skirt with fluted hem trimmed in black, this is over a double layer hand loomed white acrylic/nylon/lurex blend underskirt.

Fine white straw cocktail hat trimmed with black lace appliqued and draped with swathes of white tulle.

Pair of white leather, sling back mules trimmed with black Alençon lace motif on the toes. Shaped, narrow heel and buckle fastener at ankle strap.

Marks

Top and skirt: white fabric label "VIVIAN CHAN SHAW/SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA".

Shoes: black fabric label "Raspini", impressed on soles "MADE BY/Raspini/6".

Production

Notes

Claudia Chan Shaw discussed the design of her wedding dress with her mother Vivian Chan Shaw over several months, lamenting at first her inability to decide what she wanted until one day while standing in a queue at the bank 'The design came to me in a blinding flash! I raced back to the QVB shop and rang Mum, who was at the office. I described the design to her over the phone and we both drew the design as we spoke. When I returned to the office the next day we compared drawings. Both were drawn on A5 paper with a front and back view. The vision of the gown was identical-Mum understood completely what I wanted and had translated the ideas perfectly'.

Vivian Chan Shaw then refined their ideas adding the lace and beading and working out how the top and skirt could be constructed. Chan Shaw's design process is influenced by the physical limitations imposed by the knitting machines size and the creative possibilities it offers in terms of manipulating the yarn . She produces what is termed hand-loomed knitwear using domestic flat bed knitting machines, 180-200 needles wide. The size restricts the achievable length of each piece which means Chan Shaw designs her garments as a series of shaped pieces which are then sewn together to complete the garment. Skirts are often knitted in the round and hand grafted so there are no seams.Texture and drape are key components of her work making the way the yarn is fed into the machine a critical component of the design process. Less yarn is used to create fine pleats and undulating surfaces and sheer knitting to create a chiffon-like diaphanous film. By manipulating the tension, the ply of yarn that is fed into the pieces and the degree of increases and decreases she works out the shape of the garment. Chan Shaw wanted the top to have a very close fit and while she doesn't usually include zippers in her knitwear for this piece she added a zipper up the centre back, positioning lace appliqued to disguise its presence.

Claudia usually dresses in black, so she preferred not to have an all white wedding dress choosing instead the dramatic combination of a white top and skirt embellished with black lace and beading. Vivian Chan Shaw spent months beading and adding the lace appliqued. Claudia recalls that her mother would look up from her work, shake her head and say 'never again Claudia, never again'.

Aware that white knits can be see through Vivian constructed a double thickness of skirt made at different lengths so that the flounces at the hem were exaggerated.

The hat was designed and made by Moray hats. Claudia noted that she and Vivian disagreed over the addition of a silk tulle swathe to the design, she felt it was not her style but after trying the hat on decided ' Vivian was right. The balance of the swathes of tulle were perfect. They added drama and balance. And made me look taller!'

Designed

Chan Shaw, Claudia 1993

History

Notes

This wedding outfit was worn by Claudia Chan Shaw for her marriage to Stewart White on Sunday 17 October 1993. The ceremony was held at 5pm in the grounds of Vaucluse House, Wentworth Road Vaucluce, Sydney with a reception afterwards in the Vaucluse House Tearooms.

On arriving at Vaucluse House Claudia had to walk across the lawn to meet the bridal party. She noted that her husband Stewart felt the dress was perfect and commented 'now I know where the My Fair Lady video went'. While the outfit was not consciously inspired by the movie 'My Fair Lady' its silhouette and black and white palette does evoke some of the dresses Audrey Hepburn wore in the movie.

For the last 150 years the white wedding dress has lain at the heart of the often-complex preparations for the marriage ceremony in traditional Anglo-Saxon unions, and increasingly in the marriage ceremonies of other cultures. Claudia Chan Shaw's wedding outfit reflects the growing trend for brides to select an outfit that may make reference to the white wedding dress tradition but is a very individual expression of the brides personal style and her vision of how she would like to appear at this significant ceremony. This individualising of the ceremony is also reflected in the couples selection of a secular outdoor setting instead of a church based ceremony.

Vivian Chan Shaw:

Vivian Chan Shaw is a self-taught designer. She designed and made her own clothes from a young age but originally trained as a musician, studying piano at the Conservatorium High School in Sydney and then Arts at Sydney University. In 1965, with an urgent need to support her four young children, Chan Shaw made her first move into the fashion industry, knitting clothing for David Jones baby boutique.

In 1966 she joined René Fabrics as a buyer of fabrics, trimmings and laces. Recognising her design skills they asked her to provide a fashion design service for customers, using the fabrics sold by the store. Chan Shaw then went to Canns, which at the time was Sydney's leading bridal wear department store. Here she worked as fashion co-ordinator, buyer and designer before moving into fashion retail, managing the very hip In Shoppe and Merivale boutiques. This valuable retailing experience gave her the confidence to start her own business.

Chan Shaw's first designs were hand made one-off jersey garments featuring hand rolled edges and elaborate appliqued designs. These often spectacular garments sold through her first retail outlet, Jeunesse established in 1972 in the Royal Arcade, under the Sydney Hilton Hotel; a position that ensured some of her first customers included international celebrities Dionne Warwick, Bo Derek and Margaux Hemingway. Even at this early stage her outfits were constructed for comfort and designed with drawstrings and wrap and tie closures providing flexibility of fit.

By the early 1970s Chan Shaw was also including a few hand knitted fashion garments in her production and was increasingly drawn to the potential of this medium. A knitting revival was underway in the 1970s and 1980s with craft practitioners and artists exploring and experimenting with various techniques and forms. Designers like Jenny Kee successfully melded art, craft and fashion in knitwear design and this cross fertilisation of the medium was dubbed 'art clothes'. Chan Shaw also began to experiment with knitwear and while her work fitted loosely within the art clothes aesthetic she stood outside it, preferring to take the raw hand-crafted feel out of the medium, producing instead very refined knits with a high fashion feel.

In 1986 Chan Shaw opened her eponymous retail outlet in the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney. By this time she was designing only knitwear and further developed her distinctive signature of draped and layered, assymetrical forms in collections of interchangeable pieces. The garments flexible fit also allowed Chan Shaw to develop a strong local and international mail order service.

Used

Chan Shaw, Claudia 1993

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Claudia Chan Shaw, 2004

Acquisition Date

20 January 2005

Cite this Object

Harvard

Wedding outfit designed by Claudia and Vivian Chan Shaw, Sydney, 1993 2018, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 21 January 2019, <https://ma.as/346213>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/346213 |title=Wedding outfit designed by Claudia and Vivian Chan Shaw, Sydney, 1993 |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=21 January 2019 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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