20 October 2012

The Luxembourg Royal Wedding: The Bride and Bridal Party

I suspect many of us knew as we approached this wedding that this was our best shot at getting an Elie Saab royal wedding dress...maybe ever. I tried hard not to get my hopes too far up just in case Stéphanie stuck to her Belgian roots instead, because coming so close and missing would have been so very very sad.
Turns out, there was no need for all that fuss. Last night’s Elie Saab festival was indeed a foreshadowing of today’s events, and the Belgian countess walked down the aisle clad in Elie Saab Couture. It was, in some ways, exactly what you’d expect from this designer. He certainly has a couture style, which is part of the reason why I love his work: you can tell this stuff is couture from a mile away, every tiny embellishment expertly completed by hand. And in the case of this dress, that personal effort took 3,200 hours for embroidery from a team of 15 people and 700 hours from a team of 10 seamstresses.
The dress featured three-quarter sleeves, a neckline which was high in the front and dipped in the back, and a belted waist above a full skirt and 4.5 meter train. Masses of fabric went into this creation: 70 meters of silk crepe and tulle for the lining, plus another 30 meters of satin organza, 50 meters of Chantilly lace, and 40 meters of Calais lace. More silk tulle was used for the veil. The leafy pattern embellished all over the ensemble included 50,000 pearls, 80,000 crystals, and 10,000 meters of silver embroidery thread.
She wore a Lannoy family tiara, made of platinum and diamonds with a large inverted pear shape diamond in the high center. It was made by Althenloh of Brussels and was worn by Stéphanie’s sisters and sisters-in-law at their weddings. (Click here for more from the Luxarazzi blog.) I couldn’t help but pine for my favorite Belgian Scroll Tiara, but this was no doubt both the logical and sentimental choice for the bride. She also wore diamond earrings, a delicate necklace, and her late mother’s engagement ring as well as her own.
Watching the wedding, I kept thinking: this is just so royal. It was made for that cathedral. The scale of the train was just right for the overhead shots and was the right size to drape over the stairs as the bride sat during the ceremony. And the back view was interesting, not just for the attention of the wedding guests, but for the cameras. Well planned and extravagant all at once: there’s no more I could ask for.
The Hereditary Grand Duke, her best accessory, was dashing as always in his distinctive Grand Ducal military uniform, wearing the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau and the Crown Order string.
Stéphanie was attended by two older bridesmaids, her new sister-in-law Princess Alexandra and her niece Antonia Hamilton. Both were dressed in peach/orange dresses from Edouard Vermeulen of Natan. Not the ultimate in flattering gowns, really.
Guillaume’s nephew Prince Gabriel plus a nephew and nieces of Stéphanie’s made up the orange and blue clad younger party. Now, there’s all sorts of logic at work here: obviously some historical inspiration which is a common theme in royal weddings, and orange and blue are the colors of the House of Nassau. The kids were adorable and impeccably behaved, but the outfits are still topping my personal list of worst wedding flower children ensembles. Poor dears. Let's get back to the Elie Saab, then.

What did you think of Stéphanie’s wedding gown?

Coming later: the guests.

Photos: Purepeople/Abaca/Getty Images/Elie Saab