A fairytale dress for a real-life princess is how Catherine Middleton’s already famous AUD $381,000 (£250,000) royal wedding dress is being described. The stunning white gown was designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen, and the new Duchess of Cambridge chose the iconic British couturier for the beauty of its craftsmanship and its respect for traditional workmanship.
Catherine requested her wedding gown be a combination of traditional and modern design, an effect achieved by Burton by combining classic lacework reminiscent of Grace Kelly’s famous wedding dress with an elegant, but clean and very streamlined modern shaping. Featuring a 2.7m train and a padded corset, the dress was crafted from lace and satin gazar, a loosely woven type of silk, and comprises of a bodice and skirt, both of which were handmade, as were the flowers scattered across the dress.
Each was individually cut from English and French Chantilly lace before being hand sewn onto the ivory silk tulle bodice and skirt. The back was finished with 58 gazar and organza covered buttons. It was recently revealed that the intricate lacework took 20 experienced seamstresses, who were told they were creating the dress for a lavish period drama, four weeks to sew. They each had to wash their hands every 20 minutes to ensure the lace and gazar remained pristine and needles were replaced every three hours to ensure they stayed sharp and could not damage the delicate materials.
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Catherine’s veil, which held in place by a Cartier halo tiara lent to her by the Queen, was made from layers of soft, ivory silk tulle with a trim of hand-embroidered flowers. Her outfit was offset by a stunning pair of Robinson Pelham diamond earrings, which were a wedding gift from her parents. The earrings took inspiration from the Middleton family’s new coat of arms, and featured a set of stylised oak leaves with a pear-shaped diamond set drop and a pave set diamond acorn suspended in the centre.
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