Designer Diaries – Empress Farah Pahlavi’s Coronation Gown

This is a Tuesday supplement to our Designer Diary series – a quick hit on a Dior gown that is quite a dress!

We were guided by Shah’s visions for Iran. Everything had a special meaning. The Shah was very particular about the changes he wanted to implement in the country. Our coronation was part of a bigger plan which included easing many restrictions on women. It was certainly a historical day.

Farah Pahlavi reminiscing about her coronation, as told to Point de Vue

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The coronation of the Emperor (shāhanshāh) and Empress (shahbanou) of Iran was held on October 26, 1967. Per Farah Pahlavi’s biography, she was Iran’s first crowned female sovereign. To say the coronation was very big deal is to vastly understate it. It was an insane deal.

Back View of the Coronation Cape, Wikimedia Commons

One of the Iranian’s favorite jewelers, Van Cleef & Arpels, designed the massive coronation crown. The commission for the coronation ensemble went to Marc Bohan of the house of Dior. It included a relatively simple white gown, relatively being the operative word. The fabric was a luxe silk, with a high round neck and large bell sleeves that began above the elbow.

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Bohan also designed the cape, which was fitted and sewn by Iranian tailors and seamstresses. The elegant embroidery was done by Mrs. Pouran Doroudi, a well-known Iranian craftsperson and artist. The green velvet robe featured the House of Pahlavi coat of arms in gold. It was studded with with diamonds, rubies and emeralds. The train was five meters, so long that the only place in Tehran that had tables with enough room to assemble it were at an officer’s club. The Empress chose the color and the general sleeveless style, which honored local dress while setting its own unmistakable style.

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The Empress’ attendants also wore white Dior dresses with elaborately embroidered sleeves, making the entire affair a coordinated event. As we know, for all the glitter of the coronation festivities, the reign of the Emperor and Empress did not end well. If you want to revisit past sparkling glories of the era, you can visit the coronation crown at the Central Bank in Tehran.