Kate Said Yes to an Alexander McQueen Dress

The cat’s finally out of the bag, folks!  I bet there are a lot of you out there who are patting yourselves on the shoulder saying, “I told you so!”  Like much speculation suggested, Catherine opted to work closely with Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen to design the wedding dress of the century.  The cut and subtle Victorian aspects of the design keep true to the Alexander McQueen touch.

Here are the official deets from the Royal Wedding site:

Miss Catherine Middleton’s Wedding Dress has been designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen. Miss Middleton chose British brand Alexander McQueen for the beauty of its craftsmanship and its respect for traditional workmanship and the technical construction of clothing. Miss Middleton wished for her dress to combine tradition and modernity with the artistic vision that characterises Alexander McQueen’s work. Miss Middleton worked closely with Sarah Burton in formulating the design of her dress.

The dress epitomises timeless British craftsmanship by drawing together talented and skilled workmanship from across the United Kingdom. The dress design pays tribute to the Arts and Crafts tradition, which advocated truth to materials and traditional craftsmanship using simple forms and often Romantic styles of decoration. Ms Burton’s design draws on this heritage, additionally giving the cut and the intricate embellishment a distinctive, contemporary and feminine character.

The design

The lace appliqué for the bodice and skirt was hand-made by the Royal School of Needlework, based at Hampton Court Palace. The lace design was hand-engineered (appliquéd) using the Carrickmacross lace-making technique, which originated in Ireland in the 1820s. Individual flowers have been hand-cut from lace and hand-engineered onto ivory silk tulle to create a unique and organic design, which incorporates the rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock.

Hand-cut English lace and French Chantilly lace has been used throughout the bodice and skirt, and has been used for the underskirt trim. With laces coming from different sources, much care was taken to ensure that each flower was the same colour. The whole process was overseen and put together by hand by Ms Burton and her team.

The dress is made with ivory and white satin gazar. The skirt echoes an opening flower, with white satin gazar arches and pleats. The train measures two metres 70 centimetres. The ivory satin bodice, which is narrowed at the waist and padded at the hips, draws on the Victorian tradition of corsetry and is a hallmark of Alexander McQueen’s designs. The back is finished with 58 gazar and organza covered buttons fastened by Rouleau loops. The underskirt is made of silk tulle trimmed with Cluny lace.

The Fabrics

French Chantilly lace was combined with English Cluny lace to be hand-worked in the Irish Carrickmacross needlework tradition.

All other fabrics used in the creation of the dress were sourced from and supplied by British companies. The choice of fabrics followed extensive research by Sarah Burton and her team.

Veil and Jewellery

The veil is made of layers of soft, ivory silk tulle with a trim of hand-embroidered flowers, which was embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework. The veil is held in place by a Cartier ‘halo’ tiara, lent to Miss Middleton by The Queen. The ‘halo’ tiara was made by Cartier in 1936 and was purchased by The Duke of York (later King George VI) for his Duchess (later Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother) three weeks before he succeeded his brother as King. The tiara was presented to Princess Elizabeth (now The Queen) by her mother on the occasion of her 18th birthday.

The Bride’s earrings, by Robinson Pelham, are diamond-set stylised oak leaves with a pear shaped diamond set drop and a pavé set diamond acorn suspended in the centre. Inspiration for the design comes from the Middleton family’s new coat of arms, which includes acorns and oak leaves. The earrings were made to echo the tiara. The earrings were a personal gift to the Bride from her parents for her Wedding Day.

Robinson Pelham have also designed and made a pair of diamond earrings for Miss Philippa Middleton. These earrings are more floral in nature to compliment the headpiece worn by Miss Philippa Middleton during the Service.

A tourmaline and diamond pendant and matching earrings have been designed and made for Mrs. Carole Middleton. Two gold stick pins, one with a single gold acorn at the head and the other with an oak leaf, are also worn respectively by the Father of the Bride, Mr. Michael Middleton, and the Bride’s brother, Mr. James Middleton.

Wedding Shoes

The wedding shoes have made hand-made by the team at Alexander McQueen and are made of ivory duchesse satin with lace hand-embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework.

Er… yeah, couldn’t have said it better myself.  Seriously, reading through that whole spiel was so utterly daunting that it made me kind of shudder about planning my own wedding someday.  Aren’t you glad I shared?

Full Dress

I’ll admit that I expected something a lot more bold, avant-garde and grand.  The dress, however, was timeless and elegant; afterall, now that she’s a Royal there’s a level of refinery that’s expected of her.  I liked that she tamed-down the train a bit from the football field lengths of years past, and gave her little sis and Maid of Honor, Pippa, a break from carrying a monster.  I’m not in love with the dress, but it does flatter Kate’s figure and the vintage bodice has an almost innocent appeal.

Photo: Getty Images

Front of the dress

Photo: Dominic Lipinski/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Back

I’m over the moon about the wrap-around lace design.  I would cop the back of her dress in an instant; in fact, I’m taking notes right now… done! Oh, and that Cartier Halo tiara is amazing.  The Queeny should definitely put that baby on loan.  I call dibs.

Photo: Leon Neal/AFP/ Getty Images

Lace detail

What’s with the puny bouquet?  The flowers look like they’ve already wilted, and it almost seems like an after-thought.  It’s as if the wedding planners said, “Oh shit.  We’ve been obsessing over the food, the carriages, the horses, the dress, etc. etc., but we forgot the bouquet!  Oh, phew… here’s a bush.  Grab some of that and give them to Kate, stat!”

Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Fun fact: Kate’s official title is Her Royal Highness Princess William Arthur Philip Louis, Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn, Baroness Carrickfergus (yeah, that’s her official title!  No “Princess Catherine” because she wasn’t born royal.  Whatta gip!)

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4 comments

  1. I think it was absolutely perfect dress.. less is more!
    but I do agree that they should have worked little bit more with bouquet.

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