Women Wearing Italian Designers Shine at the Royal Wedding & Met Gala
The Royal Wedding
The eyes of the world were turned on London when Prince William married Kate Middleton, the new Duchess of Cambridge, recently. While many were moved by the display of love and the pomp and circumstance of the momentous occasion, others were just excited about the fashion. Of course, one of the biggest fashion secrets in recent months was exactly who would be designing Kate’s gown. A British designer was a given and on the wedding day it was discovered that Kate’s classic lace gown was in fact designed by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen. Of course, Kate wasn’t the only one generating fashion buzz at the royal wedding. Kate’s sister Pippa, also in McQueen, became an instant star when she walked down the aisle in a clingy white number and since then the outfits–and hats–of the royal wedding guests have been dissected and examined. Not surprisingly some of the best dressed royal wedding guests were wearing Italian.
Princess Beatrice, the daughter of Prince Andrew and first cousin of Prince William, garnered some criticism for her out-there headwear but almost all fashion critics agreed that her taupe dress and coat from Valentino Couture were flawless. Sophie Windsor, wife of Lord Frederick Windsor, was also one of the best dressed of the day, wowing in a sophisticated and elegant navy blue Armani Privé dress-and-coat combo (her architectural hat was called “The Stealth” and designed by milliner to the royals and the stars Philip Treacy). According to Armani, Lady Windsor’s dress was fashioned out of silk cady and was “worn with a short coat in silk jacquard fabric with a glossy/opaque checkerboard pattern.” Sophie also wore Armani for the evening festivities–a one-shouldered gunmetal grey dress made of silk chiffon that featured tone-on-tone embroidery on the bust.
For HRH Princess Mathilde of Belgium’s ceremony outfit, Armani also went for blue. This time a bright hue in what the company labels “petrol blue.” The Princess’ knee-length silk organza was worn with a matching jacket and a hat quite similar to the one worn by Lady Windsor. Giorgio Armani was also responsible for the navy blue gown worn by Tatiana of Greece and Denmark at the evening reception. Armani describes the gown as having a “bodice in silk grosgrain with irregular plissé finish.”
One of the most watched ladies at the royal wedding was Prince Harry’s on-again, off-again girlfriend Chelsy Davy. The blonde wore custom-made Alberta Ferretti outfits to both the ceremony and the evening reception. While Davy garnered some flack for the aqua green bias reverse satin dress she wore to the ceremony with a matching aqua green faille silk boat neck jacket, critics agreed that the midnight blue one-shouldered crepe satin gown was a much better fit. When asked about inspiration for Chelsy’s designs Ferretti said, “the colors I have chosen are all in the blue and green tones which match perfectly with her eyes, hair and skin tone.”
Another royal wedding guest decked out in Italian designs was Prince William’s ex Arabella Musgrove, who wore a vibrant red dress by Gucci. Not surprising as Ms. Musgrove is in PR for the design house.
The Met Gala
The annual Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is often referred to as the Oscars of the fashion world. The Met gala’s red carpet is a closely watched and dissected event where starlets and supermodels show up alongside designers in some truly gorgeous fashions and, sometimes, some completely egregious missteps. It’s safe to say that 2011 is shaping up to be the year of McQueen, and only days after being announced to the world as the designer of Kate Middleton’s wedding dress Sarah Burton was in New York for the Met’s tribute to Alexander McQueen, Burton’s mentor and the namesake of the house she works for. The exhibition, entitled Savage Beauty, was co-chaired by Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, designer Stella McCartney and actor Colin Firth and was meant to “evoke a gothic fairy tale” according to curator Andrew Bolton. Salma Hayek and her husband Francois-Henri Pinault acted as honorary chairs. Not surprisingly there was a plethora of both McQueen (Gisele Bundchun, Daphne Guinness, Anna Dello Russo, Sarah Jessica Parker) and McCartney (Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna, Iman, Eva Mendes) on the red carpet on May 2nd.
The red carpet was also rife with Italian designers. One of the most notable Italian-designed gowns was the vibrant vermillion Gucci worn by Jennifer Lopez. Singer Janelle Monáe showed up in a spangly pantsuit designed by Dolce & Gabbana, while both Dakota and Elle Fanning were dressed in Valentino. Mr. Garavani himself arrived at the event arm in arm with Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova in a black crepe 2007 Valentino Couture gown embellished with crystals and ostrich feathers.
Both Margherita Missoni and actress Joy Bryant turned up wearing light colored Missoni knits, while Beyonce wore a black and gold Emilio Pucci gown so tight it took two men to help her up the stairs. Supermodel Doutzen Kroes donned a dramatic red Giambattista Valli.
There were also quite a few instances of dresses designed by Italian-born designers, like Riccardo Tisci and Stefano Pilati, who now work for foreign design houses. Tisci’s Givenchy Couture creations could be seen on actress Liv Tyler and supermodel Mariacarla Boscono while singer Florence Welsh turned up in a floaty design by Pilati for Yves Saint Laurent.
Italians Rodolfo Paglialunga and Matteo Marzotto, formerly of Valentino, have been doing great work reviving French fashion house Vionnet, which they have now relocated to Milan. Madeleine Vionnet was the French designer known for her Grecian-style dresses and dubbed the “Queen of the bias cut.” Dresses bearing the Vionnet name were seen on the Met’s red carpet on actresses Lucy Liu and LeeLee Sobieski.
At big time fashion events like the recent royal wedding and Met gala Italian designers were out in full force, dressing royals and stars alike in beautiful and elegant designs sure to further the reputation of Italian fashion in the world.