Although I’d read that two billion viewers were expected to watch, the actual London turnout signaled this was going to be a real celebration. And it was. Impeccably timed, perfectly rehearsed —everything went smoothly but with such a sense of joy, this was modern pageantry at its finest. You just knew that everyone from the cheering crowds to the wedding guests was enjoying the entire spectacle.
Top of my list was, of course, the wedding gown. There had been so much speculation about which British designer would receive the coveted commission that British bookies were laying odds! Remarkably, both the design and the designer remained secret till the moment Miss Catherine Middleton, soon to be Duchess of Cambridge, exited the Goring Hotel.
I believe by choosing Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen, she sent a strong statement about her personal sense of style and one that’s truly apropos —given her new role. The fashion house of McQueen is often described as Britain’s edgiest couturier but with a profound respect for the highest standards of workmanship.
And this benchmark of quality with style is exactly what Sarah Burton delivered in her timeless ivory silk tulle and lace gown, with hints of days gone by. The lace appliqué for the bodice and skirt was handmade by the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court Palace and is based on an Irish technique called Carrickmacross lace, dating from the 1820’s. I guess my one regret is that the exquisite attention-to-detail this artisanal work requires just didn’t come across on camera.
Perhaps the biggest departure from traditional wedding party attire was Maid of Honor Philippa Middleton’s ivory gown. For years, guests and bridal attendants have all lived by the rule that ivory or white is reserved for the bride and only the bride. Both Philippa’s cowl-necked column and the bridesmaids’ dresses actually echoed the wedding gown’s exact colour.
We all expect to see the lace bodice and full-skirted gown duplicated at weddings this summer — and probably for years to come — but I’m wondering if we may also see a new trend towards ivory bridesmaids and a departure of the ubiquitous strapless bridal party silhouette in favour of cowl necked columns?
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