Royal Weddings

Catherine Middleton’s Royal Wedding Gown

April 28, 2011
Samples of Bruce Oldfield's wedding dresses

Who is the designer of Kate Middleton’s royal wedding gown?  That is THE question that has piqued the interest of people worldwide.

Despite intense interest, the identity of Middleton’s designer and the style of her dress have remained a closely held secret. Palace officials say Middleton wants to surprise fiancee Prince William when she steps out of her Rolls-Royce to cross the Abbey threshold.

The gown that the bride-to-be is planning to wear for her April 29 nuptials to Prince William is expected to be an ivory and satin gown to have a V neckline and with sleeves, pearl-button detail and a 10-foot train,  much shorter than Princess Diana’s 25-footer.

“After just returning from New York’s Bridal Fashion Week, lace sleeves were a big trend and designers cited the royal wedding and Kate Middleton as their inspiration,” wedding planner Mark Niemierko says. “Monique Lhuillier’s Catherine Chantilly lace gown with long sleeves is the perfect example of this trend.” Niemierko is not planning Middleton’s nuptials.

It’s been rumored that everyone from Victoria Beckham to Alice Temperley has the gig. But now it seems that identity of the designer tapped to create what will be the Wedding Dress of the Century  has been narrowed to three real contenders.

Alice Temperley's creations

The first contender to emerge was couture designer, Bruce Oldfield, who was a favorite designer of Princess Diana and is rumored to be dressing many of the wedding guests. A lot of his collection this season has that very streamlined, modern look, which fits the body without revealing too much.

Samples of Bruce Oldfield's wedding dresses

Sarah Burton, creative director at the prominent Alexander McQueen house, has been touted as a possible contender. Because, really, can you get any more dramatic than a McQueen dress?

Sarah Burton's creations

Sophie Cranston’s name has been tossed into the ring. Cranston won the Designer of the Year Award at London’s Graduate Fashion week in 1999, worked for Alexander McQueen, and co-founded Temperley London with Alice Temperley in 2000 before launching her own line in 2002. Her designs feel very Kate-ish, don’t they? Her designs have beautiful, draped lines and an easy elegance about them…very Kate-ish.

Samples of Sophie Cranston' s wedding dresses

The royal bride-to-be supposedly designed her own wedding dress and then enlisted someone to bring to life the Renaissance-inspired gown, which includes a “nod” to Lady Diana’s Emanuel wedding dress. Middleton’s inspiration came from the Renaissance period—which she studied in Florence—and her History of Art degree from St. Andrews. So the chosen designer of Kate Middleton’s wedding dress may not have technically “designed” it at all.

Word is, however, that Jasper Conran will be designing at least one wedding dress for Middleton. She is said to have ordered three dresses—two backup wedding dresses in case her first choice is leaked to the press.

Jasper Conran's wedding dresses

A friend of Middleton’s told the Daily Mail, “All we have been told is that the dressmaker is fairly unknown and from a relatively small design house. But make no mistake, whoever’s name emerges on the day, this is very much Catherine’s dress.”

It is also being reported that after the wedding, the dress will be auctioned off for charity, with proceeds going to a range of organizations including the Prince’s Trust.

The future princess is expected to accessorize with diamond-and-pearl earrings—it is not known whether they fall under the “something old,” “something new,” or “something borrowed” category—along with pieces from the Queen’s collection, including a diamond tiara.

Whoever the designer may be, he or she must respect the decorum associated with Westminster Abbey. That means a strapless gown or a plunging neckline are unlikely — Middleton will probably have to wait for an evening reception at Buckingham Palace if she wants to wear something more revealing.

The only generally accepted guideline is that the designer will be British as Kate Middleton faces overwhelming pressure to use a British designer.

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