When Princess Eugenie married last fall, she wowed the fashion world with her modern, crisp, custom Peter Pilotto wedding gown. Normally famed for their vibrant, eclectic prints and designs, the fashion house surprised many commentators with their uncharacteristically sleek design.
The eponymous designer, who runs the show along with partner Christopher de Vos, opened up about the experience of designing the second most anticipated wedding dress of last year. “It was important that the dress told the right story,” he told Fashion magazine. And what a story it was – the dress memorably showed off the Princess’s scoliosis surgery scar with a deep V-neck at the back. And a simple folded-over bow neckline created an elegant, modern feel. Indeed, for the designer, the design was almost a return to their style roots, “we’re so known for our prints… but I guess the dress showed that since the beginning it was always about the silhouette,” said Pilotto.
It seems there were several reasons behind the Princess’s choice of designer. Principally, there’s the design side. “She chose us because she always felt so good wearing our pieces, it felt so right to her and that’s exactly the feeling she wanted to have on her wedding day,” Pilotto said. But of course, there’s the unavoidable fact they’d be working very closely together, and he noted it was Eugenie’s mom Fergie, who advised her daughter about this when choosing her designers. “She said that her mom had advised her that the designers who do the dress—because it will be an intensive experience—need to be people you’re comfortable with and are your best friends at the end of the process.”
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And we certainly know that to be the case for that other oh-so-commented-on royal wedding dress, the Givenchy design worn by Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle at her spring wedding to Prince Harry. Designed by Clare Waight Keller, the dress was highly anticipated and no doubt cemented the professional and personal bonds between bride and designer. In fact, Meghan made a special appearance at last year’s British Fashion Awards to present Keller with the coveted British Womenswear Designer of the Year Award. All of which makes sense – royal brides and their gowns go down in history, so whoever designs one is set to be memorialized right along with their client.
And for Pilotto, historical royal wedding dresses certainly had an influence on Eugenie’s final design, with the designer thoughtfully incorporating motifs representing the British Isles in the hem; a Scottish thistle, a York rose, an Irish shamrock. Sounds not entirely unlike Meghan’s Commonwealth tribute, with flowers of all 53 nations being stitched into her veil.
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But for Pilotto, royal or not – and they have plenty of other high-profile clients, from Beyoncé to Gwyneth Paltrow – it’s all about individual self-expression and using fashion as a tool. “To us,” said Pilotto, “it was always inspiring to see women just wearing what suits them, what makes sense to them and expressing their confidence or being uplifted by it.”
And for those hoping to rock their own Princess-inspired Pilotto wedding design, they’re giving a venture into bridalwear a serious think. “It’s something that slowly on the side is starting,” he teased. Well, we’ll have our Princess Eugenie Pinterest boards at the ready.