Friday, April 29, 2011

Well done Kate!

She did it!

She chose Sarah Burton from Alexander McQueen AND the Royal School of Needlework had their hands all over this dress!! Hallelujah!

And...she used British companies exclusively to design the gown and source the supplies...And she honored the royal wedding heritage by displaying motifs of the rose, shamrock and thistle...And...

Well, here's the official press release...I've included the whole thing because it tells so much of the story, I just didn't want you to miss a thing...

The Wedding Dress

Miss Catherine Middleton’s Wedding Dress has been designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen.

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 dress epitomises timeless British craftsmanship by drawing together talented and skilled workmanship from across the United Kingdom. The dress design pays tribute to the Arts and Crafts tradition, which advocated truth to materials and traditional craftsmanship using simple forms and often Romantic styles of decoration. Ms Burton’s design draws on this heritage, additionally giving the cut and the intricate embellishment a distinctive, contemporary and feminine character.

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.

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.

The Fabrics

French Chantilly lace was combined with English Cluny lace to be hand-worked in the Irish Carrickmacross needlework tradition.

All other fabrics used in the creation of the dress were sourced from and supplied by British companies. The choice of fabrics followed extensive research by Sarah Burton and her team.

The Royal School of Needlework

The Royal School of Needlework (RSN), based at Hampton Court Palace, assisted the Alexander McQueen team in accurately cutting out the delicate motifs from the lace fabrics and positioning the lace motifs with precision into the new design. The lace motifs were pinned, ‘framed up’ and applied with stab stitching every two to three millimetres around each lace motif. The workers washed their hands every thirty minutes to keep the lace and threads pristine, and the needles were renewed every three hours, to keep them sharp and clean.

The RSN workers included existing staff, former staff, tutors, graduates and students, with the youngest aged 19.

The RSN’s work was used primarily for the train and skirt of the Bride’s dress, the bodice and sleeves, the Bride’s shoes and the Bride’s veil.

A nice shot of the Cartier Halo Tiara loaned by the Queen

Veil and Jewellery

The veil is made of layers of soft, ivory silk tulle with a trim of hand-embroidered flowers, which was 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 was purchased by The Duke of York (later King George VI) for his Duchess (later Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother) three weeks before he succeeded his brother as King. The tiara was 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 have also designed and made 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.

Wedding Shoes

The wedding shoes have made hand-made by the team at Alexander McQueen and are made of ivory duchesse satin with lace hand-embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework.

Isn't that wonderful? I hope someone tells the story of all those folks working their fingers off at Hampton Court Palace!

Carrickmacross lace is a type of handmade needlelace originating in Carrickmacross Ireland in the 19th century. It's made by attaching a thin muslin to a machine netting (in Kate's case...a silk tulle) and, using a pattern to outline and cut away the design.

Here is a beautiful example of Carrickmacross lace...

Lace being sold by Bonblu on Etsy

I think my favorite part was the sheer veil covering Kate's face...I loved that the silk shimmered when the cameras panned in for a close up. I loved the embroidery on the edging of the veil.

I'm afraid we'll have to wait for the close-up photography shots to come in before we can actually see the embroidery on the bodice and the train. From far away, it just all looks white. In my experience, these detailed shots can take quite a while to surface in the media. Though you can see a hint of the embroidery on the bottom of the gown in this pic...

I understand that she had 3 underskirts and shoes that were also all hand embroidered.

The whole look drew me in and made me want to look a little more closely at the new Princess.

And maybe that was her message. I'm here. I'm honoring tradition. I'm a classy woman. But you're going to have to work a little harder to really know me.

And I liked that. I liked it a lot.

Happy Happy Royal Wedding everyone!

P.S. I loved every word of the Bishop of London's sermon...every word.

P.P.S. And wouldn't I love to have seen a close-up of the embroidery on the back of the Archbishop of Canterbury's cope? It looked stunning...does anyone know any details about that? Check it out on the video replays and you'll see what I mean...Update: Thanks to Mary Corbet, we now know all the details about the Cope -- check out her blog post here!

P.P.P.S. Thanks to Flower Friend for letting us can read today's press release by the Royal School of Needlework here. Too cool.


The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

Thank you, Susan, for the wonderful Dress commentary. I enjoyed every sentence!

Ingrid Mida said...

Bravo Susan in getting your post together so quickly. I was thrilled that the dress was under the McQueen label as I'm off to New York on Sunday to go to the preview of the McQueen show at the Met! It all fits together so beautifully.

Nancy said...

Thank you for the information! The dress is beautiful!

Ann at Beadlework. said...

Lovely post with interesting details, I love your take on the whole thing. Over here in Scotland, the whole occasion was very low key.

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

I was waiting for your post!! You are so right!! I kept begging the camera to get a closer shot of the dress. I could see there were beads and embroidery, but you had to have the right angle to see it.

My most favorite part of all of it was when she got out of the car in front of the church and kind of looked around and gave shy little waves. She seems so sweet.

Now Susan, only you can do this right, will you please post your take on the hats the ladies who attended were wearing. They were so fabulous!! I had to get a hat out today to wear to work in honor of the wedding attire. I love those perky little hats that sit cock-eyed at the top of their heads. Didn't you?
xx, Carol

Unknown said...

Thanks. What gorgeous lace.

Marty52 said...

I've been waiting for your post, too. At first I thought there wasn't any lace on the dress itself and was disappointed, but then I saw the picture you posted and there really is quite a bit on there. Can't wait for the close-ups!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post. Loved all the details you found. The bride was beautiful. Some of the guests also had striking outfits. oh, and please do comment on the hats- so unusual. Jane

lifemyway said...

Thank you for the detailed post. When I saw her dress I thought 'how plain' well, for a princess I mean. I also wondered how much work really went into it. I was anxious for the details. Your post made me realize how special the dress really was. Bravo!

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

A wonderful post for a beautiful, joyous occasion.

I too, loved every word of the Bishops sermon. The prayers were wonderful too.

Love, hugs and blessings to the new bride and groom as they embark on this part of the journey in their lives.


Mosaic Magpie said...

The whole occasion was wonderful. Even the embroidered banner behind the bishop. The dress was stunning truly a work of art. I thought Kate looked beautiful. Imagine the honor and excitement of those working on this historic wedding gown. From the choir boys to the horse drawn carriages it was a fairy tale come true.

Gerry Krueger said...

I knew you'd be pleased when I started reading about it this morning....The dress is spectacular... It would be worth a trip to London to see it... Did you see the buttons down the back of her sister's dress.. How great were those as a graphic element???? And all the uniforms were WOW!! I've been searching for the hats but all the sites have been showing the same hats over and over... Ger

coral-seas said...

She certainly did do it ... and with such style and grace. Speaking of grace ... I thought the dress was very reminisant of Grace Kelly's wedding dress.

I'm so thrilled that they turned to the RSN to produce the lace.

There are obviously going to be many brides trying to replicate that look but I also think that Phillipa's gown is going to be the most saught after bridesmaid dress ... every bit as elegant and regal as her sister.

And I also thought that the sermon was right on the money.

Shirlee Fassell said...

Great Post...I think she looks amazing. I was willing to bet yesterday (easy to say now) there would be no sequins or beads or glitz on the gown!!! I guess you can still look fab without them!! XO Shirlee

Judy S. said...

Two wonderful posts! Thanks, Susan!

Karin Slaton said...

Thanks so much for yesterday's and today's stunning posts! Yours are better eyes and ears than the "official" commentators!

Robin said...

You're the best, Susan!


Hi Susan,love the post. It was a wonderful day. Check out the RSN website if you haven't already done so. There is a press release about the lace.

Vicky aka Stichr said...

Ahhh the fairytale wedding. I will have to show these pix to my Meggie, she is a girly girl and will love the dress!

Barbara C said...

When I read the description of the dress and how it was made I totally thought of you Susan. I knew you'd appreciate all the detailed handwork. I hadn't seen that shot of the skirt that shows the embellishment. It definitely adds to my appreciation of the dress.

éoline said...

Thank you Susan for this post and all these secrets! Kate looks like a queen......

Nanette said...

I love that photo of her looking back at her sister, doesn't it say it all...happy, cheeky, here we go, ain't this fun, happy you're here, and more.

Love your detailed description of the dress, with my little tv screen and old eyes, I missed all the pretty bits, but loved the dress anyway.

~mj~ said...

Here is a link to the cope embroidery on Needle n Thread

Lovely post...thanks for gathering so much info!

kaiteM said...

wow, thanks for all that detailed information. i loved the dress but now that i know more i can really appreciate it better.

Liz Bugh, Gypsy Feather said...

Beautiful post, Susan! Thank you for being so informative. I love that about your blog.

Tanya said...

Stunning pictures and beautiful blog you have!! I enjoyed the wedding to the utmost.


Laura said...

Thank you for all of this top notch and wonderful information!!!!! You have given me a new appreciation for everything I saw on TV. Can't wait to see close-ups of the dress!!! Your blog is so wonderful!

Elizabeth said...

I have been so looking forward to this WEDDING DRESS POST as I knew it was coming!!!!!!! You always teach us so very much! I did not get to watch much but I have seen lots of pictures - will go off now to try to find a link to the sermon!!! I love the pictures of the groom and brother entering the church in their stunning uniforms. and Pippa's dress- amazing!!!!! thank again for all the info- SO very glad to ahve you back on line!!!

Rachel said...

It was indeed an absolutely spot-on choice, a wonderful dress, beautifully made. Together with the tree-lined nave (unexpected and charming), and yes, the Bishop of London's sermon, it contributed to a solemn but joyful event.
Long life and happiness to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge!

Tara said...

Just wanted to share a nice news article concerning the dress stitchers at the RSN.

Anonymous said...

A lovely article, thank you so much for all the info!!

I found some other pics that show a little more of the lace on the dress, here:

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