Fairy tales that have been told for generations have been assimilated into Disney films to carry on the fantasy of every girl becoming a Princess one day. These films have created a certain aesthetic that has shaped the way that a girl grows up wanting to be the belle of the ball and possibly be swept off her feet by her very own Prince Charming. From high school proms to weddings, the theme of ball gowns and tiaras has permeated the desires of grown women. Before the Disney phenomenon tiaras were exclusive to papal ceremonies and royalty, but now every girl can have her dream come true thanks to Walt’s animated fairy tales.
The desire to dress up in an amazing dress and wear sparkling jewelry seems ingrained in western culture. From a young age girls put on their mothers clothes, wear their shoes and drape themselves in all that glitters in a make believe game of being a princess. Although the desire to be the centre of attention and the most beautiful of them all has been around for thousands of years, the fashions associated with it have in fact changed relatively recently.
What we nowadays consider to be a traditional wedding dress was in reality introduced by Queen Victoria just over a hundred years ago, and even then it took until the late part of the twentieth century to become the norm. Before Queen Victoria’s marriage, wedding dresses were made from bold coloured luxurious fabrics, but never from black, red or white, and often incorporated furs to show a sign of wealth. Those of lesser social standing wore their Sunday best clothes or an evening gown.
Queen Victoria chose to wear white for her wedding to Prince Albert, and to declare her wealth she insisted on having a dress made from as much expensive fabric as she could. This was the birth of the bustled white wedding dress and its appearance was set to change the concept of what a fairy tale wedding would look like. It was this influence in wedding fashion that influenced the Disney animators, and from there on in the female protagonists were poorly dresses girls who were transformed into a Princess by emulating the Queens fashion of sumptuous dress and tiara.
In these films, tiaras of all styles were used from golden crown style tiaras to simple sparkling bands of diamonds. Along with the social status advertised by amounts of fabric, the tiara became a symbol of high social standing. The popularity of the Walt Disney films influenced a whole generation of girls growing up, so although evening dresses were still the choice of the majority for a bridal wear, it was their children that wanted to emulate the Princess aesthetic as defined by the American animators.
Today, all you need to do is flick through a copy of a glossy magazine to see pictures of celebrities dressed in ball gowns and tiaras for their wedding. The marriage of Pete Andre and Katie Price was a real-life re-enactment of Cinderella, complete with pumpkin carriage, the ultimate in a dream wedding inspired by Disney animations and the Princess protocols it created.
Tiaras have become as much of a staple in this aesthetic as the big dress, and today you will find that the bride and the bridesmaids will be wearing tiaras that sparkle and glisten as a must have accessory in making their wedding dreams come true.