12 September 2012

Wedding Wednesday: Natan Gowns

If you’d have asked me a few weeks ago to predict the designer of Countess Stéphanie de Lannoy’s wedding gown, I would have confidently put my money on Natan’s Edouard Vermeulen. After all, Natan is a Belgian brand from a Belgian designer and of course our fair countess is Belgian; her major public appearances to date have all been in Natan; and her future mother- and sister-in-law are big fans. But if Mr. Vermeulen ends up on a commentary team for the wedding broadcast, I might have to retract my bets (the designer needs to be there to tend to the bride, not gabbing for the cameras, no?). Regardless, it’s still worth a look at his royal wedding gown history. We gots to be prepared.

Natan is a staple with royal ladies in the Netherlands and Belgium as well as Luxembourg. There are three major royal wedding gowns attributed to Natan - and it will shock no one that they all belong to Benelux princesses. What may come as a shock - to those that join me in getting tired of the often ill-fitting off the rack creations some of these princesses endlessly sport from this designer, at least – is how well he fares on the bridal front.

The coat dress worn by Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz for her 1999 wedding to Prince Philippe of Belgium has a spot on my current list of top 10 royal wedding gowns (though, to be honest with you, it would probably get the boot if I redid the list now). It was a wonderful solution for a December wedding, and the high collar gives it just a touch of flair – but not too much, for this bride was a little too sweet for something with heavy design features. (Incidentally, he also designed the gown of Mathilde’s sister Elisabeth.)

Laurentien Brinkhorst chose Natan for her 2001 wedding to Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands. This is a lot of dress, with a lot of fabric and some strong design features, but the bride pulls it off. I give it a thumbs up, even though it doesn't make my list of eternal favorites.

There is a Natan design on my list of eternal favorites – on my current top 10 and will forever be. Claire Coombs’ dress for her 2003 wedding to Prince Laurent of Belgium is perfection. The skirt has just the right amount of fullness – and just the right length of train, swooping out at a delicious angle – while the lace top adds the required modesty and a bit of sweetness. If all the dresses were like this, I wouldn’t mind one bit if Vermueleon ends up being the designer behind our upcoming Luxembourg wedding.

What do you think: how does Natan rate in the bridal world? Who do you bet will be behind Stéphanie's wedding gown?

Photos: Corbis/Rex Features