It was April 2011, and everyone’s eyes were glued to Kate Middleton, now Catherine, Princess of Wales, who’s about to marry Prince William. But what stole the show on that aisle of Westminster Abbey was Catherine’s wedding dress that would redefine bridal fashion and begin her inspirational style journey!
As we celebrate over a decade since that unforgettable day, we’ll take a look at the exquisite details of Catherine’s wedding dress, its significance, and how it captured the hearts of many brides-to-be.
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Catherine wanted a designer with a flair for British fashion, and she landed on Alexander McQueen. It was a thoughtful nod to British fashion heritage and the legacy that was McQueen.
Back then, the fashion world was buzzing with questions about Catherine’s wedding dress, trying to figure out who the genius designer was. Initially, Sarah Burton denied her involvement but quietly worked behind the scenes.
They kept it under wraps so well that even the Royal School of Needlework involved in the creation process thought it was for a TV show! The level of secrecy was next-level but the craftsmanship was a big deal and elevated Catherine’s gown to an artistic endeavour.
The overall design of the gown is a testament to the power of simplicity. Catherine’s dress went for a clean look – no frills and drama, just pure elegance. With a narrow waist and full skirt silhouette, the Alexander McQueen masterpiece regally echoes “less is more,” perfect for a modern-day princess.
The lace on that dress deserves its own spotlight. Its lace-making technique called Carrickmacross has its historical roots in 1820s Ireland. The entire lace applique on the bocide, sleeves, and train was designed with hand-cut flowers that bear symbolic significance. Roses, thistles, shamrocks, and daffodils – the national flowers of the United Kingdom – were all on that memorable dress.
And just when you thought it couldn’t get more dramatic, the length of Catherine’s train was a whopping 9 feet long, whilst the underskirt made with silk tulle was there to give the dress a beautiful blossoming flower effect.
Adorning her head with grace, Catherine wore the Cartier halo tiara borrowed from Queen Elizabeth. Though there was a buzz around it because she wasn’t a royal at the time, the choice of the jewellery echoed the modern symbolic passing of the royal torch.
Plus, there was this small blue ribbon stitched into Catherine’s dress that added an intriguing touch. Whilst it’s said to be a tribute to Princess Diana, the details remain a mystery.
Catherine’s diamond earrings weren’t just any pair either. They were a custom creation inspired by the Middleton family’s coat of arms to honour family ties and heritage on such a significant day. The decision to choose a lesser-known designer for the earrings also added humble meaning in the eyes of the global audience.
Still moving away from the usual lavishness, Catherine’s bouquet was a study in understated elegance. Comprising lily of the valley, hyacinth, Sweet William, myrtle, and ivory, the petite all-white arrangement held deep symbolism. Each flower represented happiness, love, fidelity, friendship, and steady matrimony, turning a simple bouquet into a meaningful statement.
Most striking of all, the Princess of Wales let her natural beauty shine. Opting to do her own makeup, she embraced a light touch that highlighted her features and presented her authentic self as she walked down the aisle to her future husband.
Catherine’s wedding dress continues to influence bridal fashion. Brides around the world have taken cues from her timeless style, from the lace sleeves to the long trains. Socialite Nicky Hilton and notable personalities like Kate Upton and Karlie Kloss, all have tied the knot in similar dress styles as that of the Princess of Wales.
And it seems, many more brides and wedding designers will seek the same regal touch that marked Catherine’s iconic entrance.