Responding to the crisis, a crop of second-hand clothing sites and dress rental platforms have launched with the intent of reducing consumption and prolonging the lifespan of clothing.
And yet the one item that most women still buy new (typically at significant expense), wear once and hold onto forever? Their wedding dress.
The reasons for this are largely sentimental (who wants to wear someone else’s wedding dress, right?) and also down to the fact that brides on a budget can now find myriad affordable options on the high street.
Yet given we are facing a climate emergency, might it be time to change the narrative around wedding dress ownership? Could there in fact be some magic in foregoing fast fashion options and instead wearing something fabulous and pre-loved on your big day?
Fashion is constantly re-cycling old ideas and renewing the most loved (and questioned) styles from the past and it's no different for bridal wear trends. Look to the past and take inspiration from vintage styles without the hefty price tag, or the strenuous hunt through thrift stores. Now with an array of brands from ASOS to Carolina Herrera looking back for bridal inspiration, you can have a dress that will last a lifetime and do full circle as did its vintage inspiration. Whether you dream of regal lace or renaissance puff sleeves - we've got the dress for you.
All royal wedding dresses are keenly anticipated but there is always slightly more interest and slightly more pressure when the gown on show belongs to a queen in waiting. On December 4th 1999, Mathilde d’Udekem d’Acoz walked into the Town Hall of Brussels for the start of her marriage celebrations to the heir to the throne of Belgium, Philippe. Mathilde’s marriage turned her into the first Belgian born woman in line to be queen of her country and she made sure her wedding dress underlined her roots and her role as a consort in waiting. Twenty years on, here’s a look back at the royal wedding dress of Mathilde of the Belgians.
Mathilde had two weddings that day, a civil ceremony at Brussels Town Hall followed by a religious marriage at the Cathedral of St Michel and St Gudule. She chose to wear the same outfit for both. The bride appeared before the crowds that had gathered to cheer her on her way to the altar dressed all in white. Mathilde chose a full length coat dress with statement collar and long, fitted sleeves. The centre fastening, with its neat row of buttons, gave way to a full skirt that fanned into a long train (well, this is a royal wedding dress, after all). Beneath the coat dress was a fitted gown in the same shade of deep white.
It was a classic design but, like the bride who wore it, it had hidden depths. Mathilde chose a Belgian designer for her wedding gown to underline her role as the first home born consort her country would ever have. Edouard Vermeulen of the design house, Natan, created the gown which was also the last major royal wedding dresses of the 20th century.
There were links, too, to other Belgian queens. The bride borrowed an heirloom lace veil from her new mother in law, Queen Paola, to complete her wedding outfit. The vintage Brussels lace had belonged to the family of Italian born Paola for decades. It was held in place by a tiara loaned to Mathilde by Queen Paola but which had first belonged to Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians, the great grandmother of the royal groom, Philippe. Mathilde carried a rather large bouquet of white flowers and foliage.