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On May 4 in Fashion History…

(A random smattering of neat things that happened On This Day In Fashion…)

…in 1938, Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna weds Prince Louis Ferdinand in three ceremonies and three dresses. Elsa Schiaparelli created “the bulk” of the bride’s trousseau, including an evening wedding dress of heavy lamé in frosted silver, cut low in the back and high in the front with a richly encrusted and embroidered bodice, and a two-piece “getaway” ensemble (the princess drove the couple’s car) of heavy brown silk with flecked stripes in red, blue and yellow, and a primrose-yellow tweed topcoat. (The Schiaparelli dress was worn on May 2 for the civil ceremony and probably for the evening Orthodox ceremony on the same day.) Bridesmaids wore white tulle dresses embroidered with silver-and-diamond rose motifs over silver lamé sheaths with matching silver lamé boleroes with leg o’ mutton sleeves. It is unknown whether the bride changed into her custom-made Coco Chanel for the Orthodox ceremony that same day (all reports have her wearing Schiaparelli), but the famed French couturier had created a white satin floor-length tunic dress with long sleeves and a four-and-a-half yard long train, all bordered with silver, pearl and diamond embroidery. The Chanel pièce de résistance: A white enamel flower diadem holding an unusual double scarf of white tulle that fell on either side of the bride’s face. For the Lutheran ceremony on this day in 1938 that made the royal union official, the bride wore her grandmother the Duchess of Coburg’s nearly century-old wedding gown of heavy silver brocade, an antique lace veil held by a diadem and an “imposing” necklace presented to her by her father-in-law, and carried a bouquet of orchids. The pictures (above and below) are of Kira’s grandmother’s dress. Read More »

Wedding Week! Narciso Rodriguez Gets a Boost with “Carolyn’s Dress”

Wedding Week continues, with our look at some of our favorite, most fashionable weddings. No list would be complete without one of America’s most beautiful couples, Carolyn Bessette and John-John Kennedy, who wed in a secret ceremony on Cumberland Island, Georgia in September of 1996. From Rachel Chambers’ Story Behind the Styles about the big day: “Bessette was looking for simple and understated when she turned to [Narciso] Rodriguez, a designer she knew could pull off the look she wanted with class. The two had met and become friends at Calvin Klein where she was a publicist and he was a designer. By the time Bessette was engaged to Kennedy, 35-year-old Rodriguez was designing for Cerruti and hailed by critics as the new ambassador of classic American simplicity, à la Anne Klein or Halston.” Read the full story about the secret wedding, the friendship of Narciso and Carolyn and the famous Dress here.

Wedding Week! “The King” Dresses a Queen on her Wedding Day

Wedding Week continues with a look at our favorite most fashionable weddings. And given that it’s royal wedding week, there’s no way we could leave out “the king of couture,” Balenciaga! The couturier dressed his friend and future queen, Doña Fabiola de Mora y Aragón for her fairy tale wedding to Europe’s most eligible bachelor, circa 1960, 30-year-old King Baudouin I of Belgium. Here’s a snippet from the Story Behind the Styles on the royal match: “There are no written accounts of bets being placed on which couturier would design Fabiola’s wedding dress. This is because only one designer was likely ever considered for the job. Cristóbal Balenciaga had three things going for him: He was a friend of the family (he designed the bride-to-be’s first formal ball gown), Spanish and, not unimportantly, one of the top couturiers of the era, right up there alongside Christian Dior and Pierre Balmain. …150 million people tuned into… watch a very nervous Fabiola parade from the palace to the church. The fidgeting bride struggled with her train twice. Once she came close to tears as the yards of tulle caught on a chair during the civil ceremony, but was reassured by the whispers of her new husband.” Read the whole story about the wedding, the Dress and what Balenciaga did next, here.

Wedding Week! A Single Wedding Launches “the Dress” of the 1980s

We continue Wedding Week with a look back at some of our favorite most fashionable weddings in history. So naturally we have to home in on last century’s royal “wedding of the century:” That of this Friday’s groom’s mum and da: Lady Di and Prince Charles, who wed in London on July 29, 1981. From Rachel Chambers’ Story Behind the Style about how Diana’s dress created a bridal style craze that lasted the better part of the 1980s: “Beneath the veil, onto which tens of thousands of miniscule sequins were hand-tied to give her an ethereal shimmer, the bride wore her family’s gold and diamond “Spencer Tiara,” which served as a front-and-center reminder of her new royal role. Her brother, Charles, later revealed that the new princess had trouble bearing the weight of the headpiece, and spent the day with a “cracking headache.” In retrospect, the gown’s overwrought style seems incongruent with Diana’s later years as a classic fashion icon. But for a teenage bride marrying at the dawn of the age of excess that was the 1980s, the dress was perfect.” Read the full story—including every detail about the Dress that you could ever possibly want to know—and see a slideshow from the Big Day here.

Wedding Week! Iman and David Bowie

We thought we’d celebrate Friday’s royal wedding with a look at some of our favorite fashionable couples, beginning with supermodel Iman and David Bowie, who will celebrate their 19th wedding anniversary this June 6. (The black and white images are from German Vogue, I think, and while the awesome cascading number Iman wears in the pictures is not the dress she wore for her actual wedding, but it’s just so pretty that I wanted to show it, too.) The couple married on a Saturday at 4 p.m. at Saint James Church in Florence, Italy. Iman wore a skin-tight oyster-colored bandage halter dress with a long train designed by Herve Leger, diamond-and-pearl drop earrings and ivory silk opera gloves and carried a cascading bouquet of white starburst lillies. “I wanted something very simple, elegant, no frills, no fashion, no gimmicks. Something that would outlast anything,” Iman said later. In lieu of a veil, stylist Teddy Antolin—who had introduced the couple at a dinner party two years earlier—styled Iman’s hair in massive tendrils of endless curls. Bowie wore a Thierry Mugler tuxedo, saying, “I asked my good friend Thierry Mugler, who has been designing my suits for a good few years now, to do a variation on traditional tails. He has done a delightful job. I think it looks quite dashing. I know Mugler likes it, but Mugler likes everything he designs and nine times out of ten, so do I.” See more pics, including the couple at their real wedding, after the jump: Read More »

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