Photo Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Ivory and white, lacy long-sleeves and a deep v-neck: the biggest royal wedding secret -- Kate Middleton's gown -- is finally out, and revealed the bride as a gorgeous vision from head to toe.
The dress, designed by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen -- as was rumored -- was handmade using ivory and white satin gazar. The fitted satin bodice narrowed at the waist, was padded at the hips, and appliqued with handmade lace using a technique known as "carrickmacross," which originated in Ireland in the 1820s.
The bodice also featured individual lace flowers appliqued onto ivory silk tulle to create a design mixing the shapes of roses, thistle, daffodils and shamrock. English lace and French Chantilly lace was used on the bodice and skirt, and for the underskirt trim. The back featured 58 gazar- and organza-covered buttons.
The skirt was made to resemble an opening flower, with white satin gazar arches and pleats, and featured a train of about 8-feet long.
Numerous designers for Middleton's dress had been bandied about, but Burton -- who also made the wedding gown for the wife of Tom Parker Bowles, the son of Prince Charles wife, Camilla -- ultimately won the coveted honor.
Middleton, now dubbed Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge, wore her hair half-up in long, wavy curls and her makeup looked perfect, all the more impressive considering she did it herself after several lessons with Arabella Preston, a London makeup artist.
Middleton's veil was made of layers of ivory silk tulle with a trim of hand-embroidered flowers and held in place by a Cartier "halo" tiara, made in 1936 and lent to her by her new grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.
As for jewelry, the new princess wore diamond earrings resembling oak leaves, with a pear-shaped diamond drop and a pavé diamond acorn suspended in the center. The design was inspired by the Middleton family's new coat of arms, which includes acorns and oak leaves. The earrings, made to echo the tiara, were a gift from the Middeltons.
Reviews for Princess Kate's look were mostly positive. "The dress is classic and goes very well in the Westminster decor," designer Karl Lagerfeld said. "It almost reminds me of (Queen) Elizabeth's wedding, the royal weddings in the (19)50s. The proportion of the train is good. The lace is very pretty. I like the veil a lot."
Designer Donatella Versace also weighed in, saying, "Kate's dress was beautiful. She looked very regal."