May 30, 2014

{Vintage Shimmer}

"Costumes of Downton Abbey" Exhibition at Winterthur

Dear Bride-to-Be:
I recently had the pleasure of being guest speaker at the marvelous Winterthur Museum in Delaware during their ongoing "Costumes of Downton Abbey" exhibition. Lady Edith's cream silk wedding dress was a favorite on display....and I included details in my talk about how costume designer Caroline McCall created the elegant vintage design, starting with an antique silk and crystal beaded train.

Caroline said she looked at lots of old photographs and magazines for inspiration for the design of Edith's gown was that of Mary, the Princess Royal, for her wedding in 1922 at Westminster Abbey. Like many princesses of the time, the column-style, drop-waist gown was silver in color.  I thought you'd enjoy this from Christopher Warwick, author of Two Centuries of Royal Weddings, citing a "shimmering" description from a guest at the 20s wedding:

Princess Mary's gown was silver lamé, veiled with marquisette embroidered in English roses worked with thousands of tiny diamonds and seed pearls in a faint lattice-work design....girdled with a silver cord studded with triple rows of pearls....and from the waist also hung a trail of orange blossom with silver stems.
The train was composed of specially woven white and silver duchess satin, draped with Honiton lace embroidered in baroque pearls, diamonds and silver bullion.

Now your bridal gown may not be such a glistening, silvery confection....nor vintage-inspired....nor one designed just for you (although a princess you may be!) But whatever you wear for your wedding day, include a shimmering open-heart ready to share with all....and all the days thereafter!

Love. Listen. Let go.
...with love from Cornelia
Cornelia with Maggie Lidz, Winterthur Estate Historian,
at the entrance of the "Costumes of Downton Abbey" exhibition

ps:  The "Costumes of Downton Abbey" exhibition will be at Winterthur through January 4, 2015. It is not a traveling addition to the costumes, it has videos and images from the show that won't be seen get yourself there! You don't want to miss it!

May 14, 2014

{The Language of Flowers}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
Brides and the language of flowers have a romantic and mystical history. Through the ages, romantics assigned meanings to flowers and herbs according to their innate nature—and a language was created!

Bridal folklore tells of maidens entwining creamy white, aromatic orange blossoms into a bridal wreath for their hair, to ensure fertility; or carrying a bunch of sweet smelling white lilacs, representing innocence; or tucking fragrant herbs into their bouquets, rosemary for remembrance and dill, believed to provoke lust. (And both herbs were often eaten for their supposed powers!)

Queen Victoria carried a nosegay of snowdrops, representing friendship (they were her beloved Albert’s favorite flower); and Princess Grace, after much thought, selected lilies-of-the-valley for her wedding bouquet, one of the many delicate flowers meaning purity.

Former Brides magazine editor-in-chief, Barbara Tober, tells us that the sentimental Victorians of the 19th century had a custom of arranging a bouquet of flowers and herbs “to spell out the groom’s name (baby’s breath, irises, limonium, and lilies for B-I-L-L.)’’ The little book, Kate Greenaway’s Language of Flowers, is a reproduction of a Victorian’s floral inspiration that will help you create your own romantic language in flowers!

However, don’t wait for your wedding day. Be inspired, with or without flowers, to speak a language of love and tenderness right this very moment!

Love. Listen. Let go.
...with love from Cornelia

[Bridal photograph: Matt Hakola]