Sunday, 1 May 2011

Kate's Wedding Dress -Grace Kelly-inspired, Sarah Burton-Designed ‎

SEVERAL MONTHS of speculation and feverish anticipation reached its climax on Friday when the world finally caught a glimpse of Kate Middleton’s wedding dress that, observers said, was reminiscent of Grace Kelly’s gown.

Sarah Burton, creative director at Alexander McQueen, designed the bridal frock, with long Medieval-style sleeves and a high-necked lace bodice. The skirt was of ivory and white satin gazar. Burton, who took over the avant-garde fashion house following its namesake designer’s death last year, was a front-runner among those rumored to make the wedding dress.

Hamish Bowles, European editor at large for Vogue magazine and a guest commentator on CNN, described the dress as “sublime, worthy of the [Westminster] Abbey and worthy of the occasion.” Bowles added the dress was a “good tribute” to McQueen, the late British designer whose lifework, incidentally, will be honored at the Metropolitan Costume Institute Gala in New York this month.

“Everything was exquisitely done,” Bowles said.

Popular bridal designer Vera Wang also told CNN, “It’s very much what I expected, not so fashion-forward and won’t age in photographs.”

Modest train

The lace bodice called to mind another princess bride, Grace Kelly, who wed Monaco’s Prince Rainier in 1956. In contrast to Kelly’s demure, close-necked dress, however, Middleton’s showed her decollétage with a V neckline.

Unlike Prince William’s mother Diana’s own fairytale wedding dress, his bride’s train was also modest by comparison, at only nine feet long. The dress featured a cinched waist and padded hips, which, said the statement, drew on the “Victorian tradition of corsetry and is a hallmark of Alexander McQueen’s designs,” and emphasized the bride’s svelte physique.

The new Duchess of Cambridge wore a halo tiara made by Cartier, on loan from Queen Elizabeth. According to accounts, the tiara was once a gift of George VI to his wife and was handed down to their daughter, the current monarch.

The bride, who wore her hair down, also sported a pair of drop diamond earrings, a gift from her parents. Her wedding ring was made by the Mayfair jeweler Wartski from, following royal family tradition, a piece of Welsh gold given to the couple by the Queen after their engagement. On her right ring finger, she wore her sapphire and diamond engagement, which once belonged to her groom’s late mother.

The groom wore a crimson military uniform.

Wang was particularly taken by the bridal veil, which she said beautifully framed the bride’s face. She praised its “classicism,” and described the overall look as “elegant and dignified.”

Speaking to CNN before the ceremony, Wang said she also hoped the dress will come from McQueen, whom she described as a “brilliant house” for its drama and technique.

Burton, 35, was McQueen’s right hand, and has churned out critically acclaimed collections since she took over the label, successfully mixing feminine flair with her mentor’s signature theatrical edge. McQueen committed suicide in February last year.

The Central Saint Martins-educated Burton’s work for the royal wedding cements her reputation and stature in the fashion industry, though the economic implications of it, quipped Wang, could be “a tad aggravating for me.” The American is the go-to designer of many a celebrity bride.

While the royal wedding itself is hoped to re-energize the monarchy, the impact of the bridal dress is also expected to boost the British fashion industry. The dress is also expected to influence bridal trends in the coming years.

PH designers react

Some local fashion watchers, however, were left wanting after watching the royal wedding. It seems some expected the youthful and high-street-loving Middleton to push the envelop, especially considering her choice designer.

“It fits her well. It reflects her personality,” designer Joey Samson said. “It was, however, a very safe choice. I read that [Middleton] worked closely with Sarah Burton, and I don’t know how [the designer] suppressed her edginess and aesthetics. I had expected it to be simple but with an interesting material, and yet I don’t see that. Sarah Burton is a young designer and very current. I just feel that the dress lacked that flavor.”

Another designer, Jojie Lloren, agreed. “I was expecting a younger design. I was kind of surprised; it’s very classic and very safe. She’s young and I think she played it too safe.”

Lloren added he had expected the dress to make a statement, perhaps just as much as the 1981 frou-frou of Diana’s wedding dress.

Nonetheless, the royal wedding was a triumph for British designers, with many of the guests opting for local couture.

Pippa Middleton, the bride’s sister, wore a simple, close-fitting cap-sleeved ivory dress with a cowl neckline, also by Burton. The bride’s mother, Carole, opted for a sleek, tailored sky-blue dress with a matching coat by the house of Catherine Walker. The designer, who died last year, was also a Diana favorite.

Camilla Parker-Bowles, the groom’s stepmother, went for Anna Valentine. The designer, who made the Duchess of Cornwall’s 2005 wedding dress, created this time an ice-green and champagne silk dress and coat with a matching bag. The Duchess also wore Jimmy Choos and a Philip Treacy hat.


The Irish milliner was the choice of many royal guests, including pregnant pop star Victoria Beckham, who wore a midnight-blue cap by Treacy to go with her maternity smock of the same shade. The dress is from Beckham’s own label. She arrived with her football superstar husband David, who wore Ralph Lauren tails and held a top hat, though he wasn’t photographed wearing it on his head.

Samantha Cameron, the British prime minister’s wife, went for a teal Burberry dress, but eschewed tradition and arrived sans hat.

One of the young royals, Princess Eugenie, wore Vivienne Westwood and a Philip Treacy hat. Her sister, Beatrice, went for Valentino.

On the eve of the wedding, the Italian designers Giorgio Armani and Alberta Ferretti broke their silence and released separate statements of the guests they were dressing for the wedding.

Chelsy Davy, Prince Harry’s on-off girlfriend, wore a satin aquamarine boat-neck dress by Ferretti, slightly different from the sketch the designer released. Perhaps in keeping with etiquette, the young woman’s dress sported long sleeves, versus the cap sleeves in the sketch.

Davy will also wear a Ferretti design for the dinner-dance at Buckingham Palace. It will be a blue satin-crepe one-shoulder gown, reported Women’s Wear Daily.

Armani designed the dresses of Lady Frederick Windsor, Princess Tatiana of Greece and Denmark and Princess Mathilde of Belgium.

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