Notes on the Royal Wedding – by Marilyn Kirschner

Adding My Two Cents (Or Should I Say, Two Pence)

Photo: AP

Talk about going from the sublime to the ridiculous. On Thursday evening just hours before the Royal Wedding would take place, all the major American newscasters who had temporarily set up shop in London (was there anyone left in New York?), appropriately dressed in their best tailored jackets and chic colorful trench coats, began their prime time broadcasts not with news of the festivities and frivolities to come, but with the sobering news that killer tornadoes ripping across Alabama and Georgia, had claimed the lives over 280 Americans. What a time to drive home the dichotomy between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’! But regardless of how one really feels about the royals, especially in light of the harsh realities of life, it was hard, rather impossible actually, NOT to get somewhat caught up in all the hoopla surrounding the royal nuptials. And with all the consistently bad news these days, getting a glimpse inside the other wordly rarefied world of the royals (the jewels, the castles, the cars, the pomp and circumstance surrounding their stately occasions, etc.) provided a guilty pleasure, temporary diversion, and escape.

Who doesn’t love a fairy tale? And let’s be honest, isn’t it the dream of most young girls (not to mention some old bags), to be swept away by Prince Charming? I for one, awoke at 4 am this morning to watch the events of the day unfold, watching guests, like Victoria Beckham clad in a dress of her own design (natch) and a sculptural Philip Treacy hat perched on her chic little head, filing into Westminister Abbey. FYI, watching the procession of fantastical hats prompted Today Show’s Matt Lauer to ask whether the Royal Wedding would be a catalyst for a hat revival. For this event, everyone it seems, became a fashion correspondent – LOL.

Everyone else has weighed in on Duchess Catherine’s status as a fashion icon-in-the making, and in the weeks leading up to the royal wedding, there was constant talk and speculation about THE DRESS (which was the most deeply guarded secret in eons). So I figured I’d add my two cents (or should I say, two pence). And as a Princess myself, well..okay, a JAP anyway (fyi,I can say it,you can’t), and a longtime fashion observer, I feel I am eminently qualified to voice my opinions.

Look, Princess Catherine is undeniably a natural regal beauty with a photogenic smile, gorgeous hair, and an enviably lithe 5’10” frame, and quite frankly, she’d look great wearing that proverbial paper bag. And now, she is now not only fabulously wealthy, but in a position where looking perfect 24/7 is part of her royal duties. And I must say that based on what I’ve seen of her thus far, her fashion choices have been spot on, and I don’t think I’ve seen her look anything but totally appropriate, youthful, chic, and quite fashionable (without looking like a hopeless fashion victim). The perfect modern combination. Unlike the young Princess Diana, who had a lot early missteps to be sure, and ‘blossomed’ a bit later on, Kate has a strong sense of herself and seems to know innately what suits her and she sticks with it. She favors sleek lines that perfectly showcase her lean frame, fitted jackets and coats, and skirt lengths that hit her just above the knee (all the better to show off her sleek legs), and she is somewhat minimal in that she doesn’t favor a lot of jewelry or accessories.

For example, at one public appearance with Prince William prior to the wedding, she chose a bright red fitted peplum suit with a narrow above the knee length skirt, which she accessorized with a fitted black turtleneck, black narrow belt, black clutch, black opaque tights, and black suede tall boots. She could not have looked better (even if she were styled by a Vogue editor). Also beyond reproach was the above the knee length tan Burberry trenchcoat with its flirtatiously skirted hem. It was not so over the top that it made her look as though she was trying too hard, but it was not so plain that it looked dull and boring (again- the perfect combination). She wears the clothes- they don’t wear her.

And that continued with her choice of wedding gown. The incredibly flattering Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen creation (a choice that should permanently endear her to fashion insiders what with the upcoming exhibit at the Met’s Costume Institute) with its fitted lace bodice and dramatic back and train, was undeniably fantastical, but not so much that she got lost in it. It looked believable and she still looked like Catherine. And since her fashion look is already inspiring plenty of hopeful imitators and Catherine ‘would be’s’, it’s a sure bet that her decision to wear her hair down will mean that many young brides will follow suit, rather than putting their hair up in buns and complicated updoes.

For the record, I must give kudos to the members of the Royal Wedding Party as well. Kate’s mom looked beautiful and appropriate in her pale blue tailored coat and dress, Kate’s sister perfectly complimented and mirrored her, as she followed the Princess down the aisle in her simple yet stunning long ivory dress with it’s subtly fishtail skirt, Queen Elizabeth looked smart in her pale yellow tailored ensemble (though I still don’t think she needs to carry such a large purse!), and even Camilla Parker Bowles looked uncharacteristically pulled together, not at all frumpy. And of course, the guys all looked perfectly magnificent in their regal, military dress uniforms.

– Marilyn Kirschner

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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