Saturday, 23 July 2011

Up close and personal with the dress of the decade

Move over crown jewels! This year's summer exhibition at Buckingham Palace will differ slightly to other years, mainly due to the fact that the world's most famous dress will be the star of the show.
With 160,000 already sold of the 600,000 available tickets to view the McQueen Royal Wedding masterpiece (and all tickets expected to fly before the October finish of the exhibition), The Duchess of Cambridge took her granny-in-law (akhem, The Queen) for a quick spin around the exhibition before it opens to the public.
Unfortunately, the most important critic of all (to Kate anyway) appeared to be less than impressed with the display. It would be thought that the Queen may have tried to soften her less-than-favourable thoughts around the newly appointed Duchess, but no, gung ho! She's part of 'the firm' now so let true sentiments be known!

Kate's dress at Buckingham Palace's Summer Exhibition
Picture -

Kate and the Queen viewing her dress on display
Picture - PA

While it would have been a bit shattering to have the Queen call your wedding dress display 'horrid' and thought it was 'made to look very creepy' - she's actually not too far off the mark!
Interestingly, the team behind the exhibition felt that a faceless display would be best, which has resulted in the effect dress loosing some of its luster. Without the gorgeous Kate beneath the veil with her pearly whites, glossy brown locks and sun-kissed tan, the dress does indeed look rather...ghostly!
Looking at the pics actually takes Sleuth straight back to childhood, watching Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and being so perturbed when the faceless armoury came alive that there was little sleep to be had for many weeks after! 
Armour coming alive to fight in Bedknobs & Broomsticks
Kate's mannequin looking a little lonely!
But back to the gown. The engineering is quite spectacular, with the exhibition screening a film of designer Sarah Burton talking about the making of her career-defining design. "There were a lot of references to Victorian corsetry, the padded hip, the tiny cinched-in waist, and also to the arts and crafts movement with all of the hand-work on the lace of the dress and also the bustle inside to create the shape of the back of the dress. It has an essence of Victorian but we cut the dress in a very modern way, it is in a very light fabric, also the pleats and the folds create a modern feel rather than a historical piece," says Sarah of her creation.
Being able to see the gown up close allows us to see the craftsmanship and long hours put into the gown, with snippets of info like the fact the needleworkers washed their hands every 30 minutes to maintain the pristine lace and changed their needles every 3 hours to ensure they were sharp, just shows how much effort (and money) was put into making this fairytale gown a reality that little girls (and big ones too!) can dream about for years to come.

Kate's ivory & white satin-gazar dress designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen

Possibly Sleuth's favourite part of the gown, the pleated waist gave the Duchess a beautiful line and echoed the lustrous designs of Victorian days.

The Cartier Halo tiara, with it's 1000 diamonds was leant to Kate by the Queen as her 'something borrowed'

Kate's Sarah Burton-designed Alexander McQueen slippers, befitting a true princess....(or Duchess!)

Perfection. Grace Kelly on her 1956 wedding day, and her dress on display in the exhibition 
'The Grace Kelly Years'.

Many comparisons were drawn between Kate's gown and the one worn by Grace Kelly as she too joined the Royal fold. The display methods differ though as Grace's gown was (graced) with a head, giving form to the gown and helping take the viewers straight back to her magical day. 
While Kate's display is a little eerie, getting up close to see the intricate design will certainly be a magical experience for those luck 600,000 revelers, who too can marvel in the history-making moment when Kate and Will sealed the deal. 

For those Shopistas wishing to pay homage to this design feat at Buckingham Palace, tickets can be purchased for £17.50 at

Happy Shopping! x

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