Thursday, February 24, 2011

Kate Middleton's Royal Wedding Dress Prerogative

Out of all of the inescapable royal wedding coverage, Kate Middleton's royal wedding dress is the subject of endless speculation. Who will design it? What style will she wear? And on and on it goes..

Royal Wedding dresses are the subject of intense speculation and this rabid desire for information is nothing new. In the absence of any real news, media outlets try to desperately get the scoop on what this dress will look like with the chosen designers resorting to subterfuge to avoid leaks.

Case in point, the designers of Diana, Princess of Wales' wedding dress resorted to hiring a safe and a security guard to protect the dress while it was being made. They would try to throw the press off the scent by putting fabric swatches of different colors in their garbage. Samantha Shaw, who designed Sophie Rhys Jones' wedding dress, quietly disappeared to a secret address to complete the project, Norman Hartnell, who designed Princess Elizabeth's dress in 1947, white-washed the windows of his workroom.

Much has been made of why Kate has not announced the name of her designer. But looking at the experiences of previous royal wedding gown designers, it's difficult to blame Kate for wanting to avoid putting a designer through the ordeal. But Kate has many designers who would love the commission. Rumor has it that Kate has already chosen a designer or at least has a short list to choose from. One of them is reportedly Bruce Oldfield, a favorite of Diana, Princess of Wales. However with his multiple media appearances it's unlikely he's been commissioned to design Kate's dress.

But previous royal brides, such as Princess Anne, Diana, Fergie and Sophie have chosen relatively little-known designers. Maureen Baker was the chief designer for Susan Small, made Princess Anne's 1973 wedding dress. The Emmauel's had graduated from the Royal College of Design four years before Lady Diana Spencer approached them. Lesotho born Lindka Cierach's first commission was a wedding dress for a Bahrain princess, but she received global acclaim as Sarah Ferguson's designer. Low profile society designer Samantha Shaw made Sophie Rhys Jones' 1999 dress.

It would not be surprising if Kate followed the trend and chose a little known designer for her own dress. Unlike Bruce Oldfield, they may shun publicity to focus on the quality of the dress and maintain the discretion that Kate is entitled to on her wedding day.

Fingers crossed she gets it.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

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