And she wore her hair half-up half-down like I did. We both carried a dainty bouquet of small white flowers.
When I got married in November 2007 I thought it would be about a year and a half before the majority of brides stopped wearing strapless and started wearing long-sleeved lace designs. Years ago I worked in fashion forecasting and that's pretty much how long it takes for a bold shift in looks to take hold. But the strapless wedding gown kept going and going strong...until Friday.
Obviously Grace Kelly's 1956 gown, designed by Hollywood costume designer Helen Rose was the inspiration for both mine and Kate's. What's interesting is that we both changed the skirt. The bottom half of Kelly's dress was divine, but I felt it wouldn't suit me so I asked my dressmaker to add a slightly Edwardian style skirt based on a picture I'd found in a bridal magazine.
Sarah Burton and Kate decided on a fuller skirt shape with inverted pleats...and some phenomenally special Irish needlework completed under moonlight by Anne Boleyn's seamstresses in the sacred caverns of Hampton Court Palace.
I still prefer my skirt and believe it to match the spirit of the design, but Kate's was majestic and regal and hit the mark for such a momentous occasion.
Other major differences betwixt my gown and The Duchess's:
- Neckline: mine was buttoned up, not open V
- Waist: mine was cumberbun ruched
- Shade: mine was all ivory, not white and ivory
- Veil: mine had a more orthodox richness like Kelly's except I wore my hair down at the back, not worn with a crown
- Cost: my gown cost $1,469 (or £705 - converted using Nov '07 rates) and was made by Carolyn Humphrey of Oklahoma City for little ole me, not untold cost and made by Sarah Burton, creative director at McQUEEN for the future Queen of England
Also on Kate's gown there was some bombdiggity bustle action, a kind of structured coattail which on closer inspection must have been part of the skirt. But it was the only bit on her gown, to me, that looked properly McQUEEN. Sculpted, a tad avant guard and sexy-fierce.
I know I'm a bit of a braggadouche for writing this post, but I just feel a bit left out or something with everybody going apeshit over this dress because despite the differences mentioned and not mentioned above, when I first saw Kate and her father drive past us in Horse Guards Parade on Friday and even now studying the official photos, I see my dress.
THE DRESS hullabalou is also interesting because to me it's quite a Catholic design. For several years before I even got engaged I knew I wanted Grace Kelly's gown. It was this picture that sparked it.
I was just as irritatingly clandestine as Kate about my dress design ahead of our big day. Nobody outside my mother, father, sister, best friend and the dressmaker knew what it was like, even remotely.
One week before my wedding I showed my dear friend Sarah Bell, who in her very honest unhurtful way took one look at it on the hanger and said it was 'unique' or interesting or something like that. That actually slightly scared me, in spite of how sure I was about it. What I'm saying is that it was different. A lot of guests loved my gown, but had never seen anything like it - and astonishingly didn't make the clear connection to Grace Kelly's gown, which was genuinely unique. As opposed to mine which was a copy of it with a twist.
Mom: "As if to say, I'm not leaving you, I'm just going inside for a bit but I will not forget you."
And Mamma is never wrong about women.
Above: Our own photo of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge going past us in Horse Guards Parade, and my husband Ben and I in the euphoric throngs along The Mall last Friday, 29 April 2011
All photos of my wedding day were taken by
All my wedding flowers were arranged by
Paul Johnstone of WILDBUNCH in Richmond