Saturday 30 April 2011

The Windsor Knot

Princess William of Wales, Duchess of Cambridge was a classic beauty in an ivory lace gown for sweet William.

Royal Wedding of HRH Prince William to Kate Middleton,

the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Marriage should transform as husband and wife make one another their work of art. It is possible to transform so long as we don’t harbor ambitions to refault (ph) our partners. There must be no coercion if the spirit is the flow. Each must give the other space and freedom.

Chaucer, the London poet, sums it up in a pithy phrase.

“When mastery cometh, the god of love anon beated his wings. And farewell, he is gone.”


Catherine Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge, stepped out of the car in a long white gown with long white lace sleeves, reminiscent of the one that the actress Grace Kelly wore to wed the Prince Ranier III of Monaco.

The long white gown designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen was made of ivory and white satin gazar, the skirt resembled “an opening flower” with white satin gazar arches and pleats.

The lace appliqué on the bodice and skirt was hand-made by the Royal School of Needlework. Individual flowers were hand-cut from lace and hand-engineered onto ivory silk tulle.

Kate’s bridal flowers contained a touching tribute to her husband

~ her bouquet includes sweet William, lily-of-the-valley, hyacinth &

studded with a traditional sprig of myrtle grown from the original bush of Queen Victoria’s wedding bouquet.

Miss Middleton chose British brand Alexander McQueen for the beauty of its craftsmanship and its respect for traditional workmanship and the technical construction of clothing.  Miss Middleton wished for her dress to combine tradition and modernity with the artistic vision that characterises Alexander McQueen’s work.  Miss Middleton worked closely with Sarah Burton in formulating the design of her dress.

The design

The lace appliqué for the bodice and skirt was hand-made by the Royal School of Needlework, based at Hampton Court Palace.  The lace design was hand-engineered (appliquéd) using the Carrickmacross lace-making technique, which originated in Ireland in the 1820s.  Individual flowers have been hand-cut from lace and hand-engineered onto ivory silk tulle to create a unique and organic design, which incorporates the rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock.

The lace work was carried out at the studios of the Royal School of Needlework (RSN), at Hampton Court Palace by embroiderers aged from 19 to in their 70s. They had to wash their hands every 30 minutes to keep the lace and threads pristine, and the needles were renewed every three hours, to keep them sharp and clean.

Hand-cut English lace and French Chantilly lace has been used throughout the bodice and skirt, and has been used for the underskirt trim.  With laces coming from different sources, much care was taken to ensure that each flower was the same colour.  The whole process was overseen and put together by hand by Ms Burton and her team.

The dress is made with ivory and white satin gazar.  The skirt echoes an opening flower, with white satin gazar arches and pleats.  The train measures two metres 70 centimetres.  The ivory satin bodice, which is narrowed at the waist and padded at the hips, draws on the Victorian tradition of corsetry and is a hallmark of Alexander McQueen’s designs.  The back is finished with 58 gazar and organza covered buttons fastened by Rouleau loops.  The underskirt is made of silk tulle trimmed with Cluny lace.  Her shoes of satin with hand-embroidered lace were also made by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen.

The veil is made of layers of soft, ivory silk tulle with a trim of hand-embroidered flowers, also by embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework.  The veil is held in place by a Cartier ‘halo’ tiara, lent to Miss Middleton by The Queen. The ‘halo’ tiara was made by Cartier in 1936 and presented to Princess Elizabeth (now The Queen) by her mother on the occasion of her 18th birthday.

The Bride’s earrings, by Robinson Pelham, are diamond-set stylised oak leaves with a pear shaped diamond set drop and a pavé set diamond acorn suspended in the centre.  Inspiration for the design comes from the Middleton family’s new coat of arms, which includes acorns and oak leaves.  The earrings were made to echo the tiara.  The earrings were a personal gift to the Bride from her parents for her Wedding Day.

Robinson Pelham also designed a pair of diamond earrings for Miss Philippa Middleton.  These earrings are more floral in nature to compliment the headpiece worn by Miss Philippa Middleton during the Service. A tourmaline and diamond pendant and matching earrings have been designed and made for Mrs. Carole Middleton.  Two gold stick pins, one with a single gold acorn at the head and the other with an oak leaf, are also worn respectively by the Father of the Bride, Mr. Michael Middleton, and the Bride’s brother, Mr. James Middleton.

The bouquet ~ Kate’s shield-shaped bouquet was designed by Shane Connolly and symbolises a collaboration of special meaning for the Royal family and the Middleton family. The significance /meaning of the blooms chosen: Lily-of-the-valley – Return of happiness; Sweet William – Gallantry; Hyacinth – Constancy of love; Ivy – Fidelity; marriage; wedded love; friendship; affection; Myrtle – the emblem of marriage; love.

Sister and maid of honor Pippa wore a cream fluid silk dress by Sarah Burton for McQueen, with a cowl neck and a row of small buttons running down the back. The Bridesmaids’ dresses were created using the same fabrics as the Bride’s dress and hand-finished with delicate English Cluny lace, visible under the skirts, and four layers of net underskirt.  The puff sleeves and neckline are trimmed with the same English lace as the Bride’s underskirt.  The backs have been finished with the same button detail. As a special memento, the Bridesmaid’s name and the date of the wedding have been hand-embroidered onto the lining of each dress. In case the day was cold, waist-length capes were made from ivory Yorkshire wool, edged in fine English lace and tied at the front in the same satin gazar as the dresses. The classic Mary Jane style shoes were  made made by Devon-based Rainbow Club from satin and finished with a Swarovski crystal buckle.

The Queen: Her Majesty The Queen wore an Angela Kelly designed single crepe wool primrose dress with hand sown beading at the neck in the shape of sunrays. Matching double crepe wool tailored primrose coat. She designed the matching crepe hat with hand made silk roses and apricot coloured leaves. Jewellery:  Queen Mary’s True Lovers Knot broach.

The Mothers: Mrs. Carole Middleton is wearing a sky blue wool crepe coatdress with matching satin piping and passementerie at the waist and cuff over a sky blue silk shantung ‘Sydney’ day dress with short pleated sleeves and pleated pockets.  The dress and coatdress are by Catherine Walker.  Mrs. Middleton’s hat is by Berkshire-based Jane Corbett. Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall is wearing a champagne silk dress and a duck egg blue and champagne coat designed by Anna Valentine

{Images via Daily Mail, The Telegraph, Telegraph Fashion. Official photos taken in Buckingham Palace’s throne room. by Hugo Burnand/Clarence House}


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