Cornelia BIO

Wedding/Cultural Folklorist, Fashion Historian, 
Writer and Guest Speaker

As a writer and popular guest speaker, Cornelia Powell shares captivating stories of goddess legends and bridal mythology, royal ceremonies and rituals of the heart, costume history, women’s history and creative self-expression—all combined with a hint of cosmic mystery. Her latest book, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride: For Better or Worse, How Princess Diana Rescued the Great White Wedding, spotlights the archetypal princess’ influence on the world of weddings and the lingering effects of the “princess myth” in popular culture. (She is also the author of Amazon bestseller The Bride’s Ritual Guide: Look Inside to Find Yourself and The Handkerchief Has Been Thrown! Something Old & Something New for Same-Sex Couples.)

Cornelia is at work on a new book, tentatively titled, The Spiritual Mission of a Princess: Diana and the Return of the Heart, which explores how the life and death of a heart-centered princess affects the changing consciousness of women today, yet also reflects the lives of women in our historical past.

Ms. Powell has been the keynote speaker at the prestigious Winterthur Museum in Delaware; on Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina; at the Goodwood Museum in Tallahassee, Florida; Stephens College in Missouri, and at other venues around the country. Whether the focus of her talks and PowerPoint presentations—full of charming commentary and stunning images—is Downton Abbey, American Heiresses and the London Season, Princess Brides, the Coronations and Weddings of Queens, Gilded Glamour Aboard the Titanic, the costume of ‘revolution and protests’, or how corsets shaped women’s bodies as well as their minds, her audiences love the ‘fashionably’ historical journey she takes them on.

King Louis XIV of France said that “fashion is the mirror of history.” And in the imagination of a good storyteller with a bit of costume savvy, the most entertaining “history lessons” are told through this “Who-Wore-What-When-and-Why” mirror! In addition, Cornelia’s magazine articles and blog posts also become intimate views into these distinctive woman-centric moments in history.

Ms. Powell first made headlines in the world of weddings with her nationally celebrated bridal art-to-wear shop in Atlanta, Georgia, in the 1980s and ‘90s. Opened on the glittering wave following the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer—and in recognition of the emerging “modern woman”—her store helped reshape the bridal design industry. During this time both Ms. Powell and her shop were featured in numerous magazines and books including Hearst Publication’s The Business of Bliss: How to Profit from Doing What You Love, introducing women entrepreneurs as presented in Victoria magazine. 

Cornelia Powell is a former associate fashion editor at Vogue magazine (“the hardest work and the best training ever”) and served for years as a member of the Costume Society of America’s Board of Directors. After 30 years in Atlanta, Cornelia moved to the Western North Carolina Mountains in 2008 and now looks out at the world and its ever-inspiring landscape from her writing loft nestled on a steep, green mountain ridge.  She claims growing up on a farm in south Alabama, including visits “up the road” with two extraordinary grandmothers, gave her a “wondering” quality about finding beauty in the everyday of Mother Nature. ~

Email Cornelia Powell for more information.

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