The Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress was the hottest topic of conversation for months leading up to the Royal Wedding, and the final reveal not only wowed onlookers, but also showcased centuries of home-grown skill, and design craftsmanship.
Thanks to the Royal Collection Trust you can see this exquisite example of British tailoring for yourself, as the dress will be on display at Buckingham Palace from the 23rd July till the 3rd of October for the annual Summer Opening.
Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen was commissioned for the design, and the ensemble respected McQueen’s hallmark style of Victorian corsetry. Pinched at the waist with padded hips, a satin bodice, and made from ivory and white stiffened organza, the design remained regal, but with a modern touch (including a considerably shorter train) to fit a thoroughly modern Duchess.
The Royal School of Needlework, founded in 1872, put their brilliant technical skill to work for the lace appliqué. A traditional Irish Carrickmacross lace-making technique was used on the bodice, made of ivory silk-tulle, and hand-engineered flowers; a rose, thistle, shamrock, and daffodil were incorporated into the design. The intricate lace embellishment seen in the bodice of the dress, was also replicated throughout the whole ensemble, including the shoes that were handmade at McQueen, and the silk-tulle veil.
Generational tradition appeared in the Tiara, which held The Duchess’ veil in place. Littered with small brilliants and baton diamonds with a large brilliant in the centre, the Cartier ‘Halo’ tiara was lent to the Duchess by the Queen. Originally made in 1936, the tiara was purchased by The Duke of York (later King George VI) as a gift for The Duchess of York (The Queen Mother), who then presented to Queen Elizabeth on her 18th birthday.
Included in the display will be the earrings commissioned by the Middleton family and created by London-based jewellers Robinson Pelham. Inspired by both the new Middleton family coat of arms, as well as our wonderful national tree ‘The Great Oak’, the design boasted a pavé-set diamond acorn suspended from beautifully bejewelled oak leaves.
If all of this isn’t enough to take your breath away, the display will also be complimented by the Royal Couple’s wedding cake, which will be shown in the State Dining room. Using British ingredients, and decorated with sugar flowers, cake designer Fiona Cairns created a multi-tiered masterpiece that would’ve made Marie Antoinette blush.
The Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress and the royal wedding cake will be on display as part of the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace, which also includes the special exhibition Royal Fabergé.
Opening dates: 23 July – 3 October 2011.