It’s more Princess Grace than Diana, Princess of Wales (for which a billion people breathe a collective sigh of relief) – and the wedding dress worn by Kate Middleton will, beyond a shadow of a doubt, be all kinds of influential. Designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen the dress manages to strike that fine and perfect balance between intricate detail and understated refinement, being neither too plain nor too plush. The full sleeves have a certain austerity that the times call for – yet are perfectly feminine in their delicate lace needlework; even the accompanying jewellery maintains a carefully-selected level of ostentatiousness.

So what elements can we expect to see rippled through time and fashion post-Royal Wedding? As well as the wedding dress market being awash with copies, the shape of the train will inspire wedding dress designs, likely for some years to come. Structured and with petal-like pleats that suggest an opening flower, the train differs somewhat to the less structured trains that have dominated recent memory.

The continuation and evolution of lace as a fashion trend will also be ushered along by Kate’s impeccably hand-engineered lace bodice and skirt.

royal wedding dress

Click the thumbnails for full pictures:
Royal Wedding 2011
Royal Wedding 2011
Royal Wedding 2011

And what about the cut? The dress may be perfectly feminine, but it’s not flouncy or frivolous or likely to be mistaken for a giant meringue-based dessert. The fitted bodice, particularly on Kate’s slight figure, gives it an air of strength. It nods gently to figures like Queen Victoria, capable of ruling a nation through the good times and the bad. That sense of independence is surely a quality future brides will be keen to replicate.

In all, the broader influence of Kate Middleton‘s, now the Duchess of Cambridge’s, wedding gown will be that certain romance with history; Victorian-esque corsetry brought into the modern day; classic elegance and timelessness made to feel fresh. And it’s that elegance, that timelessness, that this dress now stands as a beacon of.

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