Written by Jane Bower, Association of English Cathedrals
He was part of the team at Elizabeth and David Emanuel’s which made THAT DRESS for the wedding of the late Princess Diana to HRH Prince Charles and he has just curated his own collection of wedding gowns for an exhibition in Ripon Cathedral.
Kevin Thornhill has been collecting wedding gowns for 40 years and will be displaying 50 gowns and accessories ranging from 1885 to 2021 for the exhibition called A Century of Wedding Gowns which opens this week and runs until September.
Following a degree in art and design at Manchester, Kevin served his time with the Emanuel’s in Mayfair, he made costumes for the West End, before returning to the north to open his own bridalware.
On July 29 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of THAT WEDDING, there will be two fashion shows, featuring a copy of the dress and tiara worn by Diana while the finale will contain copies of the gowns from the Royal Collection including those of the Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Margaret and Princess Anne along with exact copies of the tiaras worn at the weddings.
Kevin said: “During my time working with David and Elizabeth Emanuel in London I was given the absolute honour of being a member of the team who made the wedding gown worn by Diana, Princess of Wales.”
The exhibition includes a copy of the wedding gown worn by Katherine Worsley for her marriage to Edward, Duke of Kent, in York Minster in 1961 and a gown donated by Kleinfeld, New York – known for the TV programme ‘Say Yes to the Dress’. For enthusiasts of Downton Abbey there is a copy of the Crawleys’ Downton Tiara with a wedding gown from 1898 plus a 1923 winter velvet wedding gown, handmade by Coco Chanel for a family friend.
And closer to home, Christine Wood, who was married at Ripon Cathedral in May 1964, donated her own wedding gown. She said: “I love the fact that my wedding dress will once again be inside the cathedral after 57 years!”
The exhibition and shows are supported by the Cathedral’s Business Partner, Raworths Solicitors of Harrogate.
A Century of Wedding Gowns – curated by Kevin Thornhill –23 June – 19 September. https://www.riponcathedral.org.uk/events/a-century-of-wedding-gowns/