Pity New York Times fashion writer Cathy Horyn, stuck writing a " Critic's Notebook " about what Chelsea Clinton wore at her wedding. There was really nothing for a Critic to say. It was a white dress. Whitish, anyway. It is the duty of the Newspaper of Record to set it down, so that the next time a president's daughter gets married, the morgue file for the wedding gowns is up to date:
, wed in 1996, wore a 1920s dress, as well as her glasses, and walked on a carpet of pine straw and magnolia petals. Ms. Truman wore a fitted dress of beige Venetian silk, by the Roman designer Micol Fontana. White did not suit her, she said. wore a dropped-waist gown, by , sentimentally embroidered with shamrocks.
Shamrocks! Add to Chelsea to the list:
Designed by Vera Wang, the strapless dress consisted of a number of yards of ivory silk organza that had been lightly gathered, with tulle pleated diagonally on the bodice. The dress was finished with a silvery embroidered waistband, not unlike the dresses with dark sashes that Ms. Wang showed in a bridal collection this year.
A writer for the Women's Pages of old times could then have skipped ahead to the only other facts at Horyn's disposal, and called it a day:
For the reception, Ms. Clinton changed into an ivory silk tulle Grecian dress with a crisscross back and a black grosgrain belt. Her bridesmaids each wore a strapless gown in lavender chiffon with a plum-colored bow.
But Cathy Horyn is a serious writer, who has thoughts about fashion, even if there is nothing to think about.
Ms. Clinton, 30, was silent in every way except one. Her dress told a lot.
It did? What did it tell us? It
suggested a completely different relationship with fashion — even, perhaps, an ambivalent one. Her metamorphosis from a gawky, studious teenager to an accomplished, self-assured young woman who prefers straight hair to curly seemed to happen almost overnight, like the discovery, suddenly, that she had a voice and was indeed, as Politico said in 2008, "a significant surrogate" and not merely a "silent symbol."
Still, we do not really know anything about Ms. Clinton’s style, and in a way her pretty dress, with its modestly embellished waist and romantic layers, reflects a woman whose focus is not directed in that way, and maybe is not that vain.
So what the dress told us was...nothing? It told us that Chelsea Clinton doesn't ("maybe") try very hard to communicate things through her clothing, after all, even though there is a Times fashion critic sweating a deadline to say something about what the clothing had said.
Possibly the dress said: this is a wedding, and the person inside the dress is the bride.
Better just bring up other women and their clothing, even if they're not related to presidents:
Ms. Wang also made the dress for Ivanka Trump’s wedding last year, and its tight lace bodice and elbow-length sleeves, somewhat based on the severe style of Grace Kelly’s bridal dress, reflected a sophisticated taste.
Grace Kelly was a princess! Back in her day. Today's America yearns to see "sophisticated taste" from its political leaders' children. If only we had elected someone with real class and style, like Donald Trump.