13 June 2010

Top 10 Best Royal Wedding Dresses: #9. HRH Princess Claire

Claire Coombs and HRH Prince Laurent of Belgium
April 12, 2003

When watching a royal wedding, you find yourself waiting in gleeful anticipation for the appearance of the bride. You expect something spectacular; you know that when tiaras and cathedral-length trains and veils combine the effect can be explosive.  And sometimes, when you see a dress emerge, your mind will be sufficiently blown with over-the-top dress fabulousness.

Other times, what emerges might be simple; it might not be extravagant, but it still takes your breath away. Perhaps even more so, because it wasn't what you were expecting. These are the dresses that remind us that good design is just as much about simplicity as it is about fireworks. Case in point: Princess Claire.
When British-born, Belgian-raised Claire Coombs married Prince Laurent (son King Albert and Queen Paola), the simple elegance of her dress won the day.
Just as he designed her sister-in-law Princess Mathilde's triumph, NATAN's Edouard Vermeulen designed this dress for Claire.  While he has been responsible for some of the biggest fashion mistakes made by the Benelux royals, this was another success.
Claire wore the same antique veil as Mathilde, but here, Vermeulen accentuates the lace on the veil by adding an overlay bodice made of chantilly lace from Calais.
I love the effect - like a lace shirt worn over a strapless dress.  Lace can get so heavy on a wedding dress, but this is light and airy.

Also light and airy:  Claire's tiara.
The diadem was a gift from the King and Queen, and it is as perfect as perfect can be, isn't it?  She has such a delicate face, and the design and scale of the tiara are just right. She also wore a pair of pearl earrings which were a gift from Queen Paola's family.

If your eyes haven't yet convinced you that this dress belongs in the Top 10, check this out:
That would be Anne Hathaway as "Princess Mia" in The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.  Which came out in 2004 - after Claire's wedding.  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?

Click here to see all of the Top 10 dresses!

Photos:  Rex Features/IBL/Getty Images/Peter de Voecht/Belga/Hello/Corbis