Royal Wedding Gowns – The Dutch Aesthetic

Welcome our Royal Wedding Gown series, where we look at royal gowns from a different perspective. Today, let’s discuss some of the common elements that make up the Dutch aesthetic. We talked about Queen Maxima’s wedding gown at length here, and Princess Irene’s dress here, so we won’t be including them in the post today.

Previous entries in this series can be found in the Recurring Feature section, Weddings, found under “Find that Post!” in the header bar.

Bride: Princess Beatrix
Designer: Caroline Bergé-Farwick of Maison Linette

I’ve never doubted that Princess Beatrix is a strong character with decided opinions, and it was said that when she was engaged to Claus von Amsberg in 1966, she insisted on a lot of input into the design of her wedding gown. The resulting dress had a relatively simple silhouette, with a high neckline and 3/4 length three-quarter sleeves. On the skirt, the defining feature is the split over-skirt that extends from the waist and forms the train that flows behind for several meters. The fabric sports a swirled pattern over the skirt and train.

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From the neck up, Beatrix is all impact. She wears the large version of the Württemberg Tiara, the trademark beehive, and massive fluffy tulle. In fact, when I think of this wedding, the tulle is what I remember. It is definitely a look not to be missed or forgotten.

Bride: Laurentien Brinkhorst
Designer: Edouard Vermeulen of NATAN

Laurentien married the youngest son of Queen Beatrix, Prince Constantijn, in 2001. Yes, there are a lot of Natan elements here, but the dress and the wearer triumph over them. The silhouette appears simple at first, but there is a lot of design going on. The bodice features a bateau neckline, which drops to a deep v in the back. The sleeves open up to a bell effect. The skirt, much like her mother-in-law’s, sports a slim under-skirt with a split skirt over it, flowing into a long train.

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Laurentien wore the Laurel Wreath tiara, which, again like her mother-in-law, secured an explosion of fluffy tulle.

Bride: Annette Sekrève
Designer: Frans Molenaar

Annette Sekrève married Prince Bernhard of Orange-Nassau, the son of Princess Margriet and Pieter van Vollenhoven, in 2000. Her gown, like many of the other Dutch gowns, sported no beading or lace, but instead featured a lot of fabric. The coat dress had a scoop neck with a collared neckline, and was secured with buttons down the front. The coat split over a slim under-skirt, and led into the train that flowed behind.

The Ears of Wheat tiara, also worn by the other daughters-in-law of Margriet and Pieter, is almost indistinguishable under, you guessed it, lots of fluffy tulle.

To see more of the Dutch aesthetic (Lots of tulle! Simple silhouettes!) look back at these gowns:

Princess Margriet
Princess Marilene
Princess Aimee
Princess Anita

Which bride does the Dutch Bridal look best?
Britain · Norway

Royal Wedding Gowns – Hereditary Homage

Royalty is about continuity, family, and tradition. No wonder royal brides often turn to previous generations for wedding gown inspiration. Today we will look at three such homages. Previous entries in this series can be found on the header, under Find That Post!/Recurring Feature.

Bride: Mette-Marit
Designer: Ove Harder Finseth
Inspiration: Queen Maud (Coronation Gown)

Mette-Marit’s wedding gown is described as ecru, but to my eyes it has always been a stream of perfectly fitted Scandinavian whiteness. The dress was fabricated from silk crepe, and no adornment mars the flow of fabric from the modest neckline to the long sleeves to the 6 1/2 foot train. The designer used Queen Maud’s coronation dress – among other of her dresses – as an inspiration, and you can definitely see it in the silhouette and train. They still managed to render a dress for Mette-Marit that is both timeless and strangely modern. It’s said that there is corseting in the waist of Mette-Marit’s dress, but all you see is flow, flow, flow.

Mette-Marit’s veil of silk tulle extended past the train, and was anchored by the Diamond Daisy tiara, a gift from King Harald and Queen Sonja. Her garland of green leaves and white and purple flowers was also said to be inspired by tradition, and Queen Maud. Click through the slide show to see both dresses.

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Bride: Princess Eugenie
Designer: Peter Pilotto and Christopher de Vos
Inspiration: Princess Elizabeth

Designer Peter Pilotto incorporated personal meaning into Eugenie’s dress through the use of embroidered flowers: thistle for Scotland, and also, possibly, Balmoral, a shamrock for Ireland and the Ferguson connection, and the York rose and ivy to represent Ivy Cottage. At the time, the design duo stated that they did extensive archive research into previous dresses worn by members of the royal family and finally settled on a corseted silhouette with full pleated skirt. The homage to her grandmother is most fully seen in the garlands of embroidery on the full skirt.

Princess Eugenie eschewed a veil, allowing the low back of the dress to frame her scoliosis scar. Also, it fortunately allowed the Emerald Greville tiara a lovely, veil free showcase. Click through the slide show to see both dresses.

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Bride: The Honorable Serena Stanhope
Inspiration: Princess Margaret
Designer: Bruce Robbins

Contemporary accounts made much of the fact that Serena’s gown was a nod to her new mother-in-law’s dress; however the truth is more complicated. The gowns both have the distinctive ball gown silhouette: long sleeves, v-necklines, fitted waists and very full skirts. The fabrics are different, though, and the effects also diverge. Serena’s gown is fabricated from oyster satin, with a split waist knotted at the back. The skirt is what I can only describe as an explosion of tulle, which flows into two meters of semi train in the back. A nod to Margaret in the silhouette, and also a big nod to this Christian Dior gown.

Serena wore the Lotus Flower tiara, and a rather fortunately simple tulle veil to finish off her ensemble. Click through the slide show to see both Serena and Margaret’s dresses.

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Which gown pings your “best inspired by” meter?
Belgium · Britain · Norway

Royal Wedding Gowns – Elegant Coats and Wraps

Welcome our Royal Wedding Gown feature, and to our third post in the series on royal wedding gowns with coats and wraps. We have covered the dramatic and the second and third wedding coats and wraps. Today we are in the final of that series, coats and wraps worn to elegant effect.

Note: We covered Queen Letizia’s bridal ensemble here, so we won’t go over it again in this post. It’s in the poll, though!

Bride: Queen Mathilde
Designer: Natan

Yes, it was Natan, and yes, it was a success. That’s the short story. The long story is that the marriage was in chilly December, it was a union between an aristocrat (Mathilde was a jonkvrouw, a word that always tickles me) and the future King, and it was very royal wedding which included moving from venue to venue on the day itself. Natan had to design a gown with gravitas, and warmth, that would hold up to such a celebration. He also had to allow room for the beautiful but visually heavy heirloom veil from Queen Paola’s family.

He succeeded admirably, I believe. The gown was crepe silk, with front button and waist detailing and a very long train. The veil lay nicely on the 5 meters of silk, and the collar stood up and framed Mathilde’s lovely face well. She accessorized with Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Bandeau tiara.

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Bride: Princess Märtha Louise of Norway
Designer: Wenche Lyche

Princess Märtha Louise has been described as whimsical and quirky, and it is somewhat of a surprise that her wedding gown was rather subdued and conventional, until you look at the details. The coat was inspired by the Märtha lily and the Gothic arches of Nidaros Cathedral, and those details can be seen in the puffy insert of the sleeves at the shoulders, and how the train comes to a v-point at the end. But viewed in its entirety, this gown is classic elegance all the way.

The coat, which was removed for the reception, is embellished with Swarovski crystals. The front of the coat is held together with a clasp in an “A” shape, done up in pearls and representing her husband’s first name, Ari. There is a lovely detail of ivy and five lilies embroidered around the train, as well. The bride wore a silk veil, held in place by Queen Maud’s Diamond and Pearl tiara.

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Bride: Sophie, Countess of Wessex
Designer: Samantha Shaw

1999 was a year for coat wedding dresses. Both Sophie Rhys-Jones and Mathilde d’Udekem d’Acoz were married that year, Sophie and Prince Edward first, in June. The bride was 34, and the dress was a mature choice. Samantha Shaw designed a v-neck coat of made ivory silk organza, tulle and silk crepe. Although it looked simple from a distance, it was embellished with 325,000 pearl and cut-glass beads. The veil was silk tulle and extended beyond the train.

Sophie’s ensemble often loses points due to the much derided tiara, a gift or loan from the Queen. Many felt it had a cobbled together feel. The rather in-your-face necklace, which was designed by her future husband, is a controversial piece as well. The veil suffered from the notoriously windy entrance to St. Georges Chapel. But if you step back and take it all in from afar, it is a lovely and elegant silhouette.

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Bride: Autumn Kelly
Designer: Sassi Holford

Autumn Kelly married Peter Phillips, the Queen’s oldest grandchild, in 2008. If you cast your mind back to those days, you’ll remember that strapless gowns were simply the height of fashion. Royal brides don’t walk down the aisle at St. George’s Chapel in strapless, so a lace bolero came to Autumn’s rescue.

The dress itself was done up in Italian duchesse satin and Chantilly lace, and the short-sleeved bolero was also Chantilly lace. It was embellished with beads to give it an extra sparkle. The dress itself had a simple A-line skirt and a three-tiered sash at the waist. There were Chantilly lace inserts on the train and along the silk tulle veil. The bride secured her veil with the Festoon tiara, borrowed from her mother-in-law.

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Which of these elegant coats/wraps is your favorite?
Britain · Iran · Sweden

Royal Wedding Gowns – Second Wedding Coats and Wraps

This is a continuation of our Wedding Gown post from three weeks ago. Today we’ll look at royal gowns with coats, capes and wraps, in the sub-category of second (and in one case, third) weddings.

Bride: Camilla Parker-Bowles
Designer: Robinson Valentine

This gown was worn at the 2005 ceremonial wedding blessing of Mrs. Parker-Bowles and Prince Charles. Since it was a second wedding gown, it makes sense that the ensemble was not traditionally white or traditionally bridal. Instead, it was a departure, and a lovely one at that. Camilla wore a blue chiffon dress under a blue and gold damask coat, embroidered at the neckline and edged in more contrasting gold. She accessorized with a dramatic spray of a hat by Philip Treacy and small bouquet. Click through to see some shots of the civil wedding ensemble. Two coat dresses for the price of one!

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Bride: Lilian Craig
Designer: Elizabeth Wondrak

The bride was 61, and her groom, Prince Bertil of Sweden, was 64. If you are not familiar with their romance, it’s definitely worth a trip back to Order of Splendor to read up. Both the bride and groom were utterly charming, and had a long back story that is worthy of a romance novel. For their long awaited wedding, Lilian engaged Elizabeth Wondrak, a designer who had worked with her before, and the result was a coat dress done up in ice blue shantug, which featured bell sleeves and an a-line skirt. She carried lilies of the valley, and wore pearl and diamond jewelry. Lilian, who as a former actress had a dramatic flair, also wore a wreath of blue feathers in her hair.


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Bride: Farah Diba
Designer: Yves Saint Laurent for Dior

It is not accurate to say this was a second wedding. It was the bride’s first wedding (she was only 21!), and the groom’s third trip down the altar. For our purposes, though, this will be shoe-horned into this category. Saint Laurent designed a dress that had a scoop neck, which is obscured in most photos by the coat that tied over the chest. The embroidery on the coat and dress contained Persian motifs, and included sequins, imitation pearls, and silver thread. Although it’s hard to tell from contemporary photos, the train also featured a fur-lined hem. The bride iced it up with the fabulous Noor-ol-ain tiara and a diamond necklace. Truly a sumptuous gown, and a dazzling overall ensemble.


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We can’t leave without giving a nod to other notable second and third wedding outings that are coat-adjacent, but really more just standard suit fare. For her second wedding to Commander Timothy Laurence in 1992 at Crathie Kirk, Princess Anne wore a cream suit over a high neck jacket, and accessorized with a spray of blossoms in her hair. For her third wedding to Prince Ernst August of Hanover, Princess Caroline wore a Chanel suit. The wedding was conducted privately in 1999.

Which of these is your favorite?
Austria · France · Monaco

Royal Wedding Gowns – Dramatic Coats and Wraps

You may want to put your feet up for this entry. When I started, I had forgotten there were so many coat wedding dresses in royal-land, but as you will see, even leaving off those we have covered in other categories, it’s a long list. So long that I have divided it into three posts: Drama, Elegance and Second Weddings. Let’s tackle DRAMA! today.

Bride: Philomena de Tornos y Steinhart
Designer: Christian Lacroix

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It’s Lacroix, darling, how could it be anything but dramatic? When The Duke of Vendôme married Philomena de Tornos y Steinhart in May 2009, the bride wore what might be one of the more intricate, dramatic royal wedding gowns ever. Crafted of ivory silk taffeta, the gown featured a fitted bodice with pleated detailing, covered with sparkling embellishments and festooned with tulle. The bodice opened into an enormous, ruched skirt, which, in turn, led to the train. The bolero is covered in dense floral brocade with mother of pearl woven throughout, and the dress is finished off with a blue silk bow around the waist.

The whole look was further dramatized by the turquoise, gold and diamond tiara, which secured the antique ivory veil.

Baroness Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisaz
Designer: Versace

If anyone can give Lacroix a run for the drama money, it’s Versace, right? When Baroness Francesca Thyssen-Bornemiszs married Archduke Karl of Austria in January of 1993, Versace was at the height of his designing powers, and this dress is the epitome of his over-the-top aesthetic.

The wedding was held in the Austro-Hungarian style and the father of the bride led his daughter into the ceremony in traditional Hungarian clothes. The bride’s dress had to compete, and it most certainly did. The relatively simple satin dress was covered with a lace-up coat, which covered the ballgown skirt to dramatic effect. The coat’s embellishments included large buttons and a heavily embroidered cuffs and peplum. The bride wore a pearl and diamond bandeau tiara, which secured the 200-year-old Habsburg veil. The bride wore satin gloves and carried a Mass Book instead of a bouquet. 

Bride: Tatiana Santo Domingo
Designer: Valentino

The religious wedding ceremony of Andrea Casiraghi and Tatiana Santo Domingo was held on February 1, 2014, and it simply oozed winter wedding romance. The pair were married in the old Romanesque monastery of Rougemont,  in Gstaad,  Switzerland, and snow floated gently down over the wedding party and guests. The bride wore bespoke Valentino, and what few photos and sketches we have to piece together the event add up to major atmosphere.

The House of Valentino released an official sketch which showed an ivory cashmere coat, with a hood – very practical way to protect the bride from the cold. The dress itself was elaborate silk tulle and lace macramé, with a fitted bodice and tiered skirt. Tatiana borrowed the fringe Cartier tiara from Princess Caroline, which she wore sans veil.

Which of these dramatic coats and wraps speaks to you?