Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Dress for Kate

The Dreamstress is having a competition. Design a wedding dress for Queen in waiting Kate. I confess, it was my idea. I LOVE royal weddings. When Di married Charles, I made a replica of her dress (well, sort of) for my big doll, although it was out of crepe as that is what I had! And tea dyed laces. I liked my version anyway, and a local craft shop displayed it in their window. I never did like the original dress mind you.
Then when Fergie married Andrew, I really loved that dress, it was everything Di's wasn't - beautifully cut, tastefully and skilfully embellished, perfectly designed to set off her curves, and it looked sleek and uncrushed and caught the light and glowed in the cathedral. Unlike the big crushed pile of dull taffeta Di wore!
So, in designing my suggested dress for Kate, I considered what I have learnt are the design constraints for a royal wedding dress:
It must look good close up, and in long shots from all angles in the church, in the carriage, and in the museum afterwards.
It should glow and sparkle- matt fabrics don't work in this situation - they are for intimate events
It should be timeless - Di's and Anne's gowns are both examples of dresses that suffered from too much fashion and have dated badly as a result
And so here is my design:

Click on it for a close up.
It's inspired by the Hollywood historical costuming from the 40's and 50's, where historical clothing was run through the 'New Look' filter. I love that look! This is a medieval 1950's combo.
The big skirt and train, fitted off the shoulder bodice and overall styling of the New Look, but the sleeves, waist sash and underskirt of medieval fashion.
What I love about this look is the richness of the lace and the satin working together, and the very traditional style with just a few details that are unexpected. It isn't going to change the direction of fashion as we know it, but I like it :)
Go on, have a go yourself, check out the competition on The Dreamstress' blog!


  1. Yay! First entry! I can really see how much you liked the 90s here though ;-)

    What do you think of all the actual 50s do medieval dresses out there?

  2. You know, I don't see it myself. I don't see the 90's influence because for me, the 90's was a time of huge variety in wedding fashion - historical inspiration was a theme but it could be anything from 1100 to 1750 to 1810 to 1960, it was "game on". And then there was the truly modern stuff - the Fergie look,and all that cap shouldered, sculpted Italian fashion with embroidered cut outs. And ruching. So much going on. Perhaps one day I'll look back on it and go "DUH" but not yet! :) Anything though has to be better than the last 10 years of the one and only dress, which is only now losing its stranglehold and then only a little. I am hoping Katy will kick it for touch with something that will start a new and interesting era in wedding fashion. Oh, and by the way, if it were a truly 90's dress, it would have a big cuff around the shoulders ;-)

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  4. Oh, you gels are just sooooo clever - seeing things that I would never in a million years LOL. Speaking from bitter experience *cough* I just hope her new ma-in-law says "how lovely you look" or some variation thereof!

  5. OMG - how close were you with your design for the Duchess of Cambridge's dress !!! You have a talent girlfriend :) xx

  6. I know, spooky isn't it! And even spookier is that what she DID wear was what I was going to draw, with that neckline. But I went with what I like instead. It was such a simple dress, but beautifully done. And it met all of the parameters I identified too, which is great and just shows that Kate and her designer looked and learnt from past successes and mistakes also.
    Last scary bit - if I made that dress for someone now, It would cost about $5-6000. It is not an expensive dress. The lace though beautiful is not particularly expensive - Mum's dress was made entirely of it. The construction has no major design challenges.
    Good on her for wearing a dress that continues both their efforts not to have an incredibly extravagant wedding! :)