And so the long awaited royal wedding took place,with Sarah Burton being the ‘chosen’ one to design Kate Middleton’s wedding dress,paying also a tribute to British craftmanship and to late Lee Mc Queen. But dont view the creative process and the interesting results as part of a inspired ‘collaboration’ between the future bride and the designer herself. As the Palace itself stated:
“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 characterizes Alexander McQueen’s work. Miss Middleton worked closely with Sarah Burton in formulating the design of her dress.”
As long as its a royal wedding,a long awaited event that signifies a new era for British monarchy (at least to those who support it),there were a strict etiquette to be taken into account, considering that key-milestone royal wedding historical ‘moments’ will be represented/echoing in the particular dress,something crucial for a young,fresh bride being called to represent monarchy at a relatively revolutionary,uncertain era.
So,its not all about pure taste.The widely famous by now wedding dress reflects accurately certain past moments of significance for royalty in general,providing Mrs Middleton the ‘ticket’ to enter the ‘klan’.More explicitly:
-Sarah Burton has undoubtely an immense experience as Lee McQueen’s collaborator,and her recent bridal designs,less edgier yet classic and with excellent pattern design,provided a good place to start.Yet,by designing the royal wedding dress itself, she had to ‘compete’ and also,reflect,perhaps the world most famous one- Lady’s Diana Spencer,soon to be known as Princess Diana.Mrs Middleton had to be presented to a whole nation as the new royal sweetheart, a modern replica of Diana’s extrovert nature along with the necessary elegance and personality.Sarah Burton naturally skipped the 80’s fashion design of David and Elizabeth Emanual made of silk taffeta and featured embroidery, lace, sequins and 10,000 pearls,with a uber long train, for a subtler version, totally made of French Chantilly lace and English Cluny lace throughout the bodice, skirt and underskirt,with the train measuring almost nine feet long.
Did worked pretty well though, thus leaving Princess Diana’s long train and selection of pearls aside, that echoed the euphoric times of the 80’s in juxtaposition to the ‘new recession era’ we’re living in.One thing for sure,the dress was by no means intended to provoke and reflect ‘wealth’ at a time when social benefits shrink and college fees skyrocket.Check.
So,Mrs Burton was creating the image of a modern,subtle yet elegant princess with a sparkle of a Hollywood touch that people love. And there comes another major sartorial inspiration,still in people’s memories to support that profile: Princess Grace of Monaco.
The intricate lace appliqué bodice and sleeves of the dress mirror the wedding gown of Grace Kelly, who became Princess Grace of Monaco when she married Ranier III, Prince of Monaco, in 1956. As you may see in the relevant images,both gowns share a high-waisted, full-skirted silhouette, a relatively long, dramatic train, plus worn with the sheerest of veils and diamond tiaras.A new royal style icon is born? Check.
Yet there is is another thing you cant leave aside when it comes to a royal wedding gown,tradition. Karl lagerfield pointed out the gown’s Fifties influence, likening it to the wedding gown of William’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth but we’ll have to disagree on that,god of fashion excuse us.The dress bears the heavy influence of Queen Victoria’s wedding one,a milestone in wedding dress and an event that signified a tradition of royal bides wearing white that keeps on till today.
As stated: “White has long been accepted as the traditional color of the wedding dress, but wedding gowns were not always white. The marriage of Queen Victoria to her cousin Albert of Saxe- Coburg in 1840 has had more influence on weddings than any other. Queen Victoria set new trend by marrying in white. Even though brides continued to wed in gowns of different colors,’their very best dresses’ , white was now set as the color of choice for weddings and obviously remained such ever since. In Godey’s Lady’s Book, 1849, this statement was printed: “ Custom has decided, from the earliest ages, that white is the most fitting hue, whatever may be the material. It is an emblem of the purity and innocence of girlhood, and the unsullied heart she now yields to the chosen one.”
Feel that the magic is gone?Perhaps..Yet,by entering a royal family,one’s for sure.Etiquette rules over style.
“I think you can say that about all the royal wedding dresses—they have become amazing documents that can say a lot about the year when they were worn and are most certainly all dresses bear a message.” said Marschner, of Historic Royal Palaces, an independent charity that acts as caretaker for five British royal buildings. We couldnt agree more..