Princess Eu­ge­nie’s dress proudly shows sco­l­io­sis scar

She asked de­sign­ers to add deep V to the back, show­ing stigma can be erased by open­ness

The Niagara Falls Review - - Canada & World - LEANNE DE­LAP

The first glimpse we had of Princess Eu­ge­nie as a bride was peeped through the win­dows of the 1977 Rolls-Royce Phan­tom that bore her and her father, the Duke of York, to St Ge­orge’s Chapel at Wind­sor Cas­tle. The first sur­prise was that the thor­oughly mod­ern princess, a work­ing woman af­ter all, had for­gone a veil in favour of the stun­ning 1921 Gre­ville Emer­ald tiara, a loaner from her grand­mother, the Queen.

But the big re­veal came when she stepped out of the car to ac­cept Prince An­drew’s hand and climb the stairs to the church. Eu­ge­nie had asked her gown de­sign­ers, Pe­ter Pilotto and Christo­pher De Vos, to put a deep V in the back of the dress.

The plunge is a dra­matic de­sign el­e­ment for the over­all el­e­gant and con­ser­va­tive dress. But it also re­vealed Eu­ge­nie’s per­sonal choice to proudly dis­play her sco­l­io­sis scar from surgery she had as a pre­teen. (Eu­ge­nie is also a pa­tron of the Royal Na­tional Or­thopaedic Hospi­tal, where the surgery took place.)

Eu­ge­nie’s de­ci­sion to draw at­ten­tion, un­apolo­get­i­cally, to what might tra­di­tion­ally be viewed as an “im­per­fec­tion” on a day when the whole world is watch­ing her was em­blem­atic of the change dis­rupt­ing the Bri­tish monar­chy. This new gen­er­a­tion of roy­als is us­ing its plat­form to ad­vance so­cial aware­ness on top­ics close to their hearts: from Kate Mid­dle­ton, Prince Wil­liam and Prince Harry’s ini­tia­tive on men­tal health to Meghan Markle speak­ing up about her feel­ings about fem­i­nism, the younger royal crew is mak­ing a dif­fer­ence. The very lit­eral ex­am­ple Eu­ge­nie set has a sym­bolic depth: it makes the point that we should be proud of our jour­neys. And that stigma of all kinds can be erased by open­ness.

Fur­ther sym­bols were wo­ven into the cloth of the dress it­self: this­tle for Bal­moral — where “Granny’s” Scot­tish re­treat is; a sham­rock for mom Fergie’s fam­ily; and the York rose, in hon­our of her fam­ily’s ti­tle (her par­ents re­ceived the Duke­dom of York upon their mar­riage, and so that is the fam­ily crest, so to speak).

Eu­ge­nie had pre­vi­ously con­firmed that she would choose a Bri­tish de­signer. And the win­ning duo, who have a stu­dio in Lon­don’s East End, are long­time favourites of the Princess. Their cre­ation, made of jacquard silk, cot­ton and vis­cose, boasted a long train, which is nec­es­sary for an event of such royal pomp, and a way to lead all those adorable ju­nior at­ten­dants down the aisle.

It fea­tured a por­trait col­lar, with a wrap ef­fect that just cov­ered the princess’s shoul­ders. This is a nec­es­sary el­e­ment of deco­rum tra­di­tional for English church wed­dings, es­pe­cially royal ones, where more mod­ern dis­plays of flesh would be frowned upon.

But from a fash­ion point of view, it is also a dis­creet nod to the ’90s re­vival on the run­ways right now in that shoul­der-em­pha­siz­ing col­lar. Yes, wed­ding dresses are ef­fec­tively time­less in many ways. But a dress such as this (and the Duchess of Sus­sex’s ear­lier this year) are also con­sid­ered di­rec­tional cou­ture pieces.

And the show­stop­per tiara: Eu­ge­nie had been ex­pected to wear the York tiara, which now be­longs to her mother as it was a bridal gift to Fergie from the Queen. But as was the case with Kate and Meghan, Eu­ge­nie prob­a­bly was pre­sented with “a se­lec­tion” of tiaras from which to choose.

The full name of this one is the Gre­ville Emer­ald Kokoshnik tiara, in the style of the Rus­sian Im­pe­rial Court. Mrs. Gre­ville was a Bri­tish phi­lan­thropist who loved tiaras and loved to make them fa­mous by giv­ing them to roy­als, thus en­sur­ing her name would live on amongst the Crown jew­els. She willed this par­tic­u­lar one to Queen El­iz­a­beth in 1942. It boasts six emer­alds, with the huge one in the cen­tre weigh­ing in at 93 carats.

Princess Eu­ge­nie com­pleted her look with Char­lotte Olympia shoes and emer­ald drop ear­rings (the lat­ter were a gift from her new hubby), and her stun­ner of an en­gage­ment ring: a huge pad­parad­scha sap­phire of the palest pink, which is quite rare. The de­sign, ringed by di­a­monds, seemed to pay trib­ute to her own mother’s ruby en­gage­ment ring from Prince An­drew.

In the royal wardrobe, ev­ery­thing is loaded with hid­den mean­ings. But Fri­day, Princess Eu­ge­nie made a very vis­i­ble state­ment to try to re­duce stigma around her child­hood strug­gles: to use the spot­light to add some­thing to the con­ver­sa­tion.

THE KIT is Canada’s beauty and style leader. Visit THEKIT.CA for beauty and style trends, test-drives and in­ter­views with the in­dus­try’s power play­ers.


Princess Eu­ge­nie’s dress re­veals the long scar on her back from surgery she had at age 12 to cor­rect sco­l­io­sis.

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