Monaco Royal Wedding
One of my fashion highlights this summer was being in Monaco for the Wedding HSH Prince Albert II to HSH Princess Charlene.
The atmosphere in the principality was wonderful. There was such a warm feeling and everyone was excited. As always Monaco itself was running like a well oiled machiene and guests where moved around the principality too and from venues with beautiful synchronicity by immaculate chauffeurs in fleet of sleek Black limousines. Monaco itself is jewel in the Mediterranean running like clockwork on it's own course.
From a fashion perspective this was the most watched event since with wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton in April in London. The guest list represented here in the principality was wide ranging and cosmopolitan. European and Middle Eastern Royal Houses, The Business World, Fashion Establishment, Political 'movers and shakers' and Sports personalities all had their part to play.
Following the intimate Civil Ceremony the Traditional State Wedding took Place in the 700 year old Italianate Palace Princier perched high on the hill over looking Old Monaco. The Palace courtyard can hold 3,500 guests.
The Bride wore Amarni Couture for the religious and looked wonderful as everyone knew that she would. This followed the civil ceremony where she wore a Blue Chanel trouser suit. France and Italy Monaco's two closest neighbours sharing the honour.
Once again fashion finds a key place at the heart of diplomacy with Women leading the way and making the bridge between nations.
The dress itself was stunning with embroidery details flowing down the dress from the bodace to the skirt, almost like another bouquet floating over the surface of the gown.
The bridesmaids dresses where also very popular with the wedding watchers in Monaco. They too their form from the traditional Provencal/Monaqasque costume of the region and the little weaved chapeu where the perfect accessory to protect little faces from the July Riviera sunshine.
(one of my favourite views of Monaco, port Hercule after the wedding weekend)
Many of the guests, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, The King and Queen of Sweeden and Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel, President Nicholas Sarkozy and Karl Lagerfeld's female companion wore formal day wear pieces. Others such as Charlotte, the daughter of Princess Caroline wore beautiful dresses that could also double as evening wear.
It truely was a fashion parade and from where I was people where looking to see what people were wearing as much as who was wearing it.
The eveing reception was held at the Opera Garnier and the Casino Terraces in Monte Carlo. There where some very popular arrivals including the Dutch Crown Princess Maxima. There were a lot of wonderful dresses, and jewels and I found myself particularly drawn to the styles of women from beyond Europe.
The lady who caught my attention for her amazing dress and sheer sence of presence was the Sister of the King of Marocco, Lalla Soukaina Filali. She wore a delicate Magnolia robe brocaded with fine spun gold, accentuated by a belt with jewelled disk at the centre. Her neck and wrists carried more heavy Gold jewellery. This was a wonderful glimpse at the wardrobe of a Princess from a different tradition where jewels and fabrics are more commonly used together.
Above is a picture of the chapel of Sainte Devote (Monaco's patron) where Princess Charlene left her bouquet on the wedding day. As the sun was setting people went to the chapel to see the bouquet and give thanks to Monaco's Saint.
As the sun was setting against the ocean and I was falling completly under the seductive spell of Monaco more and more guests where wisked up the Opera Garnier. Bernadette Chirac looked lovely and relaxed in a simple two tone White silk skirt and Gold metallic chemise. Bernard Arnault arrived with his concert pianist wife in Scarlet complementing the colour of the decoration that he wore.
Crown Princess Mathilde of Belgium looked beautiful in a delicatley layered Fuschia dress that captured that matched perfectly with the diamond Parure of Jewellery that she wore.
It was wonderful to see the couple look so happy on their special day and I found a new love myself. The principality of Monaco. One of most romantic places in the world. I wish to go back again soon.
Grasse - the home of perfume
I've long been curious about Grasse. As you learn more and more about hte history of the perfume industry in France, the History of modern fragrance making and Mademoiselle Chanel's journey's to find the perfect frapgrance, whther through the borrowed echos of a long forgotten receipe from Marie de Medici's apothecary, or the Empress Eugenie of the Imperial Napoleone family, the magic of Chanel Number 5 and many more less well known but still well loved fragrances has been conjoured in this little hill town in provence.
As an English girl who feels the calling to Old France, the Lavendar fields that sit on the hills the higher you climb into the mist and pepper the country side of the south where something I'd longed to see. Provence rising from the Cote D'Azur leading to the Pyrenees with the Auverne in the distance is a treasured place where some of the wisdom of crafting fragrances from herbs, not so far removed from the practice of stilling medicinal remedies has been practised since the Roman times and before. This land feels old.
In Grasse the old factories are quiet and while Chanel held their Cruise Collection show in 2011 on the Riviera around the theme of Roses and the heritage in Grasse (thank you Chanel for championing the Rose as well as Chanel's Orchid), the old town itself is somewhere between moving on into the 21st century while still retaining the timeless stillness and obscurity of a 18th and 19th Century hill town that was once the heart of a vibrant international industry.
Several Perfume Houses proudly show their fragrant Heritage and none more so than the House of Fragonard. Now in it's 5th or 6th generation of family ownership and managed day to day by four sisters decended from the founder they proudly display their very long and rich history.
The Red Cross Ball Monaco.
The late summer highlight to the Summer Season on the Riviera is the Red Cross Ball in Monaco. Always hosted by the Royal familyit's as much a home grown cherised charity event as a headline event on the international social calendar.
Van Cleef & Arpels had the priviledge to be chosen by HSH Princess Charlene to create this set of Jewellery given to her by her husband, the reigning Prince of Monaco.
The Maison has the distinction of being the Official Supplier to the Principality since 1956.
Images by kind permission of Van Cleef & Arpels (C).
Their Serene Highnesses dancing at the Red Cross Ball in Monaco.