By Nadine Kam
The monthslong speculation over just what Kate Middleton’s wedding gown would look like ended last night, with the newly minted royal wearing a gown designed by Alexander McQueen successor Sarah Burton.
Fashion writer Robin Givhan reported in The Daily Beast: “The Alexander McQueen wedding dress that Kate Middleton wore to marry Prince William was a glorious sweep of ivory and white silk gazar with hand-embroidered English and French Chantilly lace and 58 organza-covered buttons snaking up the back. It had a discreet v-neck, long lace sleeves and a train that measured nearly nine feet long. Middleton’s slender waistline was emphasized by the gown’s narrow bodice and slight padding at the hips—a nod to Victorian style. It was a dignified acknowledgement of Arts and Crafts tradition but bore the streamlined, body-enhancing silhouette of contemporary fashion.”
Earlier in the week I had asked bridal boutique owners Gladys Agsalud of Casablanca Bridal, and Cecilia Domingo of The Bridal Boutique what they imagined her gown would look like, and they nailed it, with an eye on tradition, fine fabric and elegance that speaks to Kate’s personal style.
They spoke of the return to tradition and the retro glamour of Grace Kelly’s marriage to Prince Ranier of Monaco in 1956. Her sense of style has long been evident, such that way back in December, when speculation began and designers started coming up with their own illustrations as to what they would design for Kate, I posted that I liked Monique Lhullier’s vision best: simple, streamlined, elegant, with a close fitting lace bodice.
Casablanca carries Lhullier’s gowns and I chose one for the styling in HI Luxury’s latest issue, in a session called “Happily Ever After,” paying homage to the royal wedding. Yet, I have to admit when I saw the gown, I was a bit disappointed, just because there was nothing beyond what fashion watchers were already expecting.
I think any fashion observer would have hoped for tradition combined with a bit of an edge, something a little more ground-breaking. Given all the speculation and excitement leading up to the event, I just wanted a little more dazzle worthy of the international stage. Givhan said as much when she wrote: “It was the most beautiful dress that was destined, doomed to be a disappointment—if only because so much was expected of it.”
But the morning after, the photos look beautiful, and true-to-form, Kate showed herself to be a sensible, tasteful, understated young woman, and that should suit her well as she makes her life in the public eye. Perhaps she’s sending a message that she doesn’t need to be a fashion icon if to be such detracts from William’s more important agendas. As an anti-Diana, she may be just what the troubled monarchy needs right now.
What was interesting is that the bridal owners said that a celebrity wedding always sends brides clamoring for the latest trend, and now, they’ll all want to look like Kate, reversing a seven-year trend in informal strapless gowns and toward traditional lace and veils. You would think that on her big day, a bride would want to be unique and true to her own personality and aesthetic on her day, but, like all most of fashion, trends and imitation rule. I always wanted a 1920s style flapper dress for my own wedding!