Will women want monograms on their wedding gowns? Bows on their shoulders and bottoms?
With hundreds of millions of people watching yesterday's television broadcast of the royal wedding, and some share of them future brides, the dress worn by Sarah Ferguson will undoubtedly influence the choice of bridal gowns in the season ahead. Instant copies were already being stitched up before the bride walked out of Westminster Abbey and copies of a sort were available in London by the end of the day.
The wedding dress was more similar to the heavily embroidered white satin bridal gown by Norman Hartness that Queen Elizabeth wore than it was to the taffeta gown worn by Diana, princess of Wales, five years ago. While Diana's dress ushered in a return to full-blown romantic bridal gowns, Ferguson's dress, with its snug-fitting embroidered bodice, big sleeves and 17-foot train, designed by London dressmaker Lindka Cierach, was far more traditional. It showed off well the bride's recently trimmed-down figure.
There was nothing traditional, however, about the way the bride switched headpieces in church. Ferguson traded the crown of flowers that anchored the veil for the walk down the aisle for a diamond tiara for the walk back. The change, made when the couple was signing the marriage book out of view of the television cameras, was thought to be the bride's way of symbolizing herself as a commoner before the wedding, a royal afterward.
The bridal attendants, all young children, were enchanting in floral headpieces and longish peach dresses for the girls, sailor suits -- a salute to the groom's profession -- for the boys.
Queen Elizabeth, often criticized for her frumpy look, was becomingly dressed in a pale blue tunic dress with pleated underskirt and a curved brim hat. The usually well-dressed Diana was surprisingly done up in a costume in her favorite pattern these days, polka dots. The turquoise and black dress and hat seemed much too attention-getting for the occasion.
All of the women guests wore hats, usually to match outfits. The bride's mother was stunning in a buttercup yellow crepe wrap dress and circular brimmed hat. Nancy Reagan ensured the acceptance of light green -- a color worn by Jacqueline Onassis as mother of the bride last weekend -- with her celadon coat and dress by James Galanos. Despite the traditional setting, a number of women guests wore white suits or black dresses with white trim. A rare alternative to all the brimmed hats was the silk pillbox worn by Lady Helen Windsor.
As for the monogram, Priscilla Kidder, head of Priscilla of Boston bridal designers, said she had embroidered the wedding gowns worn by Luci Johnson, Tricia Nixon and Julie Nixon with the names of the bride and groom and the wedding date -- but on the inside lining of the dresses. A monogram outside is something else.
"You wouldn't put such a thing on a dress for a White House wedding," she said. "At royal weddings you can get away with anything.