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Royal Wedding Gowns – Deceptively Simple

Welcome our Royal Wedding Gown summer series, which has now evolved into a autumn series. This is where we look at royal gowns from a different perspective. Let’s take a look at gowns that seem simple but could only be rendered that way by the most elusive of qualities: impeccable tailoring. In other words, it takes a lot of work and money to look that simple.

Previous entries in this series can be found in the Recurring Feature section, Weddings, in our sidebar.

Bride: Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden
Designer: Pär Engsheden

When we say “deceptively simple royal wedding dress”, this is the one that comes to most minds. Princess Victoria’s cream-colored duchess silk dress is so unadorned it depends on a perfect fit for its wow factor. I’d say the dress delivers.

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The dress has a fitted bodice which is tucked into a wide cummerbund at the waist. The dress features short sleeves and a turned-out collar, and a row of buttons down the back. The dress sported two trains: a shorter train that flowed from the skirt, and for the ceremony, a detachable train nearly 5 meters long, as befits a crown princess.

Most royal watchers know that Victoria nodded to tradition by wearing the Cameo Tiara, believed to be a gift from Napoleon to his wife, Empress Josephine. She added the heirloom Swedish lace veil, worn by three of the King’s sisters, her grandmother and her own mother.

Bride: Infanta Cristina of Spain
Designer: Lorenzo Caprile 

From a distance, it looks almost unadorned, but zoom in and you’ll see plenty of flattering detail. It just looks like a super simple dress, but is actually a cleverly designed and perfectly tailored gown, which suited the bride to a T. Featuring a princess line silhouette, the gown is made from Valencia silk, and shaped in a princess line. Unusually for a royal, the neckline exposes her shoulders, but is cut high so there is no hint of immodesty. The dress also features silver embroidery, both at the waist and across the 3 meter train.

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Cristina finished her ensemble with the Mellerio floral tiara, the Spanish heirloom veil, and a soft chignon.

Bride: Princess Irene of the Netherlands
Designer: Balmain

There was so much craziness surrounding this wedding it makes some of the current royal kerfuffles look sane. It’s definitely worth a trip back to the Order of Splendor entry for a refresher, if you have forgotten. However, we are here for the dress, which ranks among my favorites.

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Princess Irene chose Balmain as her designer, and, as we say now, he got her. He understood her figure and provided a design that accentuated her thin torso and tiny waist. Done up in white silk, with a bolero jacket over a fitted bodice, the dress featured a wide boat neckline and three-quarter length sleeves. The skirt flared dramatically from the waist and flowed into a long train. The dress included trim on the bolero of Bruges lace, which was also used on the wedding gown of Irene and Carlos Hugo’s daughter Princess Carolina . (Another favorite gown of mine, but not deceptively simple in the least.)

Even the washed out photos from the past cannot erase the fact that the dress fit like a dream. She received the Bourbon-Parma diamond tiara as a wedding gift, and she used it to anchor the long tulle veil. As an aside, this tiara was later reported as stolen and has not been seen in public since. We here at the Handbag mourn the loss of this great beauty.

Which is your favorite "simple" wedding gown?