09 October 2012

Readers' Top 10 Wedding Gowns: #8. Princess Charlene of Monaco

Charlene Wittstock relied on Armani for dress advice often as the girlfriend of Monaco’s Prince Albert, so it was no surprise to learn she turned to him for the gown for her July 2, 2011 religious wedding (after using Princess Caroline’s good friend Karl Lagerfeld for her unconventional civil wedding selection). You can tell we’re talking about pure couture from the numbers alone:
  • In the dress: 50 meters of off white silk duchess, 80 meters of silk organza, and 2,500 hours of work.
  • In the embroidery down the front, the skirt, and the center of the train: 40,000 Swarovski crystals, 20,000 mother of pearl teardrops, 30,000 gold stones all in a floral pattern with platinum-coated thread completed in 700 hours.
  • In the veil: 20 meters of off white silk tulle, plus more embroidery.
It was the perfect dress for the wedding at hand: embroidery to shimmer in the sun for the outdoor ceremony, a light slightly off the shoulder top and front veil delicate enough not to make the Monaco heat worse, and a mega train grand enough for the setting and the position (after all, she was marrying the sovereign prince).
The larger train extended from the back of the crossed shoulder detail and was removable, while the slim skirt had a smaller train of its own underneath. Charlene is all too often compared to the blonde mother-in-law she never met, Princess Grace, and her gown seemed carefully designed to avoid further comparisons to one of the most famous gowns in royal wedding history.
Her hair was pulled back and ornamented with en tremblant diamond floral pieces dating from the 19th century which belonged to Albert’s grandmother Princess Charlotte and were borrowed from Princess Caroline for the occasion. Despite the fact that I am 100% on Team Tiara when it comes to royal weddings, this is one of my all time favorite royal wedding hairstyles – it’s delicate and perfect, and she looked lovely.
Directly after the wedding, there were some divided opinions on the dress. But apparently a year has calmed quibbles with dart placement on the front and the slightly odd double train arrangement and the loveliness won out, claiming the gown the #8 spot on your royal wedding dress countdown. (As a side note, I’d really like to ask Charlene herself what she thinks of her gown, since it’s so curious to me that she’s basically broken up with Armani entirely since the wedding, but I digress.)

What puts this gown in the Top 10 for you?

Click here to read my original post on Charlene's gown.

Photos: Getty Images/AOP/Vogue