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The Royal Touch

March 25, 1994|BETTY GOODWIN

The Movie: "Four Weddings and a Funeral."

The Setup: Charles (Hugh Grant), always an usher and never the groom, falls for Carrie (Andie MacDowell, pictured with Grant) at a mutual friend's wedding. Their own weddings to other people follow.

The Costume Designer: Lindy Hemming, whose credits include "Hear My Song," "High Hopes," "Life Is Sweet" and "Naked."

The Look: Bride's magazine come to life. Any woman in the midst of wedding preparations will want to take notes. Three of the four brides in these undoubtedly British-style weddings borrow heavily from the nuptials of England's royal princesses. Think of massive tulle veils, puffy sleeves ending in narrow points, hefty trains and miles of bead-encrusted white taffeta, and you get the picture--allowing, of course, for the distinctions of a country wedding, a city wedding and a society wedding. The fluffiest bride of all--with a skirt in tiers like those of a wedding cake--is aptly referred to by onlookers as "a meringue."

Hit: Carrie, the American, opts for absolute simplicity. Her wedding gown consists of a slip-dress-cum-train of ivory duchess satin and a matching bolero blanketed with seed pearls. A beaded headband, veil-less, anchors her curly bob. At her throat is an antique pearl necklace.

Quoted: "After all of the royal weddings, and especially Lady Di and Fergie, bridal dresses in England became more fantastic and princess-like again," Hemming said.

Trivia: Three of the grooms wear traditional English morning suits, in two variations: a pale gray straight coat or tail coat with matching trousers--known as a gray morning suit--or a black tail coat with gray striped trousers. Hamish (Corin Redgrave), the Scottish groom, wears traditional Highland dress: kilt, jacket and lace shirt.

Inspiration: Magazine pictures of weddings and social events, especially the Tatler and Harpers & Queen magazines, plus the Field, Scottish Life and Bride's.

Sources: The princess-y wedding dresses are from Berketex Brides in London. Hemming designed MacDowell's gown, and the actress's costume-jewelry necklace was a found in a box of old junk in a costume shop. Morning suits were rented or bought from Morris Angel and Moss Brothers, except for Grant's, which came from Hackett in London, a classic menswear shop.

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