10 October 2012

Readers’ Top 10 Wedding Gowns: #7. The Duchess of Cornwall

It must have been a daunting question to ponder, as a designer: How do you dress Camilla Parker Bowles for her marriage to Prince Charles? The couple was finally walking down the aisle decades after meeting, and with scandal, divorce, and tragedy in their past. Public opinion was sharply divided, and there was no precedent to follow, really. If anything, there was only precedent to run away from, since that the dress from the Prince of Wales’ first wedding is well into iconic status. Given just 6 weeks to get it done, the Robinson Valentine label solved the puzzle, and the result has a well earned spot at #7 on your countdown.
Charles and Camilla’s wedding day, April 9, 2005, took place in two parts. First, the bride had her bridal white moment at Windsor Guildhall for the civil service. Her white dress featured large cream disks for embellishment at the bottom and was worn under an oyster silk basket weave coat with a Prince of Wales feathers brooch at her lapel and a large Philip Treacy hat. The practical bride has reworn all the pieces of this look in public since the wedding.
Later, the couple headed to St. George’s Chapel inside the Windsor Castle grounds for the blessing service. Sartorially, this was the trickiest part, as anything too white, too poufy, or too grand would just not do. So they went in the other direction: a sleek blue and gold damask coat, just a hint of a train, and just a touch of embellishment at the collar in gold embroidery in a design inspired by a jewel in the collection of Camilla's late mother. The coat was worn over a soft blue chiffon dress. She accessorized with a small bouquet of flowers and a gold headdress (again, from Treacy) standing in for a tiara.
The woman that had taken so much bashing over the years for her looks proved that she can look regal, glamorous, and just plain good. She also set the standard that she wasn’t going to attempt to take over the memory of Diana – she’s just herself. Given that the word used over and over again in voting was "appropriate", I'd say Robinson Valentine hit all the right notes.

What puts this gown in the Top 10 for you?

Click here to see my original entry on Camilla's dress.

Photos: Getty Images/Corbis/AP