Top Bridal Designers Sketch Wedding Gowns for Kate Middleton

11/22/2010 at 03:30 PM ET

Top Bridal Designers ch Wedding Gowns for Kate Middleton
Courtesy Monique Lhuillier; Courtesy Ralph&Russo

When it comes to Kate Middleton’s wedding gown plans, fashion insiders from Savile Row to Seventh Avenue are abuzz with predictions—and opinions. “Any designer would love to design for a royal wedding,” Elizabeth Emanuel, co-creator of Princess Diana’s 1981 gown, told UK newspaper the Daily Mail. Adds London designer Suzanne Neville: “I would hope that she keeps British.” Alas, it would seem that the weight of the fashion world rests on Kate’s slim, likely-to-be-lace-covered shoulders. And while names from the obvious (her favorite designer, Daniella Issa Helayel) to the more obscure (English designer Phillipa Lepley) have been tossed around, it’s still anybody’s guess who will design the gown of the century. But that hasn’t stopped designers from speculating—or sketching. “I think she will be covered, but in a modern way,” says American designer Monique Lhuillier, whose Kate-inspired gown includes organza flowers on the shoulders and a grand skirt. “When I think of the royal family, it is important to keep the style of the gown classic, regal, opulent—and subtle.”

UK designer Ben de Lisi, a frequent Oscars choice for Kate Winslet, designed a gown to suit Middleton’s “long, pure, lean figure,” describing his vision as “young, fresh, modern and understatedly grand.” The common thread throughout every design? Chic restraint. “London girls…tend to be a little more classic and not show off their bodies so much,” says Neville. “Kate has that ‘London look.’ I don’t think she likes to be on display too much.” And while she may be wearing Diana’s engagement ring, her dress will be a departure, experts predict: “Diana’s was all frill and flounce,” Emanuel told the Daily Mail. “I imagine Kate will steer well clear of a big, bouffant dress.” Either way, it’s still going to be huge. –Suzanne Zuckerman; reporting by Monique Jessen, Kristen Mascia and Simon Perry


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Showing 45 comments

Sheila on

She just reeks of class. I love her!

Donna on

She is going to look beautiful no matter what gown she picks. shes a very pretty young lady. Godbless, I will be watching it.

Janice Pielert on

I would love to see her in something beautiful and feminine (like she is) and a little more modern. Nothing along the lines of Pricess Diana’s gown, something more sleek. She would look good in a paper bag, but she needs to get beautified for her wedding day.

Clara on

It’s not fair to compare Diana’s dress to now. It was the look of its time.

tomi on


iso on

I think that these dress sketches are goregeous! But she will look beautiful in whatever she chooses.

Miz Dee on

Personally I love the Lhullier, and I did look at all the sketches, not just the two at the top of this article. However, I’m 1) not Kate, and 2) American. I agree with the masses that this creation should be done by a British designer, because of who Kate is marrying and the significance of her future position.

Kate’s not a young naieve girl…she’s a woman with her own tastes and ideas. So, if I were Kate, here’s what I’d do: I’d let the top British designers know what I’ve got in mind for my big day, the style I want to pull off; give them her ideas. Then let them all go to it, and personally weed out the ones she doesn’t like herself. Then, sit down with both her mother and the Queen, and select THE DRESS. That’s what I’d do if I were Kate. She’ll have the best of the best that way, no possible royal issues with her choice, and really own her day.

Best wishes to her and William, I’m cheering like mad for them from this side of the pond!

Ladybarber on

I hate the wedding dress where the train looks like it is coming out of the b*tt. Not a royal look in my opinion.

connie dacey on

Although they are both beautiful dresses I don’t see her in either one. They one on the left looks like too much dress for her and the one on the right just doesn’t look like a dress a royal would wear. I’m sure she will look beautiful in whatever she picks.

Anna on

Both dresses look beautiful. I actually think the sleeves would look really good on her. DEFINITELY not strapless.

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