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In the December 15th issue of WWD, numerous designers were asked for their wedding gown design suggestions for the upcoming nuptials of commoner Kate Middleton to HRH Prince William of Wales.
above: Kate Middleton and HRH Prince William of Wales. Her engagement ring, the large sapphire surrounded by diamonds, is the one Prince Charles gave William's mother, the late Princess Di (Lady Diana Spencer).
Well-known couture wedding gown designers like Monique L'huillier, Badgley Mischka, Reem Acra and Vera Wang, fashion design houses such as Gucci and Chanel and even J.Crew submitted sketches (all shown individually further down in this post).
The only Brit to submit a design was Elizabeth Emanuel, who, with her then-husband David, designed Diana Spencer’s well-known fairy-tale wedding dress in 1981.
Below are all the 29 design sketches, shown in alphabetical order.
“...In Kate I see the natural, radiant and self-confident attitude of today’s girls. For this, I can’t help but think of an embroidered, fluid-silhouette dress in precious fabrics that will help her make an everlasting impression.” — Alberta Ferretti
"We see Kate going completely classic. We love this off-the-shoulder silhouette for her. Her beauty and grace will make any gown look magnificent.” — Mark Badgley and James Mischka, Badgley Mischka
Ralph Rucci, Chado Ralph Rucci:
"White tulle veil to floor…satin bodice and cardinal hat…huge silk tulle gown with pinches, like ostrich pores…all embroidery in freshwater pearls — no glitter.” — Ralph Rucci, Chado Ralph Rucci
Karl Lagerfeld suggests a Chanel take on “the Victorian wedding dress, with a twist — high boots and open in the front.”
“I think she represents a new freshness to the monarchy, and it is up to her how modern she wants to shape her role. I think taking risks with a confident, colorful spirit is where it’s at with the royals.” — Chris Benz
“Something old: Victorian skirt. Something new: patchwork gown. Something borrowed: Queen Elizabeth’s veil. Something red: Elizabethan top, as red was the wedding color until 1900!” — Christian Lacroix
Doo-Ri Chung, Doo.Ri:
“I wanted Kate to look regal, but romantic, so I used chiffon and lace to evoke tradition, but gave her a romantic off-the-shoulder detail.” — Doo-Ri Chung, Doo.Ri
“It’s entirely different from the Diana dress I designed, which was very much of the Eighties, but it’s still fitting for a royal occasion. It’s a much more modern dress, but romantic and out of the ordinary.” — Elizabeth Emanuel
Frida Giannini, Gucci:
“I admire the balance Kate Middleton strikes between elegant and contemporary with her unmistakable style. For her, I had in mind clean lines, soft shapes and classic touches such as the boat neckline and distinctive train.” — Frida Giannini, Gucci
Gilles Mendel, J.Mendel:
“On the royal wedding day, I envision Kate Middleton in a fresh, modern silhouette emphasizing her elegance and beauty in a youthful way.” — Gilles Mendel, J.Mendel
“I love the idea of mixing traditional opulence with a very clean aesthetic for this modern-day princess.” — Jason Wu
Tom Mora, J. Crew:
“I think that there will be so many comparisons to the late Princess Diana that her dress should almost be the opposite of what Diana’s was — modern, simple and very elegant.” — Tom Mora, vice president of wedding and special occasion, J. Crew
“I wanted her to wear something as minimal and spare as possible that brought out her natural beauty. Less is more.” — Kimberly Ovitz
“Kate tends to wear a very elegant and clean silhouette, so I think the lines of this dress would suit her style. The understated tiers play up her youthful and romantic appeal.” — Lela Rose
“Sporty separates in handmade lace and silk taffeta for Kate: a lace T-shirt worn over a drop-waist taffeta ball skirt made of endless meters.” — Lyn Devon
“This dress was designed to enhance Kate Middleton’s beauty through precious fabrics. The clean and contemporary lines, never redundant and beyond all specific stylistic periods, give her an eternal image of grace and elegance.” — Angela Missoni
“The royal wedding will be magical. Kate’s dress should be a modern mix of the traditional and contemporary.” — Monique Lhuillier
“A patchwork lace dress reminds us all that a true princess can mend and make do!” — Nanette Lepore
“I think no poof and froufrou. Elegant with a modern twist. A little sexy, but also modest.” — Nicole Miller
Peter Copping, Nina Ricci:
“Light as a feather, layers of lace and organza…a dress fit for a princess.” — Peter Copping, Nina Ricci
“The look is regal with respect for the heritage of the royal family but represents what modern Europe is all about.” — Prabal Gurung
“For Kate I love to showcase the British tradition with a wonderfully beautiful, yet modern hat worn under a full-length veil with a deconstructed cascade train balancing the formality.” — Rachel Roy
“The A-line silhouette of this dress is elegant and sophisticated, similar to Kate’s style, but the floral appliqués and corset top add a youthful feel. Fit for young royalty.” — Rebecca Taylor
“Kate is a young beauty about to become a royal. She is very confident and knows her style. This gown has a long train, veil and a touch of embroidery, which adds drama, but the A-line silhouette is simple. It’s regal and sophisticated.” — Reem Acra
“Kate has a sophisticated yet playful and modern look, so for her wedding she’d be a vision in a mix of traditional, whimsy and classically beautiful.” — Tommy Hilfiger
“Kate would look beautiful in a simple, elegant silhouette — a delicate ivory lace bodice and tulle skirt with a blush lace train.” — Tory Burch
Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, Valentino:
“We designed a ‘blossoming’ dress because we imagined her as a new Botticellian Venus.” — Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, Valentino
“...The tradition of intricate hand-pieced lacework in the high-necked bodice with elbow-length sleeves, together with the voluminous skirt of a mixture of stiff and soft silk tulle, feels regal, yet poetic.” — Vera Wang
“Stately and sophisticated, but also a modern-day wedding gown for a young princess. Its elongated silhouette combined with the lace and draping of the skirt is glamorous and elegant, while the neckline and bodice remain modern.” — Yigal Azrouël
All Photos by Courtesy Photo
See the gown Kate, now known as Catherine, wore to her wedding after all!