Thread By Thread: Costumes on Screen

Going to the Chapel

You can thank TLC for this entry, their addictive show Say Yes To The Dress, approached the subject of how many clients come in wanting bridal gowns from films.  Wedding dresses in film have served as both a contributor and a summary of bridal fashions over the years. Here are some of my favorite iconic wedding gowns.

Princess Mia’s Wedding Gown – The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement

Princess Mia’s gown was made in homage to Audrey Hepburn and Princess Claire of Belgium.

For the design of Princess Mia’s wedding gown in The Princess Diaries 2, Costume Designer Gary Jones looked to the real life princess of another small European country, Princess Claire of Belgium. Much like Mia (and another soon to be British princess), Princess Claire was born a commoner and rose to prominence to marry Belgium’s crown prince, Prince Laurent in a lavish ceremony in 2003.  Jones copied Princess Claire’s strapless silk gown with the off the shoulder lace overlay and cathedral veil with some slight tweaks. Throughout the film Mia’s gown were designed to reflect Audrey Hepburn’s style, so Jones used the décolletage method Givenchy used on Hepburn’s Sabrina gown. While Mia didn’t tie the knot in the film, she still looked “pretty enough for a postage stamp” as she changed her country’s constitution while in the gown.

Princess Claire and Prince Laurent of Belgium on their wedding day.


Fleur’s Wedding Gown- Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows-Part 1

Fleur’s heritage as a Frenchwoman and a Veela is on full display in this fanciful wedding gown.

The French beauty Fleur Delacour’s pairing with to the eldest Weasley child, Bill was a surprise to many fans, and the character’s too. However, their impending nuptials serve as the calm before the storm for the characters. Costume Designer Jany Temime wanted the dress to be a combination of several things, British and French designs, and the wizarding and muggle world. Temime looked to real world British designer Alexander McQueen for inspiration and found it in a peacock dress from his line. Temime added airy layers of tulle to McQueen’s original design to make it more formal and girly, as Fleur would have it. She also changed the peacocks into phoenixes as an allusion to the wizarding world.  “The dress is white but it needed to have something fantastic to it. So there is the phoenix [motif], the bird, which is a symbol of love in a way because there is rebirth, love never dies, it is born again. So we have that in front of the dress to give a feeling of eternal love. It was the symbol of Dumbledore, too, but it is the symbol of love for the dress. “ Tamine added further “witchiness” to Fleur’s gown by forgoing a veil and instead having fleur wear a black lace headpiece. The dress is a stunner in the film and entire wedding scene served as an offset to the war, which would literally crash the reception.

Alexander McQueen’s Peacock dress served as Temime’s inspiration.

Mary Jane’s Wedding Gown- Spiderman 2

In the movies MJ is actually a combination of Gwen Stacey and Mary Jane, she’s Gwen’s girl next door personality and MJ’s career, her dress is the right combo of the two sweeping romantic and sweet.

Perhaps because the wedding that occurs in Spiderman 2 isn’t Mary Jane and Peter Parker’s, or perhaps because it isn’t the 80s, Mary Jane’s wedding gown is very different from the comic version. Costume Designers Gary Jones and James Acheson wanted Mary Jane’s dress to reflect her girl next door/dream girl image. They rightfully gave her a relatively simple off the shoulder sweetheart gown with a full bell skirt to reflect her all –American look. Her dress looks its best as its layers float during her flight from Major What’s His Face Jameson to Peter Parker’s side. Mary Jane’s appearance in Peter’s doorway is memorable in the film and is just what the audience roots for. Still, I can’t help but hope for real deal lavish nuptials between Peter and MJ with the new Spiderman reboot.

Mary Jane and Peter on their wedding day in the comics

Annie Banks’ Wedding Gown- Father of The Bride

Glamour wasn’t on the top of the list for Annie’s gown, instead it reflects her sweet nature and classic taste.

Much like Gary Jones and Princess Mia’s dress, Annie Banks’ dress was modeled after a Princess’. Princess Grace was a Hollywood legend before she donned her tiara, and had a connection to the original Father of the Bride, which starred Elizabeth Taylor. The original film’s costume designer was Helen Rose, who was MGM’s chief costume designer in the 50s and in exchange for Grace Kelly’s early release from her contract she was chosen to design Kelly’s wedding gown.  Costume Designer Susan Becker used a rose paint patterned lace on Annie’s gown much like Grace Kelly’s gown. Becker stated she wanted “…a sweetly demure dress, perfect for the all-American girl.”  Becker used Kelly’s dress as inspiration but toned it down making the bottom less full, the veil shorter, having Annie’s hair down and even made custom sneakers for Annie to wear underneath her dress. Annie’s role as sweet natured girl and her father’s daughter is reflected perfectly in her gown.

Grace Kelly on her wedding day to Prince Rainer of Monaco in a gown deisgned by Helen Rose.

Maria’s Wedding Gown- The Sound of Music

Much like the cathedral she once called home and the scene’s song about her, Maria’s dress is simple, humble, and inspiringly beautiful.

The challenges that faced Capitan Von Trapp and Maria to even fall in love and get married would turn out to be anthill compared to the literal mountains they would cross to escape Nazism, but their wedding was a large celebration none the less. The dress Maria dons was both theatrical and reserved somehow, much like Maria herself.  The dress was made from made the dress from silk and added a long train in addition to the demure collared long sleeved gown that reflected upon Maria’s past as a Nun. Further adding to the Nun allusion Costume Designer Dorothy Jeakins topped Maria’s head with a wreath and then added a dramatic veil, which was literally the length of the cathedral, so it would be similar in shape to the nun’s habits. Maria’s walk down the aisle was in a gown that represented her beauty and purity in grand fashion.

Giselle’s Wedding Gown- Enchanted

Giselle’s animated roots can been seen in the embroidery which features birds, butterflies and flowers like her friends in Andalasia.

Giselle’s dress in animated form, the birds placing her tiara can been seen in the real life embroidery.

Giselle’s wedding gown is every little girl’s fantasy come to life. Costume Designer Mona May actually designed the dress in both its animated and real life forms. “I think what was really great was seeing animated characters translated to live-action. If you imagine a princess and the proportions of a princess, she always has a tiny waist. She always has big sleeves and some kind of a big skirt…the dress is so big and so heavy [because] it had to resemble, on a human scale, the proportion of an animated character” May used over 400 yards of tulle to make some 4 versions of the gown that appear in the film.  As the film progressed Giselle began to lose her animated proportions but the gown became the film’s signature dress, making little girls sigh and parents laugh. Giselle still influences wedding fashions though; she has her own dress in Disney’s bridal gown collection.

Giselle’s real life bridal gown is actually modeled after her purple animated dress which was inspired by French Art Nouveau.

Padme Amidala’s Wedding Gown- Star Wars: Attack of the Clones

Padme’s gown was modled after Edwardian era dresses, thus the fitted cap veil, trailing sleeves and train.

Forget that the groom ends up becoming the most evil person in the galaxy, the dress Padme Amidala wears to marry Anikin Skywalker is worth it. George Lucas wanted the dress to feel more familiar than some of the other designs Padme dons for the film, like a family heirloom she had put on for the secret wedding. “Since it was a private wedding, George didn’t want the dress to be too grand or elaborate. He wanted simple shapes and clean lines, with a slight Edwardian feel.” Costume Designer Trisha Biggar stumbled upon an antique lace bedspread in Australia that she ended up using to make the gown. Ironically an Italian worker on the film identified the lace from the bedspread was from the same region where the wedding scene was filmed. Biggar cut the lace into and Edwardian shape “We incorporated the panels of [the lace bedspread] with a very fine embroidered silk net. It was off-white, and because it was on such fine net, you could see through it to areas of the skin.” Biggar also added French knit braid, tulle and created a lace veil that she hand beaded with seed pearls and wax flowers.  The dress is classic and breathtakingly intricate, a perfect fit for the beautiful senator who caused a Jedi to cross the galaxy for her.

Padme’s antique looking gown required so much detail embellishments that only one sleeve had seed pearls attached before filming began.

This entry was published on February 19, 2011 at 5:22 pm. It’s filed under Entertainment, Feb. 2011 and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “Going to the Chapel

  1. Rachel on said:

    I think you mean the late Alexander McQueen

  2. Pingback: Head Pieces « David Tutera Wedding Blog • It’s a Bride’s Life • Real Brides Blogging til I do!

  3. Pingback: I Love You, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do « Thread By Thread: Costumes on Screen

  4. Pingback: I Do, I Do, I Do, Part 2! « Thread By Thread: Costumes on Screen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: