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It is not yet 24 hours since a jubilant William lead his beautiful bride Catherine from Westminster Abbey, no stone has been left unturned  in the subsequent analysis of their big day. The hot topic of course is the wedding dress and its fifties inspired elegance, but how much does it mimic dresses of the past?

A lace sleeve was a popular and elegant choice for wedding dresses in the fifties (Image is the copyright of Katie Randall)

Much has been said of Catherine’s wedding dress, stepping out of her role as ‘commoner Kate’ as she has been dubbed by the tabloids, she consciously choose to avoid ostentatious flourish’s.

The dress was received very well by those that make up the fashion monarchy and the public alike. Surely this will please Her Royal Highness Catherine as the royal wedding website notes that she worked very closely with Alexander McQueen’s creative director Sarah Burton on the lacy creation.

Karl Largerfeld the designer extraordinaire at the helm of Chanel spoke of the elegance of McQueen’s garments, Burton is now the creative director at the label after Alexander McQueen took his own life last year.

Lagerfeld is quoted by the Daily Mail saying, “It’s very pretty, and relatively classic, but that goes with the decor, with a little touch of the 1950s that recalls Marilyn Monroe or Queen Elizabeth’s dress.”

A glance back to the past

In 1947 Princess Elizabeth married Prince Phillip of Greece, in shape rather than style perhaps Kate Middleton was giving a nod to her grandmother-in-law’s wedding dress. Cinched in at the waist and then tumbling to the floor with volume, both brides dresses elongated and slimmed their figures, they also both featured long sleeves.

Carole Middleton, mother of the bride also made an interesting outfit choice, choosing Catherine Walker to design her tailored dove-grey dress suit. Walker was renowned as one of Princess Diana’s go-to designers, so the move whether conscious or not was very thoughtful.

Laced with tradition

Catherine’s dress has been compared with another resplendent princesses wedding gown. In 1956 Grace Kelly married Ranier III, Prince of Monaco in dress that would prove timeless for generations.

A delicate white lace bodice and full length sheer sleeve joins a sweetheart neckline corset, the skirt is high-waisted and subtly supported underneath so that it is voluminous without creating a meringue. The sheerest of veils is perched atop a diamond tiara.

The description is accurate for both Catherine and Grace’s wedding attire. For the two princesses about to embark on their royal lives classic elegance was key.

The history of the dress

The fashion house, McQueen creates sharp silhouettes but under Sarah Burton’s rule the direction has been softer and at times whimsical. The intricacy involved in Catherine dress was very apparent, individual flowers were hand-cut from lace and hand-engineered onto ivory silk tulle.

Lace itself was a popular choice for wedding dresses in the fifties, the modesty of a lace sleeve was much admired. It was Queen Victoria, however, who really emphasised it’s beauty as a fabric in her 1840 wedding to Prince Albert.

The queen decided that her dress should be British-made to promote the country’s arts and crafts and lace industry. The lace for the deep flounce to decorate her skirt was woven in Honiton and Beer. Prince William’s bride followed in this tradition using English lace along with French Chantilly lace throughout the bodice and skirt of her bridal gown.

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The announcement was made today, and yes I know it has been covered EVERYWHERE, and will continue to provide discourse for weeks probably, but still Kate Middleton and Prince William are engaged.

Now it isn’t for reasons of heartbreak or gossip that I bring up this fact. I am just wondering what will she wear?!

The woman will have scores of designers all clamouring for her attention in the hopes that she will choose them to design the all important dress.

What a dream.

In terms of fashion Kate has always been classic, simple and has never tried to0 hard.

The Los Angeles Times reporter Booth Moore sums up her style;

“I don’t believe I’ve ever spotted her in a recognisable piece of designer clothing. In fact, her look thus far seems designed to be non-objectionable. Nothing too aggressive, too sexy or indeed too fashiony, despite the fact that she has worked as an accessories buyer at Jigsaw“.

In that case will she go elegant Vera Wang? This draped Evelyn gown seems to tick all her style rules.

Vera Wang- Evelyn dress made from silk crepe and French tulle

Equally Marie Claire have noticed that she has a bit of a love affair with the high-street;

“Middleton’s high street saviness is well known. She famously stepped out in a Topshop dress on her 25th birthday, prompting the style to sell-out nationwide”

Would she ever completely rebuff expectation and just choose Topshop to dress her for the big day?! I think not, but still it is fun to imagine the confusion that would be caused if she chose to champion the high-street.

Topshop bandeau tail dress, £60.00

This Caroline Castigliano designer dress is pretty regal with its sweetheart neckline, lacy bust and full skirt.

dress by international bridal designer Caroline Castigliano

Perhaps she will go wild with an exuberant and lively wedding dress à la Roberto Cavalli.

Roberto Cavalli wedding dress, image courtesy of Bridal Wave

Still enough pondering, we will all have to wait and see. Only time will tell what Kate adorns herself in for her wedding to Prince William in 2011. I have a hunch that with her sophisticated taste and a bit of designer sparkle it will be a splendid affair.

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