Royal Wedding: What Will Kate Middleton Wear?

Speculation about what Prince William's bride will wear reaches a fever pitch.

April 28, 2011, 8:24 AM

April 28, 2011— -- Ahead of Prince William and Kate Middleton's big day, one major question remains:

What will she wear?

Millions of people will watch Middleton walk down the aisle of Westminster Abbey Friday morning. Still, what she'll be clad in remains a mystery, a subject of speculation that has had the fashion world scratching its collective head for months.

All will be revealed at 6 a.m. ET when the designer's name, along with photographs and sketches of Middleton's gown, will be posted on the official royal wedding website.

Till then, the dress is reportedly being kept in a vault, and only Middleton, her lady-in-waiting and the designer have seen it.

About the only certainty about the dress right now is that it will be made by a British designer.

Many media outlets have speculated that the dress will be a creation of Sarah Burton's, the designer for the late Alexander McQueen. She was considered McQueen's right-hand prior to his 2010 death and was head of design for the label's women's wear since 2000.

The Daily Telegraph reported that Middleton chose Burton "for the discretion afforded by her relatively low profile, as well as for her alternative take on elegance." Burton's work is said to have "caught Middleton's eye" when she designed an off-the-shoulder wedding dress for Sara Buys, a fashion journalist who in 2005 married Tom Parker Bowles, Camilla's son. Buys is reportedly friendly with Middleton.

Considered one of Britain's edgiest labels, a McQueen dress would be in line with Middleton's interest in fashion. On the other hand, that interest in fashion lends credence to the Daily Mail's report that Middleton designed the dress herself.

Middleton has long been interested in fashion and design. She worked for the British apparel chain Jigsaw as an accessories buyer after graduating from St. Andrews University, where she studied art history. It was at St. Andrews where she modeled in a student fashion show and reportedly caught Prince William's eye in a see-through dress.

Whether Middleton designed her wedding dress herself, odds are it will leave much more to the imagination. Soon after the royal engagement was announced, Women's Wear Daily asked top designers to sketch their visions for Middleton's fairy tale dress.

PHOTOS: Designers Imagine Kate Middleton's Dress.

Chanel's Karl Lagerfeld suggested a "Victorian wedding dress with a twist" for the fashion-forward Middleton.

Brit Elizabeth Emanuel, who designed Lady Diana Spencer's wedding gown, sketched a look for the princess-to-be. "It's entirely different from the Diana dress I designed, which was very much of the '80s," Emanuel told Women's Wear Daily. "But it's still fitting for a royal occasion. It's a much more modern dress, but romantic and out of the ordinary."

Jason Wu, who designed Michelle Obama's one-shoulder white gown for the first dance with the president at the inaugural ball, said he loved "the idea of mixing traditional opulence with a very clean aesthetic" for Middleton's big day.

Designer Monique Lhuillier also created a mix of "traditional and contemporary."

Valentino's Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli designed a whimsical, "blossoming" dress for Middleton, fit for a princess.

Vera Wang designed a gown with intricate flowered lacework on the bodice and veil.

What Shoes Will Kate Middleton Wear?

French fashion designer Christian Lacroix styled Middleton with Victorian flair. Lacroix summed up his design: "Something old: Victorian skirt. Something new: patchwork gown. Something borrowed: Queen Elizabeth's veil. Something red: Elizabethan top, as red was the wedding color until 1900."

In addition to the dress, there has been widespread speculation about the shoes that Middleton will wear. The Huffington Post reported that the bride-to-be commissioned four pairs of shoes for her wedding day, each with different heel heights. The lowest will be used to walk down the aisle at Westminster Abbey and are expected to be covered with multiple layers of silk and embroidery.

Middleton will reportedly change out of those shoes and into more festive heels for Friday afternoon and evening events, where she will perhaps, to the delight of the fashion-loving masses, debut a party-ready dress or two, too.

It also remains to be seen what Middleton will do with her veil. As a "commoner," she is not required to cover her face the way a royal bride would be.

The tiara glittery headpiece will complete the ensemble. Queen Elizabeth II, the groom's grandmother, reportedly laid out a selection of royal jewels for Middleton to choose from.

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