The Royal Wedding
Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge’s Wedding Attire
On April 29th 2011, Kate Middleton married Prince William and captivated the world with a stunning wedding dress designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen.
Sarah Burton’s use of traditional materials were sensitive to Catherine’s shape, and were used in a contemporary manner with a nod towards traditional gowns of past brides, such as Grace Kelly. The dress was made from hand-cut English lace, French Chantilly lace, and ivory and white satin gazar. The lace appliques were handmade by the Royal School of Needlework using a technique called Carrickmacross that originated in Ireland in the 1820s. The lace workers washed their hands every 30 minutes and replaced their needles every three hours to ensure that the lace remained pure white. The flowers designs in the lace were of actual flowers: rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock.
Kate Middleton looked curvier than usual. The silhouette featured padding at the hips, as a reference to traditional Victorian corsetry as well as a signature of the most dramatic McQueen looks. 58 gazar and organza covered buttons ran up the back of the dress.
The neckline was in keeping with the Abbey’s requirements for modesty, yet the back was tantalisingly lower with a Victorian style layered bustle at the back. The handmade full skirt was designed to echo an opening flower with white satin gazar arches and pleats and only enhanced Catherine’s slender waist, as in Victorian fashions. This will be a key trend to look out for in next season’s gowns!
The Tiara was made by Cartier in 1936. Traditional yet discreet, the tiara sat high enough to lift the soft draped veil from her face and allowed for her hair to be raised behind it. There is already a feeling in the bridal industry that this choice may spark a return to the traditional central tiara, rather than the sidepiece which is the style of the moment.
Our bridal accessory suppliers explain that, “the beauty of wearing a central designed tiara is that there are options for where you wear your veil. Whether it is at the back of your head, neatly nestled beneath a creative up-do and falling effortlessly down the nape of your neck, popular with more slender style gowns and particularly for destinations weddings. Or prominently positioned at the top of the head behind the tiara, as Catherine did, allowing the use of the blusher, and commencing the proceedings with classical splendour! The veil was a surprise to say the least! She went for the whole ‘celestial halo’ effect, not only wearing her blusher over her face, but wearing a silk tulle veil, a material that is a more dense and draping tulle than many nylon versions, creating a shroud over this beautiful young woman. In my opinion the more modern materials such as our soft nylon veiling create that same drape and silhouette without masking the beautiful glow of the bride, as she floats down the aisle! Hand cut flower lace appliqués were painstakingly applied all the way around the edge of the veil to match lace on the dress. Although the lace appeared to be perhaps Corded or heavier Chantilly, it was light and did not drag the soft silk veiling down, allowing for the veil to float in the breeze as she entered the Abbey.”
Before the wedding I made these predictions on this page, “I would imagine that Kate Middleton will wear a wedding dress with a high back and neck, as well as covering her chest and the base of her neck. The dress will be fitted and will show off her figure really well. The venue (Westminster Abbey) will allow for a larger train that can be shown off, although I don’t expect the train to be as long as the one of her mother in law. I think the dress will have a jacket or sleeves for the ceremony. I imagine she will have a button-up back, rather than a lace up back. I also think the dress will feature lace rather than crystal detailing. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some flower detailing, but I wouldn’t expect to see too much detail or fussiness. The dress will probably be silk, like that of her mother in law. I definitely see her in a mid or long length bridal veil. Dress colour choice is the toughest call. Without meeting her I can’t tell her natural skin tone. From the press and TV pictures I think a gold colour dress would suit her best, but she won’t be that daring. Wearing white isn’t easy – you really need the right skin tone.” I would give myself 8 out of 10 – not bad for a trade secret!