Grace à ...
Okay, the times they are a changing - and today things ain't looking so good in the UK. I suggest you take a moment out to comment on this post - you may even win a copy of the 112 page hardback book, Grace Kelly Style.**
If you're going to be swayed by the media, why not escape into a fantasy world of free stuff that's fabulous, frivolous and fun? For the moment at least.
Grace Kelly was a fashion icon long before her marriage to Prince Rainier of Monaco, so it’s hardly surprising there was such a lot of interest in her wedding trousseau and bridal wear. By the way, the word ‘trousseau’ derives from an old French word for ‘bundle’, though it’s a term familiar to many cultures. Throughout the ages, the trousseau has traditionally comprised of the articles assembled in preparation for a wedding, honeymoon and the initial months as a newlywed – things like clothing, accessories, jewellery, beautifying lotions, potions, bed-linen and so on.
Previously stored in chests of drawers, sometimes known as ‘hope chests’, the Victorians even created an event called the ‘trousseau tea’, where they showed off the crate loads of china, linens and silks that had been collected for the wedding party. (No such preparation for any potential union of UK political parties, of course).
By 1956, when Kelly became Princess Grace of Monaco, trousseaux were generally much less extravagant. However, Grace Kelly’s wedding trousseau was certainly fit for a Princess, consisting of around forty day and evening outfits, including two Helen Rose-designed wedding gowns, and a dozen High Society film costumes, donated by MGM.
One doesn't often hear the ‘t’ word mentioned these days, (unless it stands for thong, perhaps), as pre-wedding shopping is more likely to mean sexy lingerie, stockings, suspenders and frilly garters. Nowadays, you can purchase these sorts of items online too: If you’re in search of unusual pieces for a wedding trousseau, ShopCurious has some curiously original accessories, though we prefer the more natural, old fashioned variety of wedding attire - and gifts with provenance, as well as purpose.
…And what about men? Isn’t the whole concept of the trousseau a tad sexist? I’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas for unique pre-wedding gifts and examples of things you’ve purchased, or stashed away in anticipation of your impending nuptials. I reckon there must be some huge bottom drawers out there, full of curious bits and bobs that have been hoarded up, but never used.
** Win a copy of the book, pictured right.
Comment on this post within the next week or so, (with a link to your blog or profile so we can contact you if you win), to be entered into a prize draw for a copy of the book, Grace Kelly Style:
Published by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, to accompany the Grace Kelly Style Icon exhibition, this book, written by H Kristina Haughland, with an introduction by the curator, Jenny Lister is full of fabulous photographs of Grace Kelly as ‘The Actress’, ‘The Bride’ and ‘The Princess’.
(Closing date for entries Tuesday 18th May)
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