Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen
The Duchess of Cambridge’s Wedding Dress was designed by Sarah Burton, Creative Director at Alexander McQueen.
The design shows the influence of Victorian dress in details such as the cinched in waist, the padded hips and the bustle at the top of the train. The dress also looks to the aesthetic of the Arts and Crafts movement with the dress’s emphasis on hand-crafted detail. These historic references are blended with a modern cut in a modern fabric – satin gazar.
The appliquéd lace which covers the bodice and sleeves, the skirt and the train evokes the theme of the language of flowers, evident in many elements of the wedding from the flowers to the wedding cake. The lace design also incorporate the National emblems of the United Kingdom (Rose, Thistle, Shamrock and Daffodil).
The dress has a sense of grandeur appropriate to the importance of the occasion and the setting of Westminster Abbey, in which it was designed to be seen, but it also retains a sense of modesty in keeping with The Duchess of Cambridge’s wishes.
The ivory satin gazar from which the dress is made is backed by white satin gazar which gives the dress its pale ivory colour. The lace appliqué is in a design unique to the wedding dress as it is made from six types of lace including Cluny and Leavers lace from which elements were cut and incorporated into the overall scheme. Once the lace design for each panel was finished it was pinned to lengths of silk tulle which were sent to the Royal School of Needlework to be appliquéd to the tulle by a team of embroiderers. Once completed the appliquéd lace was cut away from the silk tulle and sewn onto the satin gazar by the seamstresses at Alexander McQueen. The overall effect is entirely symmetrical so that each fold of the skirt and each panel of the train mirrors that opposite to it.
The train is 3 metres long and terminates at the top in arches and pleats which sit on the bustle beneath. The dress is fastened at the back and at the cuffs by tiny buttons covered in satin gazar and silk tulle.