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August 30 2014

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We Ask The Brits:
How Would You Rate Kate?

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Kate Middleton wed Prince William this morning in what you’d have to describe as a fairy-tale wedding—and wearing what you’d have to describe as a fairy-tale dress. (More on the dress here.) In that, industry insiders say, she did a notch better than her predecessor at the last royal wedding of this size, Princess Diana. “The idea behind Diana’s was kind of fairy-tale, but the reality was more nightmare,” said Vanity Fair‘s Michael Roberts, reached by phone in Paris, “because when that dress emerged from the coach it was completely crumpled, there was just too much fabric. Whereas this was not too much fabric and manageable.”

The white and ivory dress, in satin gazar, was designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, reportedly in consultation with Middleton herself. Roberts, like all the experts we surveyed, was complimentary—”I thought she looked great,” he said. “Karl Lagerfeld was commentating [on French TV], and he’s a very severe critic normally, but he was taken by it,” Roberts added. “Very elegant. He was impressed by the amount of work behind it—and on the behind.”

Was the dress very McQueen? Opinions differed. “I think it had much more to do with traditional royal dressing than with McQueen, frankly. I think it had not very much of him, at all,” Roberts said. But Barneys creative ambassador at large Simon Doonan, a fellow Brit, caught a glimpse of the late designer in it. “McQueen had a great interest in history,” he said. “This is a dress that’s created through the lens of history rather than through the lens of Hollywood. It somehow resonates a bit with Elizabeth I, because of the tight bodice. It was heavenly.” And English stylist Annabel Tollman conceded that while it wasn’t the most McQueen-ish creation in the world, nor could it be. “It’s McQueen doing royal wedding,” she said. “It’s not runway. But can you imagine if it had [been]? It would not have been a great start. The fashion industry would love it, but…this is not the Grand Palais. It’s Royalty. You don’t really want her turning up in look 12.”

Whether or not the dress screams Lee McQueen’s own name, all were glad with the bride’s choice. “I met Sarah Burton at a reception at 10 Downing Street, during the last fashion week,” Doonan remembered. “She told me all about the process of taking over, and how reticent she was, and how scary it was for her to step into Alexander’s shoes…it’s wonderful to see her put center stage like this. It’s like when Isabel Toledo did the inauguration outfit, seeing somebody really great who had a certain humility but was very creative put center stage.”

(Would McQueen himself have been pleased? “He’d find it kind of amusing that he’s been accepted by the establishment,” Roberts thought. “This plus the Met—I think that he’s kind of laughing at them down there, or wherever he is.”)

Much has been made of Middleton as a fashion icon in the making. Does the princess’ canny choice signal another step in that direction? Maybe—and then again, maybe not. Roberts was skeptical. “I think she can be made into a fashion icon by being talked up as such by the press, but if you are in London at all and have any idea what London girls look like, she pretty much conforms to a whole chunk of Sloane-y girls who look almost identical to her,” he said. Doonan, for his part, noted one area where Middleton might be influential. “Her natural bosom looks so fabulous in that dress, I think she’s going to become such an instant style icon,” he said. “I’m wondering if she’s going to depopularize the trend for fake boobs, because her natural bosom looks so perfect in this dress. I think maybe a lot of girls might reconsider that boob job.”

Tollman picked a less likely candidate for her style icon: her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. “I love the Queen,” she said. “Head-to-toe one color, basically been wearing the same thing for the past 70 years. That’s her. Who else can pull off head-to-toe single shade?”

Photo: Dan Kitwood /Getty Images

USER COMMENTS Comments

Comments

  1. rola says:

    the bride was elegant and with a lot of femininity,softness and grace ,a traditional modern royalty dress ….she just looked great( fashion designer ,and luxury consultant)

  2. rachelkibbe says:

    The only thing I care about this whole wedding is the fact that she wore Alexander McQueen. Flawless. http://dressmeup-dressmedown.blogspot.com/

  3. Citygirlinred says:

    She looked beautiful! I’m dying to know what beauty products she used, I love the fact that she’s so down to earth, a perfect choice for Prince William!
    xoxox
    anita

  4. dona_macho says:

    if i would marry the prince iwould also go for Alexander Mcqueen the King of all times!!!!!

  5. grant_ashley says:

    I’m from the colonies and I loved everything about this dress. despite people saying it had nothing to do with McQueen I think it McQueen was in every fibre of that dress. I knew exactly it was McQ when she stepped into the car and you could just see the plunging neckline and the edged lace. Sarah Burton did an amazing job. Kate looked like royalty 100 times over.

  6. stylefiles says:

    Kate looked absouletly stunning in this Sarah Burton dress! She is vast becomming a style icon around the world, and this Grace Kelly esque dress really makes its mark on her now royal world stage! Loved every minuted of the wedding, Wills looked dashing in his uniform. They truly make one stylish royal couple!

  7. djv1301 says:

    At first I thought the dress was too safe and retrospective (very 50s) but the more photos I’ve seen of it, the more I like it. The lace is beautiful and so is the cut of the skirt.
    Sarah Burton did a wonderful job.

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