The Couture bride

The Couture bride

HOW does a princess choose her wedding dress? In the world of fairy tales, her magical godmother (or some extremely helpful and dexterous mice) might weave it for her out of thin air, but in real life (at least, as real as life gets when you’re a princess), one goes to Ralph & Russo.

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A stunning creation by Ralph and Russo

The Couture bride

A couture dream

Breathtaking

Alone is exactly where any girl wearing it will stand, since this dress - and in fact every dress in the Ralph & Russo collection - will only be created once for each given country. Brides, even princesses, have to be first to order in their territory, before the gruelling process of creation begins - sometimes taking as long as a year, depending on the embroidery involved. This particular dress - "with a traditional feeling, but using modern techniques," Ralph explained - required 3,900 hours of hand embroidery (162 days if you worked round the clock); 40 different types of bead; and 25 different types of Swarovski crystal. The underlayers are tulle, hand-printed with a metallic Chantilly-lace effect, to give depth without weight - drawing on the grandeur yet airiness of Listri's work.

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