TODAY   |  August 02, 2010

Chelsea Clinton weds in ‘timeless elegance’

Fashion and celebrity experts alike are praising the Clintons’ elegant choice of attire and the stylish planning of their big wedding celebration. Celebrity wedding planner Colin Cowie, WWD’s Rosemary Feitelberg and historian Barry H. Landau offer their takes.

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

MATT LAUER, co-host: We're back now at 8:08 with the fashion highlights from Chelsea Clinton 's big wedding . TODAY national corespondent Natalie Morales has the details. Natalie , good morning again.

NATALIE MORALES reporting: Again. Good morning to you, Matt. Well, the world was waiting to see pictures of the beautiful bride and her dress of choice, and she did not disappoint. Chelsea Clinton said "I do" in a custom-made Vera Wang dress .

Ms. BOBBIE THOMAS (Today Style Editor): It was a gorgeous dress . Lots of silk organza. It was fitted at the bodice. It fell into a beautiful ball skirt, and it was also pleated with tulle, cinched at the waist with an embellished belt. She kept her hair pulled back, the makeup simple, and very delicate jewelry accented the whole look. Traditional, topped off with the veil. Classic and simple, yet it still had that sort of fairy-tale element to it.

MORALES: Vera Wang also made the gown for Ivanka Trump 's wedding last year. And the simplicity of Chelsea 's dress was reminiscent of the one that Narciso Rodriguez did for Carolyn Bessette 's marriage to John F. Kennedy Jr. For the Friday night rehearsal dinner, the mother of the bride, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton , wore a flowing green dress with a low V-neck, paired with a radiant smile. For the nuptials, Mrs. Clinton went for a dark fuchsia dress by her go-to designer.

Ms. LINDSAY POWERS (Senior Editor, Us Weekly Magazine): Her mom, Hillary , opted for an Oscar de la Renta gown. He's a longtime family friend.

MORALES: Before Saturday's wedding , there was a lot of speculation about who would design Chelsea 's wedding dress , Vera Wang or Oscar de la Renta . A number of Web sites favored Oscar de la Renta on the grounds that he makes clothes for the secretary of state . He designed her 1997 inaugural gown and Jenna Bush 's sleeveless lace wedding dress in 2008 . But last week we received a clue when Chelsea was photographed by Women's Wear Daily magazine arriving incognito to Vera Wang 's studio. The elated groom, Marc Mezvinsky , and the proud father of the bride , President Clinton , looked dapper in black suits by Burberry designer Christopher Bailey . But clearly, Chelsea Clinton shined the brightest on her big day .

Ms. THOMAS: She just looked so happy. It was the definition of a blushing bride.

MORALES: And while the cost of her dress is pure guesswork, some have speculated it to cost perhaps as much $20,000. And like modern brides, Chelsea changed dresses for the reception. It was another Vera Wang . We're told an ivory silk tulle Grecian dress with a crisscross back and a black grosgrain belt. Meanwhile, her bridesmaids wore strapless gowns in lavender chiffon with a plum-colored bow. Matt :

LAUER: Yeah, last part just...

MORALES: More than you needed to know.

LAUER: Last part just went right over my head, Natalie , but that's OK. Colin Cowie is a celebrity event wedding planner, Rosemary Feitelberg is the New York correspondent for Women's Wear Daily , and Barry H. Landau is a presidential historian and the author of "The President's Table."

Ladiesgentlemen , good morning to all of you.

Mr. COLIN COWIE (Celebrity Event and Wedding Planner): Good morning, Matt.


Mr. BARRY LANDAU (Author, "The President's Table"): Good morning.

LAUER: Scale of one to 10. Why don't we start with you, Rosemary . Fashions of the day, what'd you think?

Ms. FEITELBERG: I thought it was an exceptional wedding party and that Chelsea was a nine.

LAUER: Yeah? Nine.


LAUER: How about you, Colin ?

Mr. COWIE: I think she looked like a 10. I mean, we've seen Chelsea grow up. She was almost an awkward teen, and look how beautiful she looked and radiant she looked as she confidently walked down that aisle. Mr. LANDAU I have to up the ante. I think she was 10-plus.

LAUER: Wow, that's great. OK, so everybody likes that.

Mr. LANDAU: Yeah.

LAUER: First of all, why haven't we seen photos of the bridesmaids and the -- and the groomsmen?

Mr. COWIE: It's unbelievable how unbelievably secret and quiet they've been able to keep this. We don't know -- we know very little about this wedding . And not only were the vendors who signed in did, but it seemed like every one of the guests has been very reticent not to talk about this.


LAUER: What are -- go ahead.

Ms. FEITELBERG: Also the party line seems to be that the couple prefers to keep their privacy, and everyone that we spoke to -- we probably approached 60 to 70 guests, 30 different people who had been involved with the planning of the wedding , and everyone seemed to have the same response.

LAUER: And except for the fact that it makes it tough on a television show because we rely on images, this idea that they're not releasing photos of the -- of the bridesmaids and the groomsmen, it protects their privacy as well. Because what did they do other than become friends of these two people?

Mr. COWIE: Exactly.

Mr. LANDAU: Matt -- yeah.

Mr. COWIE: But, you know, when you think about it , there's always so much -- celebrity draws so much in this country and everybody wants these pictures . And they were very smart to have handed out an official picture. And the president of the United States is the only person to close down the airspace. If it wasn't for that and there were helicopters, we would have seen a whole lot more.

Mr. LANDAU: Well, they closed it down really as Hillary Clinton was secretary of state . But also, you know, Chelsea grew up, she was a very loving daughter, and I think she felt that at times the media might not have been as fair to her parents. Therefore, she wasn't really going to go out of her way...

LAUER: To do things for the media.

Mr. LANDAU: Yeah.

LAUER: No question.

Mr. LANDAU: I mean, she's a loving, loving girl.

LAUER: Rosemary , what'd you think of Hillary Clinton 's outfit?

Mr. FEITELBERG: I thought it was lovely. She chose two very vibrant part -- excuse me, colors. The ombre Oscar de la Renta on Saturday was particularly striking.

LAUER: And Bill Clinton . I mean, I did see a photo of him walking Chelsea down the aisle; it was on the cover of many of the newspapers. Thin.

Mr. COWIE: Looking very thin, absolutely. Thinner than we've seen in a long time.

LAUER: And conservative in that black suit .

Mr. COWIE: Yeah. Yeah.

LAUER: I guess we wouldn't have expected him in the white tux with the blue bow tie that I wore in -- at my high school prom.

Mr. COWIE: Definitely not.

LAUER: It wouldn't be fitting for the occasion, though, right?

Mr. COWIE: That's true. You know the beautiful thing about this, you look at these pictures , in 20 years time you'll say, `This is timeless beauty and timeless elegance.'

LAUER: Let me ask you about the reports the week or so or two weeks before the wedding -- and you can all chime on this -- we were supposed to see Oprah and Barbra Streisand and all these other people.

Mr. LANDAU: Pure speculation.

LAUER: They were not there.

Mr. COWIE: I don't think they were invited. I think -- I think because of the celebrity of this wedding we were expecting to be completely studded with

celebrities. And to your point, I mean, this was really about them being with their close family and friends.

Ms. FEITELBERG: And also the lack of information seemed to kick up the rumor mill considerably.

Mr. COWIE: Yea.

Mr. LANDAU: You know, Mary Steenburgen said something so beautiful about Chelsea and she said, `Everybody notices a bride as she comes down the aisle. The thing about Chelsea is they remember her after she's left the room.' And that's beautiful. So poignant and...


LAUER: It's tack -- it's tacky to talk about money, and yet when these things happen everybody does. I mean, the estimates of what this wedding must have cost are in the millions and millions of dollars. And some have criticized that high price tag. And as a wedding planner you're probably going, `Don't criticize that.'

Mr. COWIE: No, welcome in this industry.

LAUER: Exactly. But as being too much money to spend in a bad economy, I look at it as -- it's their money, it's not taxpayer money.

Mr. COWIE: You know, I think President Clinton , Secretary of State Clinton have made so much -- so many incredible contributions to our life and society that they deserve to have their daughter go down the aisle in peace the way they wanted and spend the money the way they want to do it. Besides, it's very good for our industry, Matt.

Mr. LANDAU: And the Clinton Foundation does wonderful, wonderful work, and it's not like they had money their whole life. I mean, finally they're in a position, fiscally, to do wonderful things. And why not?

LAUER: It's...

Mr. LANDAU: And they've also helped the economy.

Mr. COWIE: Yeah.

Mr. LANDAU: The caterers...

LAUER: It's the Clinton stimulus plan, right? I think that's good.

Mr. COWIE: Exactly. It's the Clinton wedding stimulus plan.

LAUER: You know, he...

Mr. LANDAU: You know, Matt , I brought a little something to show you. This was the personal bridesmaid president that Jacqueline Kennedy gave to all her bridesmaids when she got married in 1953 . And on the front of it has her initials, Jacqueline Lee Bouvier . And the back of it is quite unique. It says, " Jacqueline Lee Bouvier , Senator John F. Kennedy , June 12th , 1953 ..."

LAUER: Nice.

Mr. COWIE: Yeah.

Mr. LANDAU: "...St. Mary's Church."

LAUER: Very pretty.

Mr. LANDAU: Yeah.

LAUER: Nice.


LAUER: We don't know what Chelsea gave to her bridesmaids.

Mr. COWIE: We're probably never going to find out.

LAUER: We probably never will.

Ms. FEITELBERG: Yeah. We were told that the guests received Clinton Vineyards wine, so.

Mr. COWIE: Yeah.

LAUER: Right, yeah. We saw that and had that, great.

Mr. COWIE: Which has got nothing to do with the Clintons .


Mr. COWIE: They just happen to have the same name.

LAUER: All right, guys, thank you very much for wrapping up the wedding of the decade.