16 October 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Viscountess Linley's Gown

Viscount Linley and The Hon. Serena Stanhope
October 8, 1993
St. Margaret's Church, Westminster, London

David, Viscount Linley, is the son of the late Princess Margaret and the Earl of Snowdon. He married 23-year-old Serena Stanhope, the daughter of Viscount Petersham (who has since succeeded his own father as the Earl of Harrington), after reportedly meeting her when his furniture firm was commissioned to design a dining room table for her father. We've paid quite a bit of attention to the wedding gown of Princess Margaret's daughter, Lady Sarah Chatto, here - it is a constant favorite - but scarcely any to Serena's, and we're about to remedy that. Because this one has quite a bit to discuss, namely its resemblance to another constant favorite.
That constant favorite would be Margaret's own gown, of course. Serena asked Bruce Robbins to design her wedding dress, and a tribute to her new mother-in-law was born. The two share a long sleeve, v-neck top, a fitted waist and a full skirt, but Serena's gown uses a two-piece approach: the oyster satin coat has a split waist that swings back to a knot on top of the skirt (not unlike the general shape of the morning coats worn by gentlemen), and the switch to tulle for the voluminous skirt lends some textural contrast. The train on the tulle skirt was around two meters in length. The cost was reported at the time to have been around $9,000. (Though the connection to Princess Margaret is the one most often reported, as noted in previous comments it is also a dead ringer for a Christian Dior gown from the late 1940s.)
The bride's large updo, styled by Nicky Clarke, was again reminiscent of the bouffant sported by Princess Margaret. Instead of the Poltimore Tiara, the new Viscountess Linley borrowed the Lotus Flower Tiara from her mother-in-law. This was paired with a simple tulle veil.

Video: Diana at the wedding, with a few glimpses of the bridal couple
This wedding came in the midst of the years of serious Windsor family drama. There was plenty of media focus on who showed up (the Princess of Wales), who didn't (the Prince of Wales, in Turkey on official business, plus the Duke of Edinburgh and the embattled Yorks), and how they greeted each other (a kiss from Anne to Diana! What a shocker!). In the face of all that, I say a dramatic showpiece dress was a nice change of topic - and an explosion of tulle always brings the fairytale back to life, even for just a minute.

What do you say: a winner or no?

Photos: Corbis/Hola/Getty Images