It's really no big secret that I idolize Kate Middleton's style. I swoon over every dress she wears--the cuts are so timeless, elegant, and flattering, made in devastatingly chic fabrics and colors, and paired sparingly with lavish jewelry that is never gaudy. And that lady can wear a fascinator like nobody's business... seriously, I die of envy every time.
So it should come as no surprise that my favorite wedding dress (and the one I will use for my premiere of Wedding Dress Wednesday!) is the one worn by the Duchess of Cambridge herself on April 29, 2011. It's a long-sleeved, lace and ivory satin a-line ball gown, designed by Sarah Burton, the creative director for the late Alexander McQueen.
"It's the kind of gown that will stand the test of time. Not all gowns do. Any bride across the world will want to wear it. It's got a touch of vintage, a classic 1950s ball gown, so timeless that her daughter would look gorgeous in this gown 30 years from now."
The train is 110 inches long. The veil is made of layers of soft, ivory silk tulle with a trim of hand-embroidered flowers. The 'halo' tiara (made by Cartier), was loaned to her by Queen Elizabeth II--a gift presented to Princess Elizabeth (now The Queen) by her mother on her 18th birthday. The bodice, narrowed at the waist and padded at the hips, is a hallmark of McQueen's designs. Individual flowers were hand-cut from lace and sewn onto ivory silk tulle. The dress is estimated at £250,000--more than $400,000.
The similarities between this gown and the one worn by Grace Kelly in 1956, quite possibly THE most iconic wedding dress in history, are undeniable. And while Kelly's dress is exquisite, I personally prefer the modern design of the bodice and neckline on Middleton's dress, thus making it my favorite (don't hate me Grace Kelly fans).
"Diana's dress had a sense of innocence, whimsy, almost storybook romance. In contrast Catherine's gown was about way more than simply the dress. Sarah Burton channelled a new take on classicism for a modern-day bride who will one day be queen."
If you do not yet know about Sarah Burton and her experience of designing "the wedding dress of the decade" right on the heels of the losing her boss and friend Alexander McQueen and assuming his role in the company, take the time to read this article from the New York Times Magazine in 2014.
“I loved making the dress, I loved adapting my ideas to suit the person and the occasion, and we put our hearts into it. I respect the intimate nature of that lovely project and I respect the friendships that were forged during it. [...]an instinctive, intelligent, imaginative young woman’s wish for a beautiful wedding dress — or any kind of dress — is the most natural thing in the world. And I was honored to pick up the challenge and always will be.”
Sarah Burton is my new hero. I especially loved her response to this question:
“What have clothes to do with emotion?” I asked.
“Oh, everything,” she said. “They can describe a moment in your life or a feeling that is completely instilled in you. Feeling the texture of the material and seeing how it moves on the body, well, that is emotion — it’s emotion-in-motion. It might interest you to know that the clothes that sell best in our shops is the most extreme stuff — people want to express something about themselves and they find an enabler in us, and that’s emotional.”