There's been a lot of talk about what Kate Middleton will wear to her wedding to Prince William. The topic is starting to get tired as no week goes by that a newspaper, magazine or blog devotes considerable column inches to what the royalty-in-waiting would wear for her walk down the aisle. I understand the general fascination because there hasn't been a royal union of this magnitude since the groom's parent's wedding.
But what about some attention on the prince? Save for the ring he chose for the engagement and the piece in The New York Times on Prince William's crowning glory, or shall I say his quickly diminishing crowning glory, there hasn't been much news about the groom.
Why isn't there any speculation as to what he would wear when he says "I do"? Is men's fashion really so boring that no one's taking bets on the prince's wedding wardrobe?
Prince Charles wore his officer's uniform to Diana's wedding and given Prince William's rank in the Royal Air Force, he might just don his uniform. But that sounds rather dull and stiff. Maybe Burberry, the banner designer label of the United Kingdom, can make a fashion version of the Royal Air Force regalia since the house's designer Christopher Bailey is clearly inspired by the military trend.
Kate and William are young and to members of my generation who will be witnessing their first royal wedding (we were too young to really appreciate the Diana-Charles nuptials), they represent the new face monarchy. One that is respectful to tradition but is not afraid to shake things up and create their own traditions. Kind of like the Obamas at the White House but younger and hopefully, more irreverent.
With this premise in mind, I'd like for Prince William to surprise us with his wedding suit. He could borrow from Edward VIII's sartorial playbook. The style of the Duke of Windsor remains a minefield of inspirations for many designers to this day and it'll be great to see Prince William's interpretation. Will he wear tails as the abdicated King did when he married Wallis Simpson or would he pick a shawl-collared lounge suit? Or maybe some light tweeds in that Old English fashion if the couple are to really break tradition and Kate Middleton decides to wear a sleek wraparound dress from Issa or a tailored sheath from Victoria Beckham instead of a princess ball gown.
Or should Prince William wear mainstream British designers? Dunhill would be a good choice since it has reinvented itself into producing more contemporary fashion with nods to classic British style. And what about something from Paul Smith? Surely the designer can make a bespoke suit with his signature flourish of prints and colors for the prince in keeping with spring trends. Ozwald Boateng and Richard James on Savile Row would also be able to outfit the Prince in a modern and sleek suit perhaps even in a shade that is not the usual black, gray or navy to make him look current and off-the-runway. Except for the balding head, Prince William has the frame and looks of a male model.
Burberry Prorsum would be a sensible choice as it is the banner. Bailey has been known to custom-make tuxedos for Hollywood celebrities for red carpet events. Prince William and his wedding trumps even the most A-list of actors and awards ceremonies. Burberry should start knocking on the royal door, if they haven't already.
But given the UK's budget problems and its adoption of austerity measures, perhaps the prince should become a model of frugality and pick something that is less lofty and more democratic like Marks & Spencer, Topshop or even Ted Baker, the poor man's Paul Smith. Or he can mix high fashion with the high street as most Brits are wont to do. I know the royal family is supposed to represent aspiration and fantasy, but won't Prince William become more relevant to a younger generation, who no longer pays much attention to blue bloods and the ruling class, if he adopted the fashion statement of mixing designer pieces with mass-market products? This is a movement started by the young Brits after all.
But whatever Prince William -- and his bride -- elects to wear on April 29, we should all try not to project so much hidden meaning and symbolism into their clothes as many have been doing with Michelle Obama's wardrobe choices. Most of the time, it is really all just about what looks good on the wearer. It's fashion. Let's not take it too seriously.
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