I’ve done several Throwback wedding posts and have resisted the urge all along to talk about Princess Diana, but then there I was last night watching Access Hollywood and found the perfect excuse to write about her. It turns out her world famous wedding gown is being handed over to her sons William and Harry on September 15th, Harry’s 30th birthday. And so for today’s Throwback Thursday I give you Princess Diana’s 1981 silk taffeta wedding gown.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that for the contemporary bridal world this gown is an inspiration. It is the cornerstone of a whole new kind of wedding and wedding industry. The twenty-five foot train, the ten thousand pearls, the sleeves a mile high. It’s no wonder that this gown is so famous. It’s no wonder that it travels the world on display. It was made to make a statement, and it certainly does. It inspired and is inspired by a time period of opulence and excess and it foreshadows bridal trends of the 1980’s. How many people tried to mimic the puffs of those sleeves? Too many to count.
Certainly the mystique of the royal family itself and the tragedy that surrounds the story of Princess Diana help lend her gown a certain extra air of fascination. It’s not just the gown that draws people in. It’s the window that it provides into a regal and majestic world. Of course the fascination people feel for the royal family is far too big a topic for such a small blog post, but it is interesting the way this wedding gown (and of a marriage that ended in divorce no less) has become such a world renown symbol. People stand in line for the chance to see it and I am not embarrassed to say that if it ever toured Baltimore I would be right there to see it.
Perhaps it is because that despite how over-the-top the gown is and how symbolic of the 1980’s it is, it’s oddly timeless. As it rests in its protective glass case it’s easy to imagine that it is hundred years old, and it is equally easy to imagine crowds gathered around it in another hundred years.