Rachel Marie Walsh


Dress of the century makes its star turn

The bride’s choice of ivory and white satin bridal gown did not disappoint, writes Rachel Marie Walsh

THE most highly-anticipated dress of the century did not disappoint. Kate wore an ivory and white satin gazar and lace dress that she co-created with Sarah Burton, creative director of Alexander McQueen. Her veil was held in place by a Cartier “halo” tiara, on loan from the Queen and made in 1936. The modest train stretched 2.7 metres. Her skirt, with padded hips giving way to a full skirt, was designed to emulate a blossoming flower. The lace detailing is a mixture of French Chantilly and English Cluny lace. The bride wore diamond drop earrings by London jewellers Robinson Pelham. The gold for her simple wedding band was given to Prince William by the Queen shortly after the engagement was announced. It was made by Welsh jewellers Wartski. Her duchesse satin pumps were also custom-made by Alexander McQueen.

The groom was dashing in the uniform of a Colonel of the Irish Guard: a scarlet jacket with yellow-gold buttons, a royal blue sash and a shamrock embroidered on the collar. His gold sword slings were empty. He accessorised with the wings of the Royal Air Force, which he serves, and the Golden Jubilee medal that honours 50 years of his grandmother’s reign. His Wellington mess boots, with spurs fitted to the back, were covered by scarlet trousers. The insignia of the Irish Guards on his forage cap is the eight-pointed Star of the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick, and features the Regiment’s motto ‘Quis Separabit?’ (‘Who shall separate us?’).

The best man was also in military attire. Prince Harry was roguishly handsome in a Blues and Royals officer’s uniform. He wore aiguillettes, a cross-belt and gold waist belt, also with empty sword slings. His jacket displayed the wings of the Army Air Corps and his Golden Jubilee and Afghanistan campaign medals.

Meanwhile, the Queen herself made a bold statement in primrose yellow by Angela Kelly, her Anglo-Irish personal dresser. The neckline was sequinned to emulate the sun’s rays. Her Majesty was bang on this season’s primary colour-blocking trend.

The Prince of Wales, who holds the title of Admiral of the Royal Navy, cut an impressive figure in ceremonial Royal Navy Number One dress and a Garter Star. The Order of the Garter, founded by Edward III in 1348, is the senior British Order of Chivalry. In addition, he wore the badge of the Order of the Bath, the Order of Merit.

His wife, the Duchess of Cornwall wore a champagne dress with matching coat, both by Anna Valentine. The London-based designer also created the oyster silk dress Camilla wore for her wedding to the Prince of Wales in 2005. Her hat was by Philip Treacy, her preferred milliner, and her shoes were Jimmy Choo.

Prince Harry’s on-off girlfriend Chelsy Davy was seen in midnight blue and aqua green at the reception and ceremony respectively. The South African beauty, a trainee solicitor, wore two dresses by Italian designer Alberta Ferretti. Her shoes were by Jimmy Choo. She paired the green dress, which features a deep boat neck and knotted detailing, with a matching silk faille jacket. The evening dress is crepe satin with cut-out back detailing. She accessorised both looks with an Annoushka gold cuff and earrings. To comply with the ceremonial dress code, she wore a headpiece by Olivia Grant.

Samantha Cameron, surely sick of blue at this point, took a fashion risk in teal and orange. It paid off. Samantha, former creative director of Bond Street stationers Smythson’s, plumped for a teal dress by Burberry designer, Christopher Bailey. The pleated sheath dress, which retails for £495 (€557), has reportedly already sold out in Britain. Her statement necklace is by Canadian designer Erdem, her good friend and some-time design collaborator. Breaking the dress code, Mrs Cameron went hatless and arrived with a tangerine Burberry scarf draped over her arm.

A rumour that the prime minister would wear a lounge suit provoked uproar, prompting him to state earlier this month that he would wear tails. Mr Cameron frequently wears lounge suits to weddings, reputedly to avoid giving opponents an opportunity to accuse him of being a “toff”. The rumour proved scurrilous when he arrived at Westminster Abbey in an elegant morning suit.

Victoria Beckham, six months pregnant and showing it nowhere but her tummy, altered a navy dress from her eponymous collection. Her shoes were custom-made by Christian Louboutin and her hat by Philip Treacy. David Beckham OBE was devastating in Ralph Lauren Purple Label. He accessorised with black crocodile braces, hat by Philip Treacy and sterling silver DB cufflinks.

Virgin heiress Holly Branson won our directional dress of the day. The medical graduate co-created a lace dress by London Fashion Week newcomer Irwin&Jordan. Zoe Jordan, the Anglo-Irish designer behind the label, received rave reviews for her February show.

“I am so thrilled that Holly Branson chose to work with me in designing an Irwin and Jordan outfit,” Zoe said today.

“She is a real Irwin and Jordan girl with fantastic style!”

Holly, once romantically linked to Prince William, will wed ship broker Frederick Andrews on her father’s Caribbean island in November. Holly also wore shoes by Jimmy Choo.

Viscountess Serena Linley wore Roland Mouret, the London-based creator of the cult Galaxy dress. The Limerick-born aristocrat accessorised with an Anya Hindmarch clutch, Manolo Blahnik heels and a hat by Stephen Jones.

The mother of the bride wore sky blue wool crepe “Sydney” day dress by Catherine Walker and hat by Jane Corbitt. The designer was a favourite of Princess Diana and Mrs Middleton’s choice was a subtle mark of respect. Carole, Pippa, Michael and James Middleton all wore pieces by London jewellers Robinson Pelham, which also created Kate’s “leaf and acorn” earrings.

Diminutive Pippa Middleton very nearly upstaged her big sister in an Alexander McQueen silk column with cap sleeves and a cowl neckline. Ms Middleton guided an adorable group of box-pleat skirted bridesmaids through the proceedings. The little ones all wore Nicki MacFarlane. All the bridesmaids’ lily-of-the-valley hair arrangements were by Kate’s Belfast-born florist, Shane Connolly.

The pageboys were dressed in the red and gold tunics of Foot Guards officers. The design dates from the 1820s and complimented the groom’s military uniform perfectly.

Sarah Ferguson’s daughters Eugenie and Beatrice both trotted through the Abbey in Jimmy Choos. Eugenie did her absent mother proud in bold Vivienne Westwood.

Beatrice, known for her love of full-on glamour, went all out in Valentino Couture and gloves by Cornelia James. Both princesses wore hats by Philip Treacy.

Princess Anne’s daughter Zara Philips, known for her eccentric style, kept it classic (and Irish) today in Paul Costelloe, with hat by Philip Treacy. Zara and her rugby player fiance, Mike Tindall, could not stop giggling as the newlyweds and their witnesses went to sign the registers.

Fashion plate Tara Palmer-Tomkinson wore electric blue from head-to-toe. Her distinctly 80s style off-the-shoulder dress is by London designer Deborah Milner. Philip Treacy, who head-dressed an astonishing 36 guests, created her hat. Tara’s impressive platform peep-toes were by London shoe prince Nicholas Kirkwood.

Artist Gemma Billington, a long-time friend of the bride, wore Alison Conneely, the designer behind Irish label Emé Vandal.

The Kerry-native wore a hand-crocheted cape and dress to the ceremony and was accompanied by her husband Tim.

Amy Huberman did us proud in an adorable bubblegum-pink day dress by Louise Kennedy. The silk dress was selected from the designer’s autumn/winter 2011 collection. The actress and author wore Foxrock designer Nina Divito’s “Berna” pumps in black with ribbon-edge detailing. Her black lace beret with crystal detailing is by milliner Sarah McGahon from Bray, Co Wicklow. Amy attended solo due to her husband’s rugby commitments.

Designer Anya Hindmarch chose a classic ensemble by London designer Emilia Wickstead.

Ms Wickstead also dressed interior designer India Hicks, Kate’s cousin Lucy Middleton and Princess Diana’s stunning niece Lady Kitty Spencer.

Modest train

Kate Middleton’s bridal train was exceptionally modest, measuring just two metres and 70 centimetres.

The train of Lady Diana Spencer’s dress was 25 ft long, while Sarah Ferguson’s train reached 17-feet and was emblazoned with the letter ‘A’ in 1986.

Even the Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, had a 13-foot star-patterned train in 1947.

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