The glitter, reduced to the essentials: evening gowns and tiaras for empresses, queens and princesses, embellished tailcoats for kings, princes and ambassadors. All this was “relegated” to the dinner gala the night after the wedding of Hussein, Crown Prince to the throne of Jordan, with the icy and smiling Saudi architect of international studios Rajwa Al Saif appearing at the reception wearing a second lavish wedding dress much too opulent. Catwalk in real time, certainly for the fun of social media, more accustomed to fizzy drinks than spring water. In metaphor simplicity and essence. Because the quiet coup of style associated with this wedding of considerable political specific weight arose from the dress code required for the wedding ceremony held in Amman in the late morning of June 1, 2023 in a pavilion in the gardens of the Zahran Palace in the presence of 140 guests.
If the dress code was not stated openly, if not an explicit request from the court of Jordan addressed to the guests not to wear tiaras or important jewels in order to keep the ceremony sober. May not be indicated. But the result was there. Starting with Queen Rania, the mother of the groom with a sober Dior Alta Moda winter 2022 model, black with small dot embroidery on the back and cuffs. While King Abdullah II in a dark cocktail suit with a tie in burgundy tones.
Except for the bride and groom, Prince Hussein in uniform with his imperturbable smile, and the bride-to-be Rajwa in a white dress by Elie Saab, worn with flat shoes to support the weight of the train and veil with only the support of the arm of the young eighteen-year-old brother-in-law, the ‘very excited Prince Hashem, Hussein’s brother, the dress code for men was a blue cocktail suit and a colored or pastel tie. Long light and airy dresses for the guests: long sleeves and no plunging necklines. Few and secluded jewels, micro bags (clutches, pochettes or with small handles) and (almost everyone) flat shoes.
Yet it was the gathering of the mighty and powerful of today’s Earth: First Lady Jill Biden was also in attendance with her daughter Ashley; of the most authoritative gathering of crowned heads in recent years, excluding coronations and anniversaries. Starting with Ms. Biden, the message was clear. The world has changed. Even the elegance and attitude of those at the top. So from the United States where the tantrums of Meghan’s wife Prince William are raging, the first lady of the US showed up with a dress already worn at official occasions at the White House.
It is a mauve column in satin with a neckline of an ampoule trimmed with pearls, a creation of the Lebanese designer Reem Acra. Parading confidently with her daughter Ashley by the hand, on the contrary with a small spot on, but minimal black suit. The dress was worn by Biden’s wife at the end of April 2023 on the occasion of the official dinner hosted by the White House and offered in honor of South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol in the company of his wife Kim Keon-hee, who instead of which arrived in a white jacket and long skirt.
The American First Lady perfectly aligns with the three Rs philosophy of sustainable fashion: reuse, recycle and reduce. Attitude has been married to Princess of Wales Catherine for many years. Like the state jewels for royal families that are part of a codified ritual and worn repeatedly, even though they are the same, it happens because each has a precise political meaning. The same is now happening for clothing. Without forgetting the value of a “no waste” image in line with the international crisis situation.
Local traditions have certainly influenced the choice of clothes of the guests. Women must cover their arms and legs. And also the boss, but for Western women there is no obligation. Queen Rania herself was bareheaded. Except for the guests from the Gulf such as the blood princes and the sheikhs of the Emirates who wore the bisht, the slightly transparent cloak in the colors pale yellow, brown and black with the head covered by the keffiyeh, all other guests were within noon with tie and according to protocol, without any decoration. Then put on the tailcoat (in some cases too much) at the reception in the evening.
So the dress rehearsals for future monarchies are underway. The coronation of Charles III attempted to mediate centuries-old traditions with his future son William and his wife Catherine. The marriage between the heir to the throne of Jordan Hussein and Rajwa Al Saif, who is related to the Saudi royal family on his mother’s side, is another chapter. Both the wedding ceremony and the evening reception turned out to be a festive (at least apparently) summit between the powers. So the style had to fit. So even the clothes for the two events, ceremony and reception, were transformed into a new uniform. With regard to the women’s world, and especially for the wedding ceremony, the display of a kind of elegant new look, a more sober power dress, perhaps equivalent to the power of the female suit with masculine sartorial lines.
Much attention was paid to the choice of clothing for the illustrious guests. Following the example of Jill Biden and Princess Beatrice of England, both chose Lebanese designer Reem Acra for their two creations, the First Lady for the long sheath dress for the ceremony, while Prince Andrew’s daughter for the gala dinner. On this occasion, Beatrice of York also displayed for the first time the York Tiara in diamonds, the tiara given by Elizabeth II in 1986 to Sarah Ferguson, future mother of Beatrice and her sister Eugenie, on the occasion of her marriage to her son Andrea. She had never worn the jewel before Prince Hussein’s wedding.
Rania of Jordan, for her part, played on a level playing field. So for the ceremony she wore a chaste dress from Dior with the class and casualness that today only belongs to the Princess of Wales, while at night she wore a draped dress from Elie Saab Haute Couture. Therefore, if the live-streamed wedding asked not to wear tiaras or anything else to make the ritual as simple as possible, the occasion to display the state jewels was the banquet. More subdued and with the taste of a kind of contemporary Congress of Vienna. Again, everything was within the confines of the formal elegance required of members of the royal families on official occasions. During the banquet, Queen Rania used the Arabian roll tiara, given to her by her husband, in white gold with 1300 diamonds and on one side the inscription «Allah is great», while the Princess of Wales Catherine combined the «Lover’s Knot Tiara». and a microclutch from Prada.
But the message of a pauperistic change in the style of the powerful and the powerful themselves comes from the wedding of the handsome and smiling Prince Hussein, a new generation of the royal family of Jordan, very sociable and “normal”. So much so that the royal family recounted the pandemic lock-down period of recent years by showing days, from breakfast to dinner, as if it were a bourgeois family. Those of the heir to the throne of Jordan remain princely weddings, but they also teach a key to understanding, including social media, where the old adage less is more is timeless. Fashion helps a lot, no doubt, but style even more so.
I am Ashley Cochran, a highly experienced journalist and author. I have over 10 years of professional experience working in the media industry. As an author at The News Dept, I specialize in covering fashion and showbiz news with an eye for detail and accuracy. My work has been widely praised by my peers and colleagues alike for its depth of knowledge on all things entertainment related. Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to work with some of the most influential people in the industry, which has allowed me to further cultivate my skills as a writer and communicator.