Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress on display

Curator Caroline de Guitaut explains the design of the dress

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The Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress, designed by Alexander McQueen's Sarah Burton, is to go on display at Buckingham Palace on Saturday.

The dress will be in the palace's ballroom from 23 July to 3 October during its annual summer opening.

Curator Caroline de Guitaut said it was "very fitting" the exhibition was where the royal wedding reception took place.

Ms Burton said Kate had wanted a dress with "presence and of historical importance" with a contemporary feel.

The designer, whose identity was a closely guarded secret until the duchess's marriage to Prince William on 29 April, has rarely spoken about the dress.

In a film of Ms Burton, which will also be on display alongside the dress in Buckingham Palace, the designer said she had wanted the dress "to look to the past, yet look to the future as well".

Images showing the Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress as stepped out of Westminster Abbey The embroiderers washed their hands every 30 minutes to keep the lace pristine

"There were a lot of references to Victorian corsetry, the padded hip, the tiny cinched-in waist, and also to the arts and crafts movement with all of the hand-work on the lace of the dress and also the bustle inside to create the shape of the back of the dress.

"It has an essence of Victorian but we cut the dress in a very modern way. It is in a very light fabric. Also the pleats and the folds create a modern feel rather than a historical piece.

"I think what we wanted to achieve was something that was incredibly beautiful and intricately worked."

Ms Burton also described the dress - which includes six different types of lace - as a "real feat of engineering".

Ms de Guitaut said she thinks visitors will be surprised by "how much detail and how much work" went into the creation of the dress.

The dress in detail

Duchess of Cambridge
  • 1. The 1936 Cartier "halo" tiara was lent to the bride by the Queen
  • 2. The veil is made of layers of soft, ivory silk tulle with a trim of hand-embroidered flowers
  • 3. The bodice, narrowed at the waist and padded at the hips, is a hallmark of McQueen's designs
  • 4. For the dress, individual flowers were hand-cut from lace and sewn onto ivory silk tulle
  • 5. The train measures 2m 70cm
  • 6. The shoes (hidden), made of satin with hand-embroidered lace, were also Alexander McQueen

"The beauty really is in the detail," she said.

The duchess's bridal gown featured lace applique floral detail - which was hand-made by embroiderers at the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court Palace - and was made of ivory and white satin gazar.

The dress has a series of lace motifs including a rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock to represent England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Each motif, some as small as a five pence piece, was applied with minute stitches every two to three millimetres.

The duchess's veil, tiara, Alexander McQueen bridal shoes and diamond earrings will also form part of the display.

Her veil, which was made of layers of soft, ivory silk tulle with a trim of hand-embroidered flowers, was also embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework.

The 1936 Cartier "halo" tiara was lent to the bride by the Queen, while Kate's diamond earrings were commissioned by the Middleton family as a personal gift to the bride from her parents.

William and Kate's multi-tiered wedding cake, created by cake designer Fiona Cairns, will be recreated and shown in the state dining room to complement the wedding dress exhibition.

Ms Cairns said the cake, which was covered in cream and white icing and decorated with up to 900 delicate sugar-paste flowers, was a "very rich, dark traditional fruitcake".

Meanwhile it has emerged that the royal couple kept the top two tiers of their eight-tiered wedding cake - a tradition usually undertaken by couples who plan to serve the cake at the christening of their first born.

Ms Burton joined Alexander McQueen's studio in 1996 as an intern, working alongside him on his collections for 12 years, before he took his own life in February 2010.

She was named creative director of the Alexander McQueen label the following May.

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