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The Dress

Fashion News

It’s a banner week for Alexander McQueen. On Friday Kate Middleton emerged from her hotel in a stunning lace wedding gown by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen. Certainly this honor is more than enough to keep any designer elated, but this week also marks the opening of “Savage Beauty” at New York’s Metropolitan Museum. (See our coverage of the show here.) Could anyone be having a better week that Sarah Burton?

But for the moment, let’s return to the wedding dress. In a statement from Burton, the designer said, “I am delighted that the dress represents the best of British craftsmanship. Alexander McQueen's designs are all about bringing contrasts together to create startling and beautiful clothes and I hope that by marrying traditional fabrics and lacework, with a modern structure and design we have created a beautiful dress for Catherine on her wedding day.”

The dress featured a lace appliquéd bodice and skirt, along with long lace sleeves and a high lace collar, which was hand-made at London’s Royal School of Needlework. The design was appliquéd with individual flowers that were hand cut from lace, and then sewn onto ivory silk tulle. The bodice and skirt were made from hand-cut English lace and French Chantilly lace, while ivory and white satin gazar was also used in the body of the dress and its skirts. The ivory satin bodice, narrowed at the waist and padded at the hips, drew on the tradition of Victorian corsetry.

The train measured eight feet long.

Middleton also wore a full veil, made from layers of soft ivory silk tulle with a trim of hand-embroidered flowers. The veil was held in place with a Cartier halo tiara, lent to Middleton by Queen Elizabeth.

The tiara was made by Cartier in 1936, and was presented to the Queen on her 18th birthday, when she was still Princess Elizabeth.

Of the 2 billion people who were expected to watch the Royal Wedding procession and coverage, Karl Lagerfeld remarked on the dress: “She is very elegant. The dress is classic and goes very well in the Westminster decor. It almost reminds me of Queen Elizabeth’s wedding, the royal weddings in the Fifties. The proportion of the train is good. The lace is very pretty. I like the veil a lot.” A handful of other designers shared their response with the press as well, including Christian Lacroix, who said, “I like the dress very much, simpler than expected: A combination just in between 1956 Grace Kelly and 1947 Queen Elizabeth dress. I love the modest veil with the Queen Mother’s Thirties scroll tiara and balanced volume of the whole gown.”

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