After months of speculation about what Kate Middleton would wear on her big day, the bride, now Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge, walked down the aisle in a long-sleeved, sweetheart-neckline lace gown designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen.
According to the royal website, "Miss Middleton chose British brand Alexander McQueen for the beauty of its craftsmanship and its respect for traditional workmanship and the technical construction of clothing. Miss Middleton wished for her dress to combine tradition and modernity with the artistic vision that characterizes Alexander McQueen's work. Miss Middleton worked closely with Sarah Burton in formulating the design of her dress."
The ivory gown, instantly immortalized in fashion history, was made of French Chantilly lace and English Cluny lace throughout, with a train nearly nine feet long and designed to resemble a blossoming flower.
Her hair was half swept up and covered with a veil made of silk tulle and held in place by a Cartier "halo" tiara on loan from Queen Elizabeth II. Middleton's earrings were custom-made to match the tiara and were given to Kate by her parents as a wedding gift. The ivory duchesse satin and lace shoes were also designed by McQueen.
"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," Burton said in a statement. "It was such an incredible honour 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."
Fashion experts are comparing the dress to the one Grace Kelly wore when she married Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956. Vogue European editor Hamish Bowles says the dress is "essentially traditional, but it's been tweaked in a nuanced way. It's perfect and highly sophisticated."