LONDON — Zara Phillips followed in her grandmother Queen Elizabeth II’s fashion footsteps, donning a gown by one of the monarch’s favorite designers, Stewart Parvin, for her wedding over the weekend.
Phillips, the daughter of Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, and former British military officer Mark Phillips, married the England rugby player Mike Tindall at a low-key ceremony in Edinburgh’s Canongate Kirk, or church, on Saturday. The dress was an off-the-peg number that Phillips, an award-winning equestrian who is hoping to win a place on the 2012 British Olympic team, had purchased at a local retailer in Gloucestershire, England, where she lives with Tindall.
This story first appeared in the August 1, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Parvin also dressed the Queen and Phillips’ maid of honor, Dolly Maude, for the occasion. The bridal gown was made from ivory silk faille and silk duchesse satin, with a chevron pleated bodice. It had a concealed structured corset, and silk tulle straps that fell into a V-shape at the back center of the gown. The bust was made from silk duchesse satin, and had bias-cut raw edged silk ribbons, while the full skirt had concealed pockets — an utterly practical touch for a woman who spends much of her time in jodhpurs, Wellington boots and quilted jackets.
The bride also wore a silk tulle cathedral-length veil and a neo-Classical-style diamond tiara that her mother had worn during her engagement to Captain Phillips, from whom she is divorced. It had been handed down by the Queen, who had in turn received it from her mother-in-law, Princess Alice of Greece.
Parvin, a graduate of the Edinburgh College of Art, set up his label in 1995, designing couture day- and eveningwear. He launched his bridal range in 1999, and in 2007 was awarded the Royal Warrant of Appointment to HM the Queen in recognition of his work for her.
On Saturday, the Queen wore a light pink coat and printed dress by the designer. Tindall wore a bespoke charcoal morning suit made by the Savile Row tailor Cad and the Dandy.
The Duchess of Cambridge, who was among the family, friends, and rugby players in attendance, clearly tried not to outshine the bride or make any sort of fashion statement: She wore a cream and gold coat dress by Jane Troughton from her closet and the nude LK Bennett platform pumps that are becoming something of a signature look. The duchess had already worn the dress to the wedding of Laura Parker Bowles to Harry Lopes in 2006.
On the evening before the wedding, the duchess wore another recycled outfit: The belted green silk dress by Diane von Furstenberg she showed off during her visit to Los Angeles. The pre-wedding reception took place on board the royal yacht Britannia, which is moored in Edinburgh’s port of Leith and is now a tourist attraction.
Phillips, who does not have a title because Princess Anne wanted her children to have as normal a life as possible, and Tindall, a middle-class Yorkshireman who has served as captain of the England Rugby team, were engaged shortly before Christmas.
The low-key wedding was clearly in keeping with the couple’s style. They are both gregarious — and are said to love a party — but Phillips and Tindall are by no means regulars on the London or international social circuit. “These are two high-profile sportspeople who’ve chosen to have a private wedding. It just so happens that Zara’s grandmother is the Queen,” said Dickie Arbiter, Queen Elizabeth’s former press secretary and royal commentator.
Arbiter added that the couple’s choice of Scotland was nothing more than a bid for privacy. “They have no particular ties there. Zara’s mother, the Princess Royal, married her second husband [Tim Lawrence] in Scotland, and I think that by going north of the border the couple knew they’d have a greater guarantee of privacy.”
Until recently, the couple lived together in a cottage on Princess Anne’s Gatcombe Estate and have now moved to a Georgian-era house in Gloucestershire, where Tindall proposed to his bride, with a diamond-and-platinum ring.