Monday, September 30, 2013

Those Bridesmaid Dresses

Photos: Getty Images / Best Image
When the bridesmaids of Princess Claire stepped out in a pale blue chiffon and lace gown which bore striking resemblance to a dress worn by the Duchess of Cambridge last year, everyone was quick to assume that they were wearing a dress by Jenny Packham as the dress worn by the Duchess had been confirmed to be by that designer. Some even went as far as saying that Princess Alexandra had taken fashion inspiration from the British royal as it was clearly her who chose all the bridesmaids' dresses and it seems unimaginable to some that not everyone follows Kate's every step and fashion choices.

It was, however, quickly confirmed by the cour grand-ducale that the dress featuring a belt with a hand-beaded inset on the waist as well as lace inserts on the sweetheart neckline, bodice sides and cap sleeves was indeed made by Tadashi Shoji. The Japanese-born American designer is known for his quality work without the premium prices that so many other designers have. While Jenny Packham's 'Aspen' gown from the Spring 2012 collection will easily cost you a few thousand bucks, the Shoji dress is available for less than US$500.
Photos: Jenny Packham / Getty Images / Tadashi Shoji / Pronovias
On our quest to find more about the two dresses, we also came across a Pronovias dress with similar features, especially from the front. Upon closer inspection of the backs of the gowns, there are, however, a few distinct features that let you tell the dresses apart (in addition to the slightly different necklince from the front).

While the Duchess of Cambridge's bespoke Jenny Packham dress (which is also available as a wedding gown) features Swarovski crystals on the lace as well as buttons and a bow on the back; the Tadashi dress is a bit more simple with a center back zipper and no additional ornamentation. Instead, some kind of a bra-like strap shimmers through the lace. With its plunging back in addition to the lace, the Pronovias dress tells an entirely different story when you look at its backside. Interestingly it seems that the Tadashi Shoji gown is indeed the oldest of the three.

By the way, Princess Alexandra of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg was actually the first royal to wear a variation of this dress to a public event. She first wore a red variation of it to her aunt Queen Margarethe of Denmark's ruby jubilee celebrations in January last year and then repeated it for the pre-wedding gala of Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie in October. If, at all, I much rather think that Princess Claire's inspiration for her choice came from this princess and not the British one.


  1. Hi Sidney,

    There is another version of the dress from the firm Aire Barcelona. See here:

    And, the daughter of famous Austrian chef Johan Lafer used the white version of the dress at her debut in the Vienna Opera Ball this year. See here:

    Greetings from a fan of your blog,


  2. This is a flattering dress to most body types, I think. I prefer the sweetheart neckline used for the wedding; the blue for the Luxembourg wedding is very pretty also. I've read snarky comments on other sites about the bridemaids' dress and honestly don't understand these comments; it's a lovely dress & appropriate for the occasion.

  3. Thanks! Yes, there are a few other (similar) versions of the dress. Jenny Packham also has a wedding dress version of it now. I wonder whether Lafer's daughter wore that one, the Pronovias version or one of yet another designer. It seems to be a very common design.

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