And so we have ourselves a new style icon. On Friday Catherine Middleton became a princess, walking through the doors of Westminister Abbey not just into royal history, but sartorial history too – whether she likes it or not, and whether the international fashion police like what she wore or not. Not that she has much choice in the matter. When you are a public figure, especially a female public figure, you are judged on what you wear.
We all know now that Alexander McQueen’s fortune has been made thanks to the fact their designer, Sarah Burton, was chosen to create the royal wedding dress, but the buck doesn’t stop there. Indeed, there are a number of other brands and sectors that will benefit from having a product in the royal wedding. Starting with:
1. Cartier: the French brand made the tiara that was the subject of much will-she-or-won’t-she speculation pre-wedding, conventional wisdom dictating that a jewelled headpiece would be too old-fashioned an option for the new-fangled bride. Well, lo! She went with tradition, borrowing the “halo” tiara made in 1936 and bought by The Duke of York (later King George VI) for his wife (later Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother), who then gave it to The Queen for her 18th birthday. Expect a tiara resurgence, and a Cartier spotlight. Read more
Since this is a royal wedding, every little bit of the royal wedding dress actually has symbolic meaning, and roots in different parts of British industry. Read more
So the answer is in: Sarah Burton did indeed make Kate Middleton’s wedding dress. A major British brand for a new British royal.
Well, Prince William fooled us all. For weeks, while speculation has roared around his bride, everyone said with great certainty he would wear a RAF uniform by Gieves & Hawkes. But he just appeared in…the red uniform of a Colonel in the Irish Guards. Read more
Royal Wedding Day minus 1 and slowly the sartorial chips are falling into place. Read more
Lately I can’t seem to escape stories in which various clothing manufacturers brag – publicly, with names – about how fast they are going to rip off the royal wedding dress as soon as Kate Middelton takes her first steps down the aisle at Westminister Abbery, and they can actually tell what she is wearing. But why is this so celebrated/accepted?
I had an interesting lunch the other day with Jason Wu, a young Taiwanese-American designer in the uptown mode who shot to fame in 2009 when he designed the one-shouldered white gown Michelle Obama wore to the Presidential inaugural balls. Anyway, Mr Wu had some interesting observations about the experience, and advice for whomever ends up designing Catherine Middleton’s dress.
Today may be Easter Monday, but it is also – zing! – RWD minus four (aka Royal Wedding Day, for those who aren’t up on their acronyms), so we will finally wade into the royal wedding dress fray, and take a moment to wash the Augean stables of gossip clean – or at least cast a calm look at the odds of the various designer names floating about. Read more
When the celebrity hair mogul Vidal Sassoon – or, to be entirely accurate, when the celebrity hair mogul Vidal Sassoon’s people – told me he wanted to have lunch at the Monkey Bar in Manhattan, my cynical self leapt to certain conclusions: that, for example, Sassoon had chosen this restaurant because of its fame as a people-watching schmooze fest, thanks to owner Graydon Carter, aka editor of Vanity Fair magazine and the host of a mega Oscars party, who presides over meals from a banquette; that Sassoon would take a walkabout as he entered, past regulars such as author Fran Lebowitz and TV anchor Charlie Rose, meeting and greeting. In conclusion, that the whole point of choosing this place was to demonstrate, in the short space between hostess and table, the extent to which Sassoon has transcended shampoo to become a celebrity.