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Kate Middleton wears lacy McQueen gown w/ plunging neckline

April 29, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Kate Middleton's wedding dress, the source of endless speculation leading up to the big royal wedding day, was designed by Sarah Burton, creative director of the Alexander McQueen fashion house.

The gown had a plunging, sweetheart neckline with long sleeves of lace. The train measured 270 centimeters, which amounts to approximately 106 inches. The bodice narrowed at the waist and padded at the hips, giving a nod to Victorian corsetry - which is a hallmark of McQueen's designs. The back of the gown was finished with 58 organza covered buttons, fastened by loops.

Royal officials said the bride went with the iconic British fashion line "for the beauty of its craftsmanship and its respect for traditional workmanship and the technical construction of clothing."

Middleton wanted to merge tradition with modern details in her gown, and she worked closely with McQueen designer Burton in formulating the design of the dress.

The bride recalled another commoner who became royalty, actress Grace Kelly, who married Rainier III, the Prince of Monaco, and became the Princess of Monaco.

Burton had earlier denied receiving the coveted commission, but that denial now appears to have been part of an elaborate strategy to maintain secrecy.

In recent weeks reports had circulated that parts of the McQueen office had been cordoned off so no one could see what was being designed behind the screens, adding credence to the belief that Burton had been chosen.

The bodice and skirt of the ivory and white satin gown incorporate English and French Chantilly lace throughout. The lace appliqué, design and individual flowers seen on the bodice were all handmade.

Middleton's shoes were also fashioned by McQueen. They were constructed of ivory duchesses satin with hand-embroidered lace details.

As for the veil, it was made of ivory silk tulle, detailed with hand-embroidered flowers. The veil was held in place by a Cartier "Halo" tiara, lent to Middleton by Queen Elizabeth II.

The tiara was first purchased by the Duke of York, later King George VI, for his duchess, who later became the Queen Mother Elizabeth. It was given to the current queen by her mother on the queen's 18th birthday.

The bride also donned diamond drop earrings, given to her by her parents. The earrings by Robinson Pelham were a set of stylized oak leaves with a pear-shaped diamond drop and diamond acorn suspended in the center.

Middleton's maid of honor, her sister Pippa Middleton, also wore a dress fashioned by McQueen. The floor-length gown was constructed from heavy, ivory satin-based crepe with a cowl neckline.

Burton released the following statement on a blog for the British newspaper the Guardian:

It has been the experience of a lifetime to work with Catherine Middleton to create her wedding dress, and I have enjoyed every moment of it. It was such an incredible honour to be asked, and I am so proud of what we and the Alexander McQueen team have created. I am delighted that the dress represents the best of British craftsmanship.

Catherine looked absolutely stunning today, and the team at Alexander McQueen are very proud of what we have created. The dress was just one component of a spectacular day, and I do not think it is appropriate to comment any further beyond saying that I personally am very grateful and honoured to have been given the opportunity to work on this project.

You can watch the royal wedding rebroadcast from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the Live Well Network on ABC7 channels 7.2 and 7.3. Check here for other cable channels that will re-air the wedding.

The Associated Press and ABC News contributed to this report.