In honour of Princess Diana’s 20th anniversary, bridal designer Anthony Montesano has created an alluring dedication to her legacy. He’s designed a custom one-off couture gown for a spectacular editorial shoot, utilising his skills as an expert dressmaker to communicate his overwhelming admiration for the late princess, which he felt even as an 11-year-old mourning her passing.
The male model in the images is a barista from Anthony’s local café, who, after several weeks of chatting, revealed to Anthony that he was born on the exact same day Diana had passed, 20 years ago. Two years prior to the shoot, Anthony had purchased an authentic military jacket in hopes of one day fulfilling his dream, telling Wedded Wonderland of his astonishment upon finding it. “Image my shock when I dug it from the back of my wardrobe and the boy who turns 20 today, fit into the jacket perfectly. His mother always said ‘a princess died and a prince was born’.”
We sat down with Anthony to get a closer insight into this ingenious editorial, discussing everything from elegantly coiffed hand, the legacy of the royal family, and the strength of humanity during times of tragedy.
What was the inspiration behind the shoot?
“The moment Diana passed away it was as if time had stopped and the world came to a half. For me, the shoot was a way of honouring someone who touched so many lives and highlighting that she will never be forgotten. I was 11 at the time she passed, yet remember it so vividly, as well as the feelings shared by the public worldwide. To me, moments such as these deserve to be remembered as they highlight the strength of humanity in times of tragedy. They show Diana’s truest meaning, that there can be beauty even in tragedy.”
Can you tell me how you translated your admiration for Diana into the couture gown you created in her honour?
“The gown had a regal collar reminiscent of the grandest aristocratic costumes, highlight the fact that in the heart of the public, Diana will always be queen. On the train, I used the crown from the royal family’s crest and added a luminous heart below it to symbolise Diana was in truth the Queen of Hearts, even if her title of earthly queen would no longer come to be. The base fabric was a sheer, liquid-like fabric, which I chose to symbolise the magical legacy she left behind that is not visible, but felt. The bell sleeves were a nod to her wedding gown, which helped her first captivate the hearts of the public.”
Can you explain the process behind creating the editorial?
“We chose landmarks reminiscent of London and the Royal Family, and incorporated a magnificent crown from Maria Elena Headpieces Australia to tie the crowns Diana wore in her lifetime. The hair was masterfully done by Caterina Di Biase and the makeup by Sarah lea Cross.”
What do you hope to achieve with this editorial?
“I wanted to show the world how affected I still am by Diana’s legacy, and offer a symbol for others who are still touched by her, to relate to. I also wanted to create a tangible object to personify the beauty Diana imprinted in us all.”
Photography Rachael Michelle Ogle