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Catherine Middleton stepped out in front of Westminster Abbey at 11 a.m. wearing a wedding gown designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen.
Middleton’s dress featured an ivory lace bodice with a restrained, high lace collar, long lace sleeves and sweeping ivory satin skirts. Clarence House said Middleton chose the label “for the beauty of its craftsmanship.” “Miss Middleton wished for her dress to combine tradition and modernity with the artistic vision that characterizes Alexander McQueen’s work.”
Clarence House noted that the dress’ design “pays tribute to the Arts and Crafts tradition…Ms. Burton’s design draws on this heritage, giving the cut and the intricate embellishment a distinctive, contemporary and feminine character.”
The dress featured a lace appliquéd bodice and skirt, along with long lace sleeves and a high lace collar. The lace was hand-made at London’s Royal School of Needlework based at Hampton Court Palace.
The design was appliquéd with individual flowers that were hand cut from lace, and then hand engineered 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.
It was presented to her by her mother, who originally owned the tiara. Middleton wore earrings in the design of diamond-set oak leaves, designed by Robinson Pelham, a gift to Middleton from her parents.
Her shoes were hand-made by the team at Alexander McQueen, in ivory duchesse satin with hand embroidered lace. Middleton’s bouquet, meanwhile, was made up of myrtle, lily of the valley, sweet William and hyacinth.
Discussing the dress, Burton said in a statement that, "It has been the experience of a lifetime to work with Catherine Middleton to create her wedding dress, and I have enjoyed every moment of it. It was such an incredible honor to be asked, and I am so proud of what we and the Alexander McQueen team have created. 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 last few months have been very exciting and an incredible experience for my team and I as we have worked closely with Catherine to create this dress under conditions of the strictest secrecy."
And in an attempt to explain why the house of McQueen repeatedly denied over the last few weeks that it had any involvement in the design of the dress, Burton said: "Understandably, Catherine has been very keen to keep the details of her dress a secret, which is every bride's prerogative, and we gave an undertaking to keep our role confidential until the day of the wedding."
Burton continued: "Catherine looked absolutely stunning today, and the team at Alexander McQueen are very proud of what we have created. The dress was just one component of a spectacular day, and I do not think it is appropriate to comment any further beyond saying that I personally am very grateful and honoured to have been given the opportunity to work on this project, and I wish TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge every good wish for the future."
Princess Beatrice wore a design by Valentino haute couture, made up of a blush colored coat dress with a lattice detail at the collar, which she wore with a bold Philip Treacy head-piece in a bow design. Charlene Wittstock, Prince Albert of Monaco’s fiancée, wore a light gray, double faced coat and dress by Akris’ Albert Kriemler. She accessorized with a wide-brimmed light gray hat and crocheted gray gloves. Elie Saab dressed Princess Victoria of Sweden’s outfit of a long sleeved, peach knee-length dress and matching suede platform shoes, from the label’s spring collection. Elie Saab also dressed the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg in a blue stretch crepe dress with a matching jacket, also from its spring collection.
And Milliner Stephen Jones designed hats for a slew of guests at the wedding. Those who wore Stephen Jones hats included Serena, Vicountess Linley, who wore her cream satin head band with a chalk-colored Roland Mouret dress, while Sara Parker Bowles, Camilla’s daughter in law, wore a navy veiled boater with heart-shaped hat pins. She paired the hat with an Osman dress. Jones also designed hats for Lady Sarah Chatto, Fiona, the Marchioness of Lansdowne, Patti Palmer-Tomkinson, Santa Sebag-Montefiore, Tessa Traeger, Candida Lycett Green and Nouneh Sarkissian.