Leigh Ann Brown loves dresses, but not just any kind — wedding dresses to be exact. She has over 300 of them.
“The older, the better,” she said. “That’s what this is and ultimately I didn’t set out to collect wedding gowns. I certainly didn’t set out to have a show with them.”
They were not all hers.
“Believe it or not, most of this collection has been donated to me over the years,” she said.
With her growing collection and background in history, she put the gowns on display and started sharing women’s history through them.
“This is the rarest of the war brides,” she said while showing one of the gowns. Every gown has a story.
“Right at the end of the war, he sent home his parachute and she was able to make a dress out of the chute. I have four parachutes in my collection,” Brown said.
Her collection dates back to the 1800s.
“This is my Civil War ball gown,” she said, showing off part of the collection. “I use her in the show to talk about all of the women who have come before us.”
Brown said the most rewarding part of sharing this history is the response she gets from viewers.
“Every time I do this show, 10 women walk up to me and go, ‘Oh my gosh, didn’t know that’s what it was gonna be today, I just thought this was a fashion show. It was a history lesson and beyond a history lesson, you didn’t just tell the story of women, you didn’t just tell the story of that bride, you told my story,'” she said.
Every weekend, she packs up her van with her gown and takes them wherever the next show is.
“I like to travel up and down the Eastern Seaboard, primarily here in Florida of course.”
She shares women’s history in a way she said many have probably never seen before.
You can follow Brown and her show by clicking Portrait of a Bride, an Evolving Silhouette and see where you can catch her live in action.