23 March 2012

Flashback Friday: Extreme Dress Makeovers

Way back in January, Crown Princess Mary turned up at the annual New Year's Courts in two old dresses recut, restyled, and repurposed.
In red in 2007 and 2012; in blue in 2006 and 2012
Mary's craftiness naturally started me thinking about other royals that have sent their clothes in for some sartorial surgery - it doesn't take a royal fashion encyclopedia to guess that Mary's far from the first to try it. In fact, this isn't even the first time Mary's tried this thrifty strategy for a new look.
In blue lace in 2004 and 2009; draped in 2010 and 2011
Fancy (and pricey) blue lace from an early gown was recut into a new shape for a trip to Vietnam in 2009, and just last year in Australia she debuted a remake of the Jesper Høvring gown she wore to Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden's wedding. Like many, I wondered at the time of the wedding if the original lace of the gown wasn't just a temporary solution to cover her shoulders for the church - after all, it did seem a bit of an odd match. But the extra over the shoulder touch in the finished product was a wonderful surprise outcome.

If Mary has the redesign flair, it's easy to trace it back to a possible source: none other than her mother-in-law, Queen Margrethe. Not at all surprising from such a creative mind, right?
In pink at Frederik and Mary's wedding in 2004 and the New Year's Court 2012; in the original blue and the end dress on display
Queen Margrethe's wonderful ensemble for Mary and Frederik's wedding lives on, though not in exactly the same amount of wonderfulness as the fuchsia coat has been recut into a regular frock. And one of the dresses included in the jubilee exhibit of her gala gowns has been redone several times: first made by Eric Mortensen for Balmain in 1990, Margrethe later had her trusty couturier Jørgen Bender alter the neckline and sleeves twice before adding on the dramatic lace overlay.

In 2004, 2005, and 2009
Another example we've seen before comes from Spain and the always budget conscious Princess Letizia. Her pre-wedding dinner dress came from Spanish royal favorite Lorenzo Caprile, and Caprile was called upon to change it up for a state visit the year after the wedding. But at some point, Letizia went totally off of Caprile and switched to Felipe Varela for reasons unknown. The third alteration of the dress, in 2009, was not Caprile's work...a fact which I think is quite evident. Important note about dress redos: quit while you're ahead.

In 2006 and 2011
Stepping out of the gown realm for a quick second, Kate Middleton made a thrifty pre-wedding splash by chopping some serious inches off of an old Katherine Hooker coat. It would not surprise me at all if she ends up with quite a string of clever reworks to her name as her royal years add up.

In 1989 and 1992
Perhaps she'll one day take a page out of Diana's book and cut any whiff of outdated flair right out of a look. The full skirt on this Catherine Walker gown gave way to a much sleeker sheath dress, all while keeping the intricate top.

In 1984 and 2001
Last but not least, look at this: even the Queen of Thrifty Royals, Princess Anne, isn't opposed to hacking up a 1980s monstrosity. Which leaves me with but one question...why doesn't she do it more often?!

These are by no means the only examples out there of royal dress makeovers, so let me ask you this:

What's your favorite dress redo?
And for bonus points:
Which current royal dress would you like to see go under the scissors?

Photos: Daylife/Mirror/Scanpix/PPE/Colourpress