Over the weekend, James and Julia Ogilvy (James is the son of Princess Alexandra and the late Angus Ogilvy) celebrated their twenty-eighth wedding anniversary. We don’t often look back at millinery fashion from the late 1980s so I thought we’d grab the opportunity of this milestone to do so.
James Ogilvy and Julia Rawlinson met during their first year at St. Andrews University and married on July 30, 1988 at St. Mary The Virgin Church in Saffron Walden, a small market town in the bride’s home county of Essex just south of Cambridge. Julia wore a gown in white dupioni silk with a v-neck, fitted bodice, and full, ballgown skirt that swept into a short train. The dress is firmly dated in the late 1980s by the voluminous leg ‘o mutton sleeves trimmed with bows (a popular design detail that in all likelihood was also on the back of the dress!). Devoid of lace or beaded trimming, the stars of this dress are its silhouette and the silk of which it is made. Not surprising for a country wedding of a more distant member of the royal family, Julia forwent a tiara and anchored her silk tulle veil with a crescent of fresh flowers to match her bouquet.
The bridesmaids, which included Lady Gabriella Windsor (front left, below), wore dresses in the same white dupioni silk with pale pink sashes and similar floral headpieces to the bride. The bridal party had a quintessentially English country look that might seem familiar thanks to the popular movie “Four Weddings And A Funeral” which screened just six years later.
Princess Alexandra topped her cerulean blue suit with a matching straw hat. While not as tall as the designs we see her favour today, the hat had many design elements that seem “oh-so Alexandra”- a pork pie shaped crown, wide brim and lavish silk flower trim. It’s a wonderful hat and the saturated colour was particularly beautiful on her. Alexandra’s daughter Marina, shown on the right in the photo below, wore a classically shaped hat in black textured straw with a wide brim.
Queen Elizabeth wore a two toned straw hat with rounded black crown and flat, yellow brim. A wide yellow hatband and spray of black cherries completed the hat. The cherries were an unusual and fun trim and while the graphic hat did an excellent job of grounding the eye-assaulting paint splattered suit, I think the entire ensemble was so firmly rooted in the late 1980s that it’s best left there.
Diana, Princess of Wales, topped her Catherine Walker dress and grey coat with white straw picture hat by Philip Somerville. The hat, with a short upturn on the brim, was simply trimmed with a ruched white hatband and marks a time when the princess was transitioning from the smaller, fussier hats she wore in the early years of her marriage to the more streamlined style she adopted over the next decade.
The complete antithesis of Diana’s streamlined hat, Princess Margaret’s hat was textbook 1980s excess! In vibrant royal blue, her halo brimmed design was entirely covered in silk blooms on the underside of the brim that framed her face like a peephole in a rose garden. Attractive? I’m not sure. Memorable? Absolutely!
While just twenty-two years old at the time of this wedding, Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones (now Lady Sarah Chatto) was already showing signs of her uncluttered millinery style and preference for classic hat shpaes with a simple straw wide-brimmed hat with contrasting hat band.
The Duchess of Gloucester topped her red suit with a large boater style hat in straw trimmed with side sprays of flowers both above and below the brim and a monochrome hatband. The Duchess of Kent went for fashionable 1980s polka dots with her ensemble, matching her pale pink dotted suit to the bumper brim of her hat. It looks like the hat was finished with a bow at the back and a pale pink straw domed crown.
Finally, Princess Michael of Kent wore a pale pink straw hat edged in black piping, placed at a rakish diagonal angle on the side of her head. We’re so used to grand design elements (soaring brims, huge feathers etc.) on Marie Christine’s current hats that the smaller scale and gentle shape of this piece makes for a great surprise.
1980s fashion is often not regarded with kindness and while several design elements in the hats seen here seem rather dated, I think they are wonderfully elegant examples of the millinery fashions of the day. What hats stand out to you most at this wedding?