The wedding dress inspired in the Queen Victoria’s gown

Angelina Russell was married only six weeks after the Queen Victoria of England did. This wedding was a highlight of inspiration for bridal fashion in the time.

I have decided to write a post about the queen’s bridal gown, a jewel that still today is an inspiration for designers and a truly icon in the bridal fashion. However, let me focus today in the Agelina’s design.

Although the piece is quite similar to the Queen’s, Angelina knew how to be special and she gave the gown a personal touch only brides are able to do.

The fabric was a very light silk decorated with a damask floral motive very popular back in the time. Angelina’s dress was completed with a beautiful bodice with an open neckline finished off with a hand-embroidered flounce. The top of the bodice is tight to the chest with wide casings. The front has a simple decoration though, with five beautiful laces made in the same silk.  This sort of details are still today in fashion. We still see modern brides with laces decorating a noted part in their designs.


Sleeves in Angelina’s dress are pleated ending around the elbow with another hand-embroidered flounce.

The skirt is linked to the bodice through a tiny 55 cm diameter waist. Please, go ahead and grab a meter so you can imagine what a diameter of 55 cm is. To me it’s so extrange that those women could fit in a waist of a little girl.

Angelina Russel was married with James J. Faran (1808-92) in 1840. They both moved to Cincinnati, James’ home city.

Faran became into a successful lawyer and editor. For 23 years he worked as a manager of editors in a local newspaper, The Cincinnati Enquirer.

The couple lived in a modern area within the center of Cincinnati where they grew five children and enjoyed their marriage for over 50 years.


Wedding Perfection- Two Centuries of wedding Gowns- Cynthia Amnèus

A brilliant wedding dress for a practical woman from half of the 19th century

Abigail Holmes chose for her wedding silk in golden color, which makes her different from the rest of the gown samples we’ve seen in this section “Iconic Wedding Dresses”.

Abigail was married with Clark S. Potter in October 1839 in New York and she chose an open neckline design with a bell-shaped skirt and a very tight bodice. I love that kind of designs with pleated sleeves tight over the elbow and also to the wrist.

Right those years fashion about sleeves was changing to a less bulky around the shoulders. That way that part of the body was better highlighted. Years after, sleeves started getting narrower and many women adapted their dresses to the new trend.

This dress seems to be more a daily piece rather than a wedding dress. It’s not presumptuous or ostentatious which is the opposite to the rest of the dresses we’ve seen here over the past few months. As decorations there are just a few simple wrinkles and a garland strategically set. Although this is not the only gown in color we’ve seen, if you remember the Mary Waters’ made almost a century before.

The selection of such a dark color was totally unusual for brides back in the time. Take into account the white silk was more expensive than silk in color and besides the cleaning was harder in a clear dress.

Abigail was probably the most realistic woman we’ve known so far, since she opted for a dress she perfectly could use after the ceremony for other uses. Her decision was also based on the fact that the couple was going to make a cruise right after the wedding. A golden-colored dress is more practical to travel. Actually the young bride also ordered a cape in the same fabric.

I couldn’t find much more info about the Holmes family. Although they were not rich, Mr. And Mrs. Potter prospered over the years. In the Federal Census of United States (1860) they were written to be living with their 8 sons in Albion. Clark Potter was a Rental Office employee.

A brilliant wedding dress for a practical woman from half of the 19th century.


Wedding Perfection- Two Centuries of wedding Gowns- Cynthia Amnèus.

The Herculan ruins inspire Ruhamah Smith’s wedding dress

Ruahmah Smith from Worcester got married with James David Jr in September 1801, in Massachusetts.

In her simple wedding dress can be seen traditional details from the time. The skirt is a little tidied up in the back. The edge of the bodice draws the shoulders backwards and push the breast onwards. Although the piece seems to be light and comfortable, the fact is that it forced an uncomfortable posture. The gown is embellished with a beautiful brunch-shaped embroidery.

By mid 18th century, the Discovery of the Roman ruins in Herculano started a period of interest for classicism.The concern for the perfect beauty, a Greek and Roman old idea, inspired the rejection of the over decorated things. The fashion was then stark geometrical shapes. Actually the dresses were similar to Greek columns. The high waist pushed up the breast. The favourite fabrics were white cotton and linen, because of their simplicity and the similarity to the marble sculptures found in the ancient ruins.


The last years of the century came marked by the French Revolution, which influenced the fashion of the time. The perfectly organized dresses worn by the aristocracy were banished. Instead a fashion style based on classic dresses that let the body be revealed was born.

About Ruhama and James we only know a very few more things: they had two children, James and Rhama. Their descendants prospered and stayed in the area.

Ruhama and James’ granddaughter Ada M Davis was married near Worcester too in 1874.



Mary Dayton Richards; A bride from the end of the 19th century

Mary Dayton Richards (1842-1921) and Milton Brayton Graff (1840-1877) were married in 1869 in Manhattan. By that time, the wedding gowns were long and with a elliptical skirt. However the trend for brides was about to change.

She – who was very thin – decided to wear a beautiful dress in pure white made in a kind of shiffon. Nowadays it’s not common anymore for brides to wear such a white dress but other tonalities of white like cream or ivory.

The sort of shiffon she used was origin from India and it was very similar to muslin but with a thinner weave and a rigid consistency.


Mary’s dress was a very common model back in the 19th century: it was modest with a demure style like the fashion rules dictated in the time. It had a cute bodice with round neckline and central set of buttons, with a little arpon made of flounces in the same fabric that the rest of the dress. Of course, since the fabric was so transparent, it had a cotton lining to show consistency.

The sleeves were semi transparent as they didn’t get the cotton lining below from the elbow down.

The superb skirt was made by a couple of overskirts (one shorter than the other) resting over a petticoat, with an undulating ending in the same fabric. The drawing was actually a bit modern for the time.


Mary and Milton were married in Manhattan, where she was born, although the couple got back to the groom’s home – Cincinnati – right after the ceremony. He was working there as a psychologist.

They lived together with Milton’s parents, Jacob and May Ann Graff in the west of the city. Between 1850 and 1890 the wealthy businessmens built there impressive Italian-style houses and the area started being called “The Walk of the Millionaires”.

Sadly, the marriage was broken in just a few years due to Milton’s death in 1875. After 5 years, Mary built her own house in Glendale (Ohio), in a community only 15 miles away from Cincinnati.

Glendale was the summer house for rich people from Cincinnati, who wanted to scape from the noise and contamination of a big city. Probably was that and the quite surroundings what grabbed Mary’s attention. She lived there with her two children until she died in 1921.

129, Dayton Street


Wedded Perfection. Cynthia Amnéus.


Wedded Perfection. Cynthia Amnéus.

Google Maps


A vintage wedding gown with courage and sensitivity

Why a daughter would want to wear her mother’s wedding dress? I’ve been thinking so much about this lately that I’ve decided to start a few posts around this theme: old bridal gowns and the stories and protagonists behind.

And the first story I want to share with you today is all but boring. I’ve been looking into the full story and I’ve been amazed with so many odd anecdotes. You know how I love digging into old stories from the past…

This time it wasn’t the lack of money what took Mary Mulenberg Hopkings into wearing the same gown her mother Mary Barr Denny Muhlenberg had worn 28 years ealier. Back in the time Mary (daughter) got married with one of the inheritors in the area. It was clear to me though her motives were sentimental.

Mary Barr Denny Muhlenber's original wedding dress before any retouch  Vintage By Lopez  Linares

The fashion trends had totally changed since then but the daughter only touched the neckline a bit in order to make it more modest and also changed a little the design of the sleeves, but nothing else. I assume they should have had about the same size.

Mary the mother had been a woman surprisingly well prepared for the time. She stood up over the rest of the students in the prestigious Parcker Institute, in Brooklyn, where she joined advanced Maths and Astronomy, among other subjects. This knowledge along with her personality allowed her to continue working on the projects her husband left unattended when he died.

Mary Muhlenberg's bridal gown after the retouch  Vintage By Lopez Linares

She inherited a huge fortune which didn’t stop her from becoming into an incredible philantropic for the rest of her life. Hospitals, medical institutions, orphanages, schools and universities were a few of the projects Mary started besides her shy and discreet nature.

Mary made real the most ambitious project ever built by a woman in the time, the creation of the Mariemont Village in Hamilton, Ohio. It was a very advanced city with all the amenities you could imagine.

But Mariemont’s story goes back to the beginning of the 20th century, when her husband bought a ranch near Newport, Rhode Island. He called it Mariemont. There the couple spent wonderful times and started dreaming of how the project would be.

After Thomas’ passing, Mary spent over 7 million dollars to adquire all lands around her ranch. She needed a lot of space to build her dream city: a model place ready to embrace people from all levels, either buying or renting family houses.

Mary Barr Denny Muhlenber Vintage By Lopez  Linares

Mary placed the first stone of Mariemont Village on April 23rd 1923, but she died four years later leaving her heirs enjoying her magnanimous creation: one of the biggest construction in the beginning of the 20th century that employed the most prominent professionals.

I’m sure her mother would have been very proud of the role Mary played in the development of the US. She, a woman with the sensitivity of wearing the same wedding gown as her mother did had the courage of build one of the most ambitious constructions of the time.

Composition with the bridal gown Mary Muhlenberg and her mother worn before and after the retouch  Vintage By Lopez Linares

Here’s a mosaic with the two bridal dresses, the original one and then with the changes Mary did. Which one you like it more? I’d rather prefer the first option… The new neckline and sleeves don’t convinced me. How about you?

Images and Bibliography

Wedding Perfection- Two Centuries of wedding Gowns- Cynthia Amnèus.

Over two centuries of bridal fashion

Let me give you today a very special recommended plan: an exhibition that was opened last March at the Victorian and Albert Museum in London. Among its walls the luckiest readers who happen to live in London or around will be able to learn the history of the classical wedding dress since it became popular among brides-to-be in the end of the 18th century. I don’t live close enough but I’d really love paying a visit, so I’ll do so through your eyes.

The best designers over the year like Charles Frederick Worth, Norman Hartnell, Charles James, John Galiano, Christian Lacroix, Vivienne Westwood and Vera Wang will guide you with their over 70 designs through the evolution of this costume that will ever be fashionable: a wedding dress in pure white or in the most sensual ivory.

3 Silk satin wedding dress designed by Norman hartnell in 1933 - Victoria and Albert Museum London - Vintage By Lopez-Linares recommendation

The exhibition tells the astonishing story of each one of the 70 dresses, starting back in 1775 until today, and include new acquisitions like the purple dress worn by Dita Von Teese for her marriage with Marilyn Manson and the one worn by Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale on their wedding day.

Besides enjoying these pieces of art, the V&A Museum has planned events regarding the bridal collection. Evening talks, workshops or romantic concerts will give the show even more spectacular nature. If you want to know the upcoming events, go to Wedding Dresses 1775-2014: Events (just click over the link to go to the page straight away)


I wish I could go for instance to the workshop with the award-wining writer Julie Cohen as a speaker, who will please the visitors with an introduction to basics of romantic writing. Or… Why not? Listening to the Britain’s most acclaimed fashion designer Bruce Oldfield. And my favorite workshop: Learning how to use a Victorian tiara, like a real queen would do.

The show will be opened until the next March 15th 2015, which means you, who live in the UK, have time enough to go for a visit, enjoy all its details and get amazed with each piece. And of course, I’ll be waiting for you to tell me your experience on comments! You’ll be my eyes…

Here’s the link to the website with more information about timetable and tickets availability. Enjoy your visit!

Wedding Dresses 1775-2014: Visitor & Ticket Information

Images source: Victorian and Albert Museum and Arabia Style Fashion

Your dreamy vintage wedding dress… Now in our new window

We’ve just realeased a new shop window design! Since we are in the favourite time of the year for couples to get married, we’ve decided to add a touch of a vintage wedding to it, a retro wedding from the 50s.

Thanks to the overwhelming generosity of a very good friend of my family, Paula Vallejo Rey del Castillo, Mrs Esteban, we have today one of the most refined and exquisite wedding dresses from the late 50s. We asked to much of her, we knew it. We were asking to show not only her lovely dress but also the memories that entails to take out such a piece. But she gladly agreed and I think her effort was really worth it. This magnificent dress deserved to be shown to the world, don’t you think so?


This piece was made back in 1957 in chantilly lace and silk tull in the sewing workshop own by Purificacion Sepulveda in Madrid. What really caught my attention was the spectacular 2 meters-long tail in chantilly lace and tull. That detail gives the dress an unusual fall and movement. It was so difficult to make it fit in our shop window!

It also was a bit tricky to take these pictures since the dress, my camera and I didn’t fit in the shop window all at once! You can imagine how superb this piece is.


We’d love to show it to you in person, and chat with you about how fashion was that time. So don’t hesitate to come and see me at C/Claudio Coello, 60 in Madrid if you plan to be around any time soon!

If you also have a vintage dress like this one and you’d love to see it in our shop window, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll be glad to show it to the world if you take part in our iniciative.

Looking forward to your thoughts!

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With D: for Diadem

According to the legend, the Greek Dionysus was who first invented the head decoration called nowadays band. Actually the word diadem (as a band synonym) comes from “diadein” (old Greek) meaning “to bind around”.

Before the metallurgy evolution a few old civilizations like the Etruscans and the Scythians used to make wreaths out of flowers and leaves to adorn their heads.

Over the years their skills and techniques evolved to change their temporary flower wreaths for other bands more crafted and long-lasting. Nowadays flowers on diadems remind the ancestral meaning of diadems.

We nowadays distinguish between tiara and diadem, its origins are the same though. A diadem is an open ring stuck to the head used mostly to keep the hair out of the face. The tiara instead goes upper and depending on the size, dess up better in the front side of the head.

Although it’s said that during special events some men used to wear gold diadems in the old times, this kind o jewel is more usual among women.

Today we can find diadems made in plastic rimmed, metal, gold or silver. The first group are usually worn as a head-dress decorated with feathers, felt or even laces in different colours. On the other hand tiaras, usually made in gold, silver or precious and semi-precious gems are worn in very unique moments and weddings.

The diadems I’m using to illustrate this post have been made in silver and zircons, with glaze and freshwater pearls.




Downton Abbey

The third season of “Downtown Abbey” starts today. The famous Anglo drama series has been a resounding success with both its Spanish and International audiences.

The truth is that it doesn’t surprise me: from the cast’s acting to the atmosphere and costumes, all the series’ details are so perfect that they manage to transport you to early Twentieth Century England without you even noticing. If we add some great English actors to this, the series would become a must-see success, even if it were purely just for your enjoyment.

The first chapter of the third season had over nine million viewers in theUnited Kingdom. It began with the long awaited wedding between Lady Mary Crawley and Matthew Crawley, something that everyone who saw the first part was dying to see happen.

And here is where my eyes really lit up. When I saw the photographs of the wedding on the internet at the end of September, the first thing that caught my attention was the tiara that Mary wore. The series’ costume designers went in search of one of the most famous antiquarians ofEngland, Bentley & Skinner, specialists in antique jewellery; the result of this search was a Georgian tiara created for Lady Mary’s walk down the altar.

Bentley is an English jeweller who has had a shop since 1934, specializing in antique pieces from the late Nineteenth Century. He managed to become very famous a few years ago when he created a diamond-covered skull for the artist Damien Hirst. The piece reached a £50million sale price.

The brand ‘Skinner’ served QueenVictoriaduring the Nineteenth Century. Bentley & Skinner was founded in 1997 due to the union of both houses.

The sensational headdress is covered in traditionally carved diamonds, mounted in 45 karat yellow gold and silver; it is valued at £125000. The piece transforms into a brooch and diadem.

So now you can imagine the first thing that passed through my head… I wanted that tiara! I wanted it in my hands and I wanted it before the Spanish audience was able to see it. I wanted everyone to be able to enjoy it the very same day that the series was released.

Neither did I let the bride’s dress out of my sight, designed by the manager of all the series’ costumes, Caroline MacCall. It appears that the dress has been the most expensive order made for the series, seeing that only the making of it cost nearly over £4000. It’s a beautiful Twenties style dress made from silver lace and embroidered with Swarovski crystal and rice pearls. A design that more than one Twenty-first Century bride would be thrilled to wear.

And this is exactly what we’ve done. We have recreated Lady Mary’s wedding in the very heart ofMadrid. We have reproduced her tiara, and now, in our window display, an exultant mannequin sports the tiara along with an original Twenties bride’s dress.

If you want to enjoy this gem, photograph it or simply contemplate the beauty of a bridal outfit from the previous Century, make sure you pass by and take a look at our window display. It will be on show until the end of the year.

Don’t miss out, we’re waiting for you!

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If you were Kate Middleton would you sport the Spencer Tiara on your Wedding Day?

There is a lot of speculation happening during these weeks about the possibility that Kate Middleton will wear the Spencer Tiara on the day of her wedding to Prince William ofEngland. A few days ago, even the magazine “Hola” dedicated an interesting coverage to the famous tiara.

Since Princess Diana’s death the jewel has not been seen in public, remaining in the hands of its current owner, Count Spencer in “Althorp House”, where one can admire it in all its splendour.

This magnificent jewel has not been worn as a tiara for all that long. Due to this, one cannot really consider it to be a family relic, as seen as its history is rather recent. The evolution of this piece starts in 1919 when Lady Sarah Spencer, the single sister of the sixth Count of Spencer, gave a beautiful piece of jewellery to her niece in-law, Cynthia, as a wedding gift to her marriage with Albert Edward. Cynthia and Albert would later become the seventh Counts of Spencer, and Lady Diana’s grandparents (on the paternal line).

This jewel, which would be received by Diana’s grandmother as a wedding gift, was a sparkling piece in the shape of a tulip, and it would be the part that would later become the central piece of the famous tiara.

However it wasn’t until 1937 that the tiara was really converted into the jewel that we know today, and that many years later would be sported by Lady Diana. This year, four more elements were added by the prestigious English jeweller Garrard. We know that the cost of this alteration was 125 sterling pounds at the time.

Coincidentally, that same year and in the same jewellers, Queen Elizabeth II subjected the Imperial Crown that she would wear on the day of her coronation, to a few alterations. Would the two tiaras coincide in the hands of the same goldsmith during those days?

Only the two small elements that were decorated at the end of the tiara were truly antique. It is believed that they belonged to a tiara from the French Viscount of Montagu, and that they were inherited by Lady Sarah Spencer in 1875.

It doesn’t seem logical that such a significant day in the English Monarchy’s history, such as the wedding of its future King, the Queen of England would favourably view the fact that the Bride displays a jewel that doesn’t belong to the British crown. It seems fit to wait for the opposite to happen, that the Queen would give one of her magnificent tiaras as a gift to the future wife of her beloved grandson. There by the bride that would one day succeed her as the Queen of England would wear one of the pieces from the Royal House’s collection on such an important occasion.

In the supposed case that William would desire to pay a posthumous tribute to his mother, he would be obliged to ask his uncle for the loan of this famous tiara, as seen as the current Count of Spencer is its legitimate owner.

William had wanted to have his mother present when presenting Kate with the same engagement ring that Lady Di received from the hands of his father on the day of their engagement in February 1981. The jewel is a magnificent ring, with an oval-shaped 14 karat Ceylon Sapphire with a surrounding halo of 14 shining stones, mounted over white gold by the famous jewellers, Garrards. This jewel was chosen by Queen Elizabeth and her son Charles for the significant date. Its price was 28000 sterling pounds.

The Spencer tiara is a truly dignified jewel for a Queen, however it is also true that perhaps Lady Di’s controversial figure should allow Kate to be the protagonist on an occasion this important, if it is finally decided that the same tiara is to be worn as on the day of her wedding.

What would you do?