Today Princess Eugenie of York surprised everyone with her choice of wedding dress, as she turned to a London-based design duo who isn't known for bridalwear: Peter Pilotto and Christopher de Vos. The gown is a traditional '50s silhouette with a full skirt and fitted bodice and is made from a floral appliqué satin silk. Modern touches include an off-the-shoulder neckline and a mirrored V neckline down the back.
The princess added symbols that have a special meaning to her and Jack Brooksbank to the fabric, which was made at the design studio in East London. They include a Thistle for Scotland as a nod to Balmoral Castle, a favorite vacation spot for the royal family; a shamrock for Ireland as a nod to the Ferguson family, and the York rose and ivy.
Princess Eugenie’s dress shows her scars from a spinal operation to correct curvature of the spine that she had when she was 12 years old. The princess invited representatives from the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust, and explained to Eamonn Holmes on This Morning why it was important for her to not hide her scars: “I think you can change the way beauty is, and you can show people your scars, and I think it's really special to stand up for that.”
Eugenie surprised many by not wearing a veil. Instead she wore the Grenville Tiara, which belonged to the Queen mother and has a beautiful center emerald. She wore a pair of matching emerald and diamond earrings that Jack made as a wedding gift. As for the shoes, she turned to another London-based designer, Charlotte Olympia.
What do the bridal experts make of the design? "The princess is wearing an extremely beautiful '50s-inspired fine silk jacquard dress with a very full, circular skirt," says couture wedding dress designer Phillipa Lepley. "It is a great dress for her shape, and it is very flattering. The combination of the clever pleating on the front adding detail, the double pleat within the collar, and a low-cut back make it very individual. It is the perfect balance of traditional classic with a sleek modern edge.
Lovely and timeless but with a twist."
"Princess Eugenie has perfectly balanced staying on trend, while also maintaining a certain level of tradition in her choice of dress," says Hamish Shephard, founder of Bridebook. "Just like Meghan's dress, Princess Eugenie's is made of a satin silk and has beautiful open shoulders. But unlike Meghan's, Princess Eugenie's is noticeably more traditional in its inclusion of a floral appliqué pattern and more intricate folding and structure to the dress. The pleats and folds add an air of tradition and formality that was not as present in Meghan's choice."
Princess Eugenie and the designers looked at archive royal wedding dress imagery, and Hamish notes that you can see this in the dress: "The combination of the material that the dress is made of, a shiny satin, and the satin floral overlay, is reminiscent of Princess Diana's wedding dress and the more traditional royal wedding dresses of the past. The open shoulders, similar to Meghan's modern take on the royal wedding dress, are balanced by the formal pleats and folds of the thick material, keeping the dress traditional and suitable for a princess."
Peter Pilotto isn't a name that any editors would have thought of for this commission, however, Princess Eugenie said in an interview she knew exactly who she wanted to work with on her dress: "[The dress] is the one thing that I was really decisive about. As soon as we announced the wedding, I knew the designer, and the look, straight away. I never thought I'd be the one who knew exactly what I like, but I've been pretty on top of it."
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This post originally appeared on Who What Wear UK.