There’s few occasions special enough to warrant a real fashion moment, but when Kate Middleton walked down the aisle to marry her prince on Friday, we witnessed a piece of history in the making.
We all know that dress was the creative conclusion of Sarah Burton for McQueen, who designed the most important dress in her career for what was also the most important dress in Kate’s life to date, but what does Kate’s choice of dress and designer really mean for her future as fashion icon?
Let’s take a look at the dress in more detail.
An ivory-white silk gazar gown with a delicate Chantilly lace upper leading into long sleeves and an elongated neck, Kate’s dress boasted a modest 2.7 metre train with subtle embroidery to the skirt. It’s both classic and modern, understated and elegant – inspired, no doubt, by both Queen Elizabeth’s wedding dress in 1947 and, most memorably, Grace Kelly’s in 1956.
But though her dress reflects her inspirations, it also reflects Kate at a pivotal moment in her life as princess, combining tradition with the contemporary; encompassing the past as well as the future.
Why, then, choose a label that’s served a controversial – if albeit very successful – career?
Kate’s choice in McQueen over classic royal couturiers is a statement in itself – it’s a highly successful label that’s rooted in traditional tailoring and controversial art-like creations, but above all, it’s a real fashion label.
It highlights Kate’s position as a style icon and a risk taker, and it shouts in the face of critics who’ve accused her of dressing too middle-aged; it shows she’s got an understanding of fashion and flare, and that she knows when to use it.
For Sarah Burton, it’s the commission of a lifetime – let’s not forget half of the 2 billion world audience watching won’t be fashion fans and won’t be familiar with McQueen – and the chance to put her exquisite talent on world show in what’s likely to be the most important dress of the decade.
For us, it’s a match made in heaven. Kate’s strength in designer and Sarah’s inimitable creative hand have become iconic in a matter of minutes, in front of billions, across a dress that says as much about Kate’s fashion politics as it does her royal responsibilities. Now that’s what we call a fashion moment.