Young Brides, Old Treasures: Macedonian Embroidered Dress is a traveling exhibition developed at the Museum of International Folk Art that introduces the complexities of Orthodox Christian women’s dress in the Republic of Macedonia, in the former Yugoslavia. Twenty-six mannequins dressed in many-layered ensembles worn by young unmarried girls, brides on their wedding day, and new brides, along with individual garments worn by older women illustrate status differences as well as regional distinctions. Macedonian village dress represents an aspect of life intimately associated with family and community, religion, the agricultural cycle, and gender roles. The display also includes several individual clothing items, jewelry and adornment that illuminate the creative layering of each outfit. Young Brides, Old Treasures shows the finery worn by women for festivals and wedding at the time of life and history (1880 – 1950) when their best was spectacular.
Historic ensembles, no longer made but preserved in this exhibition, also illustrate the tumultuous political history of the region; pan-Slavic, Byzantine, and Ottoman influences can be seen in the embroidered motifs, materials, garments, and jewelry. Saturated with cultural meaning, these many-layered outfits rank among the best examples of textile art anywhere. Young Brides, Old Treasures is accompanied by a beautifully illustrated, full-color, hard cover catalog of the same title.