The gown dilemma

It’s not just Kate Middleton’s big day. It’s her biggest fashion test.

The gown dilemma

Anders Wiklund/Hulton Archive/Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

For Kate Middleton, the big fashion test comes when she walks down the aisle. The wedding is the true coming out party for every royal bride. In the past, Middleton’s taste has meant clean, simple flowing gowns, all very form fitting while not revealing too much skin. So although she’s got Diana’s engagement ring on her left hand, she’s unlikely to mimic the late princess of Wales’s crumpled meringue of wedding dress.

In her choice of a designer and a dress, Middleton could draw inspiration from the dresses of previous royal weddings both in Britain and in Europe. The simplicity of Princess Alexandra of Kent’s dress from 1963 is a standout, with its one long unbroken line. Mette-Marit of Norway’s stark white gown (2001) and that of Princess Margaret’s daughter, Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones (1994), are masterpieces of soft draping, something Middleton favours. On the other hand, if the bride wants a gown with more structure, then the silk examples of Victoria of Sweden and Letizia of Spain are standouts.

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