Saturday 20 April 2019

The Charm - luxurious and sophisticated design for older, wiser, brides-to-be

 

Cashmere Aran sweater, €850, Elaine Madigan. Hand-embellished silk-organza ¾ skirt, €1,450, Helen Cody. Veil (behind model), €120, Veils of Ireland. Leather gloves (not in shot), €125, Paula Rowan.Worn underneath: Boned, smoothing basque, €120, Susan Hunter. Bouquets and roses in hair, Dromoland Castle florist's service
Cashmere Aran sweater, €850, Elaine Madigan. Hand-embellished silk-organza ¾ skirt, €1,450, Helen Cody. Veil (behind model), €120, Veils of Ireland. Leather gloves (not in shot), €125, Paula Rowan.Worn underneath: Boned, smoothing basque, €120, Susan Hunter. Bouquets and roses in hair, Dromoland Castle florist's service

Whenever I dress older, or second-time-around brides, they always seem to feel they shouldn't make a fuss of themselves. They think they shouldn't want the dream wedding dress that younger women so easily lay claim to.

So today, I want you older, wiser, brides-to-be to pause. And feel. What would you love?

Nicole wears:Silk-crepe inlay bias-cut dress, €2,350, Helen Cody. Necklace, €295, Louise Kennedy. Worn underneath: Boned smoothing basque, €120, Susan Hunter. Bouquet, Dromoland Castle florist’s service. Knit belt; shoes, both stylist's own
Nicole wears:Silk-crepe inlay bias-cut dress, €2,350, Helen Cody. Necklace, €295, Louise Kennedy. Worn underneath: Boned smoothing basque, €120, Susan Hunter. Bouquet, Dromoland Castle florist’s service. Knit belt; shoes, both stylist's own

Meghan Markle was 37 and a divorcee, but she didn't shy from wearing a traditional white gown. The symbolism was clear: here I am, unadorned, ready to begin life afresh. With you.

I loved that at 57, Camilla Parker Bowles, in her marriage to Prince Charles, opted for white, though it was a civil ceremony and theirs a scandalous history (she wore a second outfit for their subsequent blessing at St George's Chapel). Her divine hat by Philip Treacy was also a key 'signifier', as it declared who and what she was - bold and strong, feminine and fun.

‘Bruna’ stretch-crepe dress with plunge front and mesh panel, €1,395, Theia Bridal, Folkster. Large cashmere wrap, €350; cropped ¾ -sleeve cashmere cardigan, €395, both Elaine Madigan.
Worn underneath: Strapless plunge bra, €110, Cosabella; smoothing high-waisted brief, €70, Chantal Thomass, both Susan Hunter. Roses in hair, Dromoland Castle florist's service
‘Bruna’ stretch-crepe dress with plunge front and mesh panel, €1,395, Theia Bridal, Folkster. Large cashmere wrap, €350; cropped ¾ -sleeve cashmere cardigan, €395, both Elaine Madigan. Worn underneath: Strapless plunge bra, €110, Cosabella; smoothing high-waisted brief, €70, Chantal Thomass, both Susan Hunter. Roses in hair, Dromoland Castle florist's service

If you have dreamed of wearing white, wear it. The only reason not to is the obvious one - if it doesn't suit you. In which case, choose cream.

Helen Cody adores designing dresses for second weddings. "The first wedding is always like a fairy-tale. The second time around, it is more contemplated," says Helen.

Pamela wears:Light wool-crepe full-skirt dress, with silk lining, €1,250; matching light wool-crepe cape with silver French-lace applique, €495; both made to order, both Delphine Grandjouan.
Opal drop earrings, €495, Louise Kennedy. 16-inch lambskin suede gloves, €450, Paula Rowan. Worn underneath: Smoothing strapless bra, €110, Cosabella; light-control high-waist g-brief, €40.95, PrimaDonna, both Susan Hunter. Hosiery throughout, from €5, Marie Claire. Roses in hair, Dromoland Castle florist’s service
Pamela wears:Light wool-crepe full-skirt dress, with silk lining, €1,250; matching light wool-crepe cape with silver French-lace applique, €495; both made to order, both Delphine Grandjouan. Opal drop earrings, €495, Louise Kennedy. 16-inch lambskin suede gloves, €450, Paula Rowan. Worn underneath: Smoothing strapless bra, €110, Cosabella; light-control high-waist g-brief, €40.95, PrimaDonna, both Susan Hunter. Hosiery throughout, from €5, Marie Claire. Roses in hair, Dromoland Castle florist’s service

"The fact that in Ireland, if you are a divorcee, you can't get married in a church, also has dictated the style of second marriages."

The upside of that is one is free to get married somewhere more one's flavour (as we did for our shoot) such as the romantic and beautiful Dromoland Castle. Imagine saying 'I do' by that romantic lake, under a lime tree bower walk, or at their historic Temple of Mercury.

Speaking of flavour, both Delphine Grandjouan and Louise Kennedy are mistresses of luxurious and sophisticated design, and musts for pure elegance.

Theia Bridal by Don O'Neill is East Coast elegance, but with a dash of New York daring. Available exclusively in Folkster Bridal, Kilkenny, its definitely worth a research trip, as it isn't outlandishly expensive and is always surprising.

My point is: wear what you want, be who you want. Be it fabulous in divine fantasy by Claire Garvey, or pure softness in that tenderest of fabrics, cashmere, in exclusive designs by Elaine Madigan. On our shoot day, Elaine's soft-hued, luxurious knits kept our models looking beautiful while saving them from catching their deaths.

Never forget to have fun on your day out. Those finishing touches of sartorial drama - hats and gloves - remind us we are special.

Glove designer Paula Rowan is the current darling of Vogue and no wonder - her work is fabulous.

And so are you.

Photography by Peter Evers Fashion edited by Constance Harris

Sunday Indo Life Magazine

Editors Choice

Also in this section