- Rachel Burchfield
The verdict is in: Kate and Meghan’s wedding looks
As a proud supporter of women, I hate it when women are compared or pitted against each other.
But it’s a different story when it comes to what women wear. Clothes? Now, that I don’t mind comparing.
I want to talk fashion for a little bit, specifically a close look at Kate’s and Meghan’s wedding dresses and reception dresses.
My final verdict, after having nearly 365 days to think about this: Kate’s wedding dress was my favorite, and Meghan’s reception dress was my favorite.
Let’s do a little snapshot of each of the four dresses.
Kate’s Wedding Dress:
When Kate got out of the car at Westminster Abbey and the totality of her Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen wedding dress was revealed, I wept. I am a deep, deep lover of fashion, and clothes can move me to tears with their beauty sometimes. Alexander McQueen had just committed suicide the year before, and I remember thinking God, if he could only see what Sarah Burton had done, he would be so proud. Kate, being the future queen consort, really had no choice but to go with a British designer for her dress, and Alexander McQueen was a perfect choice. Sarah Burton, Alexander McQueen’s creative director, designed it. Made of satin and lace, it has an overlaid lace bodice and appliqued skirt and fulfilled Kate’s desire to be traditional yet modern. Side note: When I get married, my dress will look just like this, and I thank Kate singlehandedly for bringing sleeves back en vogue. She didn’t really have a choice, though – her arms had to be covered at the Abbey.
No one officially knew that the dress was Alexander McQueen until the big reveal moment when she stepped out of the car, but rampant speculation had ensued that it was Sarah Burton. If my facts are right, the project was kept such a secret that Alexander McQueen staffers thought they were designing the dress for a movie or a TV show or something in the entertainment field. They knew it was an important project, but they didn’t know it was the important project of, like, all projects.
Kate’s entire look was divine. The veil. The dress, with its V-cut and lace sleeves revealing just enough skin but not enough to ruffle feathers. The long, full skirt. The nine-foot train. My goodness. I get chills just writing about it. Have you ever met someone that didn’t like Kate’s dress? I truly have not. It was such a wow moment in fashion. I will never forget it. The bride did her own makeup, and her hair was in loose curls, backcombed to create a platform for her tiara to sit on so the tiara wouldn’t fall off like Diana’s did at her wedding in 1981.
Here’s some fast facts I didn’t know until I did a little deeper research:
· The veil was held in place by a Cartier Scroll Tiara from 1936, loaned to her from the Queen’s collection. The Queen received the tiara on her eighteenth birthday.
· The dress’ lace had motifs including a rose, thistle, daffodil, and shamrock to represent England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
· One of the flowers in Kate’s bouquet was Sweet William. Awww. It also contained myrtle, lily of the valley, and hyacinth.
· For her something old, the 19th century-style lace on Kate’s gown fit the bill; her something new was the beautiful diamond earrings her parents, Michael and Carole, gave to her for the occasion; her something borrowed was, of course, the Queen’s tiara; and her something blue was blue ribbon sewn into the bodice.
· Her shoes, which I really can’t remember seeing, were also from Alexander McQueen and had a lace pattern that matched her dress.
This dress is everything and it’s probably my favorite gown of all time. Mark Badgley of fashion house Badgley Mischka said it best: “It’s the kind of gown that will stand the test of time. Not all gowns do. Any bride across the world will want to wear it. It’s got a touch of vintage, a classic 1950s ball gown, so timeless that her daughter would look gorgeous in this gown 30 years from now.”
Kate’s Reception Dress:
So, for all of the fervor I have about Kate’s wedding dress, her reception dress was just okay. It wasn’t terrible, I just didn’t like the fur bolero, I don’t think. I never saw the full effect of that gown, which was strapless and also designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen. She let her hair down – literally – for the reception at Buckingham Palace, and her makeup was still flawless; the dress had a circle skirt and diamante detailing. Maybe it’s just me, but I really don’t like detailing that highlights the waist. I never have. I don’t know if Kate ever took off the shrug or not, but that might have changed my entire feeling about the look.
Meghan’s Wedding Dress:
When I caught the first glimpse of Meghan’s dress when she was in the car, I got so excited. It was boatneck! Meghan had been dropping copious hints during the leadup to the wedding that she loved a boatneck look – it had actually become her signature style almost. Her veil, tiara, hair, makeup, and neckline looked stunning.
And then she got out of the car at St. George’s Chapel.
I don’t really know what I was expecting. First of all, Kate is a damn tough act to follow. I just remember feeling – underwhelmed. I loved the neckline, but the dress just seemed gigantic on her, like she had skipped her last few fittings. My mom and I speculated that all of the pressure had likely caused her to lose weight, and the dress just didn’t look very form-fitting or tailored. It was just kind of – well, it was just kind of boring.
No one knew it was Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy. Everyone was off on the predictions. I even heard a prediction that David and Elizabeth Emanuel, the team who designed Diana’s absolutely freaking hideous wedding dress, had done it. For sentimentality, I thought that was adorable, but God, I hoped it wasn’t true after Diana’s ugly as sin itself dress. Meghan, marrying the spare, had more freedom in her fashion choices and went with a French fashion house. The more I learn about Meghan, the more I realize how much she loves French culture. She has said that in every look, she always likes to leave at least one part of it messy, a la the French devil may care style. Everyone was predicting she would either go British, American, or even Canadian (she filmed her TV show Suits in Toronto and had a special connection to the country), but, as she has done ever since, she threw us for a loop. However, though Givenchy is a French fashion house, Clare Waight Keller is British, and Meghan later said she wanted to celebrate British female talent.
I will say, the dress has grown on me over time. I just wish it was more fitted and less minimalistic. It was silk, with a boatneck and three-quarter length sleeves and no lace or any other embellishments. A piece of the blue dress from Meghan’s first date with Harry was stitched into the veil for her something blue, which is so freaking adorable. Remind me to wear a blue dress on all future first dates I have with princes, k? I’d like to replicate that detail.
Maybe the coolest part of the whole ensemble was her 16-foot veil, hand-embroidered with 55 flowers on its hem representing the 53 countries of the British Commonwealth, the California poppy in homage to Meghan’s home state of California, and wintersweet, a flower that grows at Kensington Palace. The veil actually took longer to complete than the dress itself, and the embroiderers had to wash their hands every 30 minutes to keep the veil flawless.
Here’s some fast facts I didn’t know until I did a little deeper research:
· She wore a diamond bandeau tiara from 1932, which was originally Queen Mary’s but is now in the Queen’s collection. The prominent center brooch has interlaced opals and diamonds.
· Her hair was up, her makeup was done by a Dior makeup artist, and her shoes were also from Givenchy.
· She wore white gold and diamond earrings and a bracelet from Cartier, and her bouquet includes forget-me-nots (Diana’s favorite flower, which Meghan also put as the backdrop for her Mother’s Day photo a few days ago showing Archie’s little feet), scented sweet peas, lily of the valley, astilbe, jasmine, astrantia, and myrtle. Harry chose all of the flowers for the bouquet.
· Her something old was sprigs of myrtle taken from a plant grown from the myrtle used in the Queen’s wedding bouquet and a piece of fabric from Diana’s wedding gown; her something new was her gown and veil; her something borrowed was the Queen’s tiara; and her something blue was the fabric from her blue dress from their first date sewn into the veil, which is so Meghan and thoughtful. Ugh. Love.
Meghan’s Reception Dress:
Va va voom. Meghan killed it in her reception dress. Unlike Kate, she didn’t wear a shrug and let those toned arms speak for themselves. This dress epitomizes sex appeal. It was Stella McCartney – there’s the British nod – and was halter and open back. Stun-NING. I can remember her walking to get in the car with Harry to head off to Frogmore House, where the reception was and, coincidentally or not (I’m not sure) where they now live, and thinking there’s my girl. She redeemed herself with it. Although maybe what I loved most was not her sex appeal or the dress but the centerpiece of the whole look – an emerald-cut aquamarine ring from Diana’s collection, which she made sure to show off as she waved all the way to the reception.
All told, four beautiful dresses by three talented female designers with British roots. What do you think of the dresses and which ones are your favorites? This blog is interactive – leave me a comment below and tell me what you think.
Until Beatrice’s wedding, I suppose…