So much for the new trend for low-key pandemic weddings. On Saturday, Lady Kitty Spencer, niece of Princess Diana and eldest daughter of Earl Spencer, married South African businessman Michael Lewis not at the family seat of Althorp, but at the magnificent Villa Aldobrandini on the outskirts of Rome.
For the opulent occasion, Lady Kitty partnered with Dolce and Gabbana, the Italian fashion house renowned for its lavishly feminine designs. The label, for which the model became a global ambassador in February, created five outfits for the celebrations, saying that each one celebrated ‘the beauty of the bride, the passion for #AltaModa and the absolute joy of the occasion’.
Lady Kitty’s intricate lace bridal dress took inspiration from the Victorian-style worn by her mother Victoria Lockwood for her 1989 marriage to Earl Spencer and also resembled the demure Helen Rose creation worn by Grace Kelly for the religious ceremony in her 1956 marriage to Prince Rainier of Monaco.
The boned bodice, with a high neck, elegant long sleeves, rows of tiny fabric-covered buttons and neat puff shoulders, flared into a full crinoline skirt with a dramatic train which cascaded across the floors of the 16th century villa and its neighbouring cathedral, echoing the effect of her royal aunt’s record-breaking 25ft train.
The bride also wore a sweeping silk tulle veil which extended beyond the train of the wedding gown and was edged in white lace similar to that seen on the dress.
Lady Kitty appears to have chosen not to wear the Spencer tiara which was worn numerous times by Princess Diana, including on the day she married Prince Charles, as well as by Kitty’s mother and her other two aunts on their wedding days. The tiara was most recently worn by Celia McCorquodale, Kitty's cousin, for her marriage to George Woodhouse in 2018.
The accompanying four gowns were examples of the spectacular, artisanal creations which Dolce and Gabbana showcases to a selection of super-rich clients several times a year with its Alta Moda shows, their own version of Haute Couture.
The first, worn ahead of the wedding on Friday evening, was a delicate pale blue tulle dress embroidered with pink cross-stitched flowers which were shown spilling from urns on the back of the dress, perhaps as a tribute to the Italian setting. The design came with a coordinating cape.
A gown designed for the post-ceremony dinner consisted of a bottle green draped bodice with an elaborate cream skirt hand painted with a delicate floral pattern and embellished with flowers and crystals - the look was finished with an emerald, gold and pearl necklace fashioned to look like a branch of leaves. For the party afterwards, Lady Kitty chose a cocktail dress embroidered with silver and gold beads.
On Sunday, the newlywed aristocrat wore a Mikado silk dress with cutwork inserts, embellished with tiny sequins, porcelain-like appliqué flowers and satin ribbons.
Guests including Maye Musk, the model mother of Elon Musk, Jade Holland Cooper and Emma Thynn, the Marchioness of Bath also attended the nuptials wearing Dolce and Gabbana creations.
It’s a bridal wardrobe which is sure to guarantee Earl Spencer’s eldest daughter a place in the wedding gown history books. By working with Dolce and Gabbana and marrying in Italy, the bride was able to emphasise her royal and aristocratic pedigree but with a thoroughly modern sense of glamour and creative freedom.
And after a year when understated and simple weddings have become the norm - Princess Beatrice even wore a second-hand gown (albeit one which once belonged to the Queen) for her private Windsor wedding last summer - the marriage of an English Lady to a wealthy businessman offered a reminder that there is perhaps something in the fairytale magnificence of a totally OTT ceremony after all.