By: Gabriel Herman

Ada Woolf at the V and A

The V&A Museum, London SW7, now has displayed in the Fashion Gallery (Case 9) a wedding dress made by the notable Jewish couturier Ada Woolf, for Jewish bride Flora Diamond who married Philip Jacobs at the Bayswater Synagogue in June 1923.

The dress and train of silver lame have elaborate decoration that were rescued on Flora’s death in 1972 and donated to the museum. They were recently restored.  Flora’s father Isaac, who retired in ca. 1914 as a Bethnal Green timber merchant (see JHSE XXXV, 1999, pp255-275) had died in January 1922 but his widow must have arranged Flora’s wedding and costly dress. (The actual price of Woolf’s unique dress is not known).  The Bayswater venue was more prestigious than the synagogue in Westcliff, Essex where the couple lived.

Ada Woolf rose to be a West End couturier; a rival of Reville and Rossiter who made the Princess Royal’s wedding dress. Woolf’s clientèle, many of whom were renowned for their sense of fashion, insisted on absolute exclusiveness of design.

It is illustrated here.  The website also shows another Woolf dress, of 1914 that can be found here.


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