Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Royal Focus: The Duchess of Windsor's wedding dress

The Duchess of Windsor's wedding dress was made by American designer Mainbocher for her 1937 wedding to the Duke of Windsor.

Made of sapphire blue silk crepe, the dress was cut simply and was floor length, flaring out at the feet like a mermaids tail. Flute-draped into a heart shape at the bust it had a matching long sleeved jacket fastened with a line of covered buttons the size of shelled peas. The original color of the dress was a color that Mainbocher had created for the Duchess called 'Wallis Blue," to match the Duchess's eyes.

Her hat was a blue straw bonnet trimmed with pink and blue coq feathers by Caroline Reboux. Her pale blue crepe wrist-length gloves opened up on the ring finger of her left hand. On her feet she wore powder blue suede pumps with three-inch heels by Georgette of Paris. Although the dye on the dress has faded, the shoes and the coq feathers decorating the hat have retained their color.

On her wedding day, Wallis Warfield (she had changed back to her maiden name) wore the sapphire and diamond 'marriage contract' bracelet on her right wrist.On her left wrist she wore a diamond bracelet with Latin crosses. At the throat of her blue crepe wedding dress, she wore an art deco geometric style curving double clip with oval sapphires and radiating baguette diamonds. This brooch was made by Van Cleef in 1936.

Shortly after the wedding copies of the Duchess of Windsor's wedding dress, which reportedly cost $250, were being sold in various department stores. Like other royal brides. Even on her wedding day she was a trend-setter.

In 1950 the original dress was donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

Image of wedding dress via http://www.metmuseum.org/

Wedding day image via Wikipedia

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