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Field Narrows as Bruce Oldfield Exits Dress Race

The speculation about Kate Middleton's wedding dress is reaching near-fever pitch.

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with contributions from Nina Jones, Rosemary Feitelberg
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Bruce Oldfield

Photo By Courtesy Photo

Jenny Packham store.

Photo By Courtesy Photo

LONDON — Bruce Oldfield, who since November has been tipped as the front-runner to design Kate Middleton’s wedding dress, is not the royal-bride-to-be’s pick.



The designer told WWD on Wednesday that he isn’t doing the dress.

“It has been such a subject of rumor and speculation over the past months, but I am not designing it,” Oldfield said. “We will all know [on Friday] — and I thought I’d duck out of the ‘possibles list’ to give everyone 24 hours to place their final bets!”

With Oldfield now out of the running, speculation is zeroing in on the other candidates who have not yet issued denials. They include: Catherine Walker, Alice Temperley and Daniella Helayel from Issa. Other reported front-runners, including Sarah Burton, creative director of Alexander McQueen; Sophie Cranston of Libelula, and Phillipa Lepley have all denied — repeatedly — that they are working on the dress.

As the Big Day approaches, the guessing game is reaching near-fever pitch. In addition to the non-denying designers, the award-winning Jenny Packham has been thrown into the speculative pool, as has Middleton herself.

A new name - Vera Wang - surfaced Wednesday as possibly having some kind of role in the royal festivities. There is absolutely no chance that Wang, an American, would be tapped for the actual dress, but sources suggested the designer may be involved on another level.

The intrigue escalated, after Wang’s office fell unusually quiet, with the normally accessible designer failing to return numerous phone calls.

However, Wang insisted Thursday, “I have no involvement with the wedding or anyone in it.”

Asked if she had ever been in contact with anyone connected with the wedding, she said, “I just know her name,” referring to the bride-to-be.

In addition in an e-mail sent Wednesday night after press time, Mario Grauso, president of the Vera Wang Group, said, “The Vera Wang Group has no involvement in the royal wedding this coming Friday.”

Wang, the world’s leading bridal designer, is no stranger to London. The designer opened a bridal shop at Browns in February and a trunk show for her namesake collection was held there last month.

The preparations for Friday have been extremely buttoned up, with participants operating under strict confidentiality agreements and registered in London hotels under various aliases. Leaks of any kind clearly will not sit well with the seemingly contradictory press-shy royals who are determined to preserve all elements of surprise. With 2.5 billion people expected to tune into the regalia via TV or the Internet, there is no question the payoff — in publicity alone — for the wedding providers will be gargantuan.

As for one of the newer names in the mix, Britain’s Jenny Packham, her red-carpet clientele includes Keira Knightley, Jennifer Lopez, Cameron Diaz, Jessica Biel and Jennifer Aniston.

Packham, who has a shop on Elizabeth Street in London and shows at New York Fashion Week, is known for slim silhouettes, bias cuts and embellishments. She shows her collection during New York Fashion Week, and has won a slew of awards, including Hollywood Style Designer of the Year and British Bridal Dress Designer.

 

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