29 April 2011

The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge's Wedding: The Bridal Gown

So much hype. So much speculation. The question is: did the final creation live up to expectations?
I'll be honest with you: my first impression was a big ol' no. She did go with Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, which I was rooting for. McQueen is known for creativity and intricate detailing. The problem was, on my television screen, all I could see was a lace top over a plain gown.
Good thing we have photos to help us out, because there is a tremendous amount of detail here that just wasn't visible in the broadcast, especially around the bottom of the skirt. In fact, the skirt and train are my favorite parts.
The shape is divine, and the length is perfect: 2 meters 70 centimeters, or about 8 foot 10 inches. Not too long for Westminster Abbey, and a great proportion to the dress. Both the skirt and bodice feature lace appliques hand made by the Royal School of Needlework from varying forms of lace. Lace trims the underskirt as well, a feature which was clearly revealed as maid of honor Pippa carried the train around.
The dress itself is ivory and white satin gazar, and Kate topped it with a fingertip veil of ivory silk tulle. She arrived with a blusher on, and her father threw it back during the first hymn to give us a clear view of the dress bodice.
The satin bodice is corseted with padded hips that open the skirt like a flower, a divine feature I didn't notice until the newlyweds were leaving the registry area, and a very McQueen touch.
The back is closed with 58 buttons, a detail that enhances the Victorian corset feeling.
In addition to her veil, Kate's bridal accessories included a new pair of earrings given to her by her parents and a tiara on loan from the Queen. The tiara we had previously known as the Scroll Tiara (see details here) has been named the Halo Tiara by the Palace. We now have more info, and will no doubt have even better pictures of this piece to drool over as the photos continue to roll in, so look for us to talk more about the tiara later this week. Kate did her own makeup and went with a demi-chignon hair style. (Looks like those of you that speculated that the couple's pre-wedding visit to Darwen might have been a hair dry run were at least partially correct!)
She also carried a tiny bouquet (seriously, if this wedding was supposed to be about the language of flowers, this thing doesn't speak loud enough to be heard) including myrtle, lily-of-the-valley, sweet William and hyacinth flowers.
The more I look at this dress, the more I discover the little details it has, the more I like it, yet I'm just not blown away. Don't get me wrong: she looks beautiful. It suits her, and the style we've come to know her for. But my hope (and, yes, it was quite possibly an impossible dream) was that the gown would be original. Epic. Though this is lovely, it is a great deal more Grace, or Margaret, than it is Just Kate. And that's where my hopes get dashed.

Were your expectations met by this gown? What sort of place in royal bridal history do you think it deserves?

UPDATE: Here's Kate's gown for the evening reception, also McQueen. It's strapless white satin gazar with a full skirt and diamante embroidered belt, worn with an angora bolero cardigan for the weather.
Really can't get past the size of that waist, myself.

UPDATE #2: The dress is included in the Summer 2011 exhibition at Buckingham Palace.

Source: The Official Wedding Website
Photos:  AFP/Getty Images/Daylife/Diez Minutos/Daily Mail/Reuters