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Bessette Dressed

New wedding trends?

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It was the wedding that wasn’t televised round the world. Unlike Princess Diana’s 1981 extravaganza, Carolyn Bessette’s beat-the-press marriage to John F. Kennedy Jr. lacked fairy-tale trappings. The island was sparse. The church was bare. And the dress? Well, it didn’t require a horse-drawn carriage to make an entrance.

When then Lady Diana married into royalty wearing a sea of ruffled taffeta, the dress, minus its 25-foot train, became one of the most copied gowns of all time. Will Bessette Kennedy’s unadorned silk crepe slip dress and tulle veil create a similar superlative shift? ”She looked smashing. Girls will of course want to look like her,” says Carolina Herrera, who made the much-copied, shamrock-embroidered gown for Caroline Kennedy’s 1986 wedding. Yet not all brides will want to buck tradition. ”Ninety percent of women marry formally,” says Millie Bratten, editor in chief of Bride’s magazine. ”Though it was appropriate for an island setting, this was an informal dress.”

If they do, though, they’ll have options. A slew of cheap knock-offs will hit stores shortly, but they may be tulle late. The dress — designed by Nino Cerruti’s Narciso Rodriguez — reminds the fashion flock of Klein’s signature, and already available, slip dresses. ”People are worried it’s going to be copied,” says designer James Purcell. ”I wonder where they copied it from. It looks like a Calvin.”