23 May 2012

Wedding Wednesday: Princess Märtha Louise's Gown

HH Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and Ari Behn
May 24, 2002
Trondheim, Norway

Princess Märtha Louise, only daughter of King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway, has a tendency towards the dramatic in her clothes and in other areas of her life. When you take into account that this princess has made a habit of performing theatrical readings of folk tales, it’s no surprise that her 2002 wedding to author Ari Behn is full of inspiration and fairytale details. (And emotion: click here for a glimpse of the ceremony.)
Norwegian designer Wenche Lyche designed the dress, and she’s also behind some of Märtha Louise’s other memorable outfits. The wedding gown is actually two pieces: a coat (which includes the train) and a dress underneath. The coat was worn during the ceremony and was removed afterward for the reception.
The Swarovski crystal-embellished coat has two major sources of inspiration: the Märtha lily, and the Gothic arches of Nidaros Cathedral where the ceremony took place. The color of the off-white duchesse satin used echoes the color of the lily, and the form of the coat also mimics the flower. The Gothic inspiration is most prevalent in the pointed arch tip of the three meter train on the coat – certainly one of the most memorable aspects of this wedding outfit.
Sentimental touches abound: the letters “A” and “M” are woven into the design, a “thread of life” vine is embroidered around the edge of the train and the end of the train features an embroidered circle of five lilies (five being a sacred number for a wedding). The trumpet sleeves are inspired by Queen Sonja’s wedding gown. The clasp at the front of the jacket is a bejeweled “A” for Ari made of cultured pearls, 16 brilliants, and gold and was intended to be worn as a brooch on the dress underneath after the coat was taken off.
This was all topped by a silk chiffon veil in the same cut as the train, anchored by Queen Maud’s Pearl and Diamond Tiara (more on that tomorrow). Maud was Märtha Louise’s great-grandmother, and is the namesake of her first child.
The dress under the coat, sewn by Anna Bratland, is a much simpler affair of sleeveless white silk crepe. But the inspiration never goes away: the Gothic shapes are present again in the V-shape neckline (at both the front and back).
Märtha Louise and Ari have not been without controversy in their ten years of marriage. Märtha Louise was entitled to the style of Her Royal Highness but her father (with her consent) removed it in 2002 to allow her more freedom in her personal business dealings. She is still in the line of succession and carries out some royal duties; in Norway she is simply Princess Märtha Louise, and abroad uses the style of Her Highness.
This action hasn’t saved Märtha Louise from scrutiny, though. Her personal beliefs and business dealings have caused controversy: she claims to communicate with angels and has written a book and started a school to help you do the same. She’s been accused of using her royal status to further her business interests, and the difference between her beliefs and the beliefs of the church her father heads have also sparked comment. Ari’s had his own issues, making political comments (a general no-no for a royal), discussing his depression publicly, and so on.
The couple has three daughters: Maud Angelica, Leah Isadora, and Emma Tallulah. It was recently announced that they will be relocating to London…and the palace confirmed that Märtha Louise won’t be opening any angel schools while there.

Do you think Märtha Louise's gown is too themed, or just right?

Photos: Svenskdam/Scanpix/VG/Adressa/NRK