April 29, 2011— -- At last, the moment the world has been waiting for: Kate Middleton revealed her wedding dress, a long-sleeved lace and ivory satin design by Sarah Burton, the creative director for the late Alexander McQueen.
Looking both modern and traditional, Middleton recalled another commoner who became royalty, actress Grace Kelly, who married Rainier III, the Prince of Monaco, and became The Princess of Monaco.
Designer Mark Badgley, who watched the wedding from his Long Island home with partner James Mischka called the dress a "classic Grace Kelly gown that appeals to modern brides."
"We thought it was perfection," Badgley told ABCNews.com. "It's that kind of gown that's going to stand the test of time."
Tim Gunn of "Project Runway" agreed that Middleton's dress recalled Grace Kelly's. "I find that to be a great compliment," Gunn told ABC News. "While there's similarities in the dresses ... I find the neckline (of Middleton's dress) to be very modern, very much of today."
Kimberly Lee Minor, the chief fashion strategist for bridal line Priscilla of Boston, echoed Gunn and Badgley, calling Middleton's gown a "modern take on Grace Kelly's dress."
"They have so many other similarities," Minor told ABCNews.com. "Grace was a commoner and became a princess. They both had their own career. They are both beautiful people and aspirational to many. And their sense of style clearly."
Minor said Middleton stayed true to herself. "She looked like Kate and a modern interpretation of a princess," she said. "She stayed appropriate but true too her womanhood and who she is as a modern woman."
Badgley, of the bridal line Badgley Mischka, agreed that Middleton seemed to have "struck the balance" between looking young and modern and wearing something suitable for the formal Westminster Abbey.
"Often times you can see that kind of gown with a closed-up jeweled neck," he said. "That would have been stuffy. It was nice that there was the tiniest touch of decolletage. It made it more modern, more sexy."
Middleton paired the dress with a tiara made by Cartier and loaned to her by Queen Elizabeth II. The 'halo' tiara was purchased by The Duke of York (later King George VI) for his Duchess (later Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother) three weeks before he succeeded his brother as King. The tiara was presented to Princess Elizabeth (now The Queen) by her mother on the occasion of her 18th birthday.
The tiara held in place a short veil, which Middleton wore covering her face.
Badgley called them the "perfect touch."
"We love that she wore her hair down," he said. "We love a glamorous bride."
Gunn called the dress "ravishing."
"She is not disappointing," Gunn said. The dress in my view is beyond anyone's imagination. Kate could not look more princessly or queenly."
In the hours leading up to the wedding, clues pointed to Burton. A woman wearing accessories favored by Burton -- a distinctive studded leather belt doubled through the belt loops of her jeans and ballet pumps -- was seen Thursday going into the Goring Hotel, the Middleton family headquarters, according to the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph.
The woman hid her hair and face under a fur "trapper" hat in an attempt to hide her identity from the swarms of photographers and television crews.
After finally revealing her identity, Burton gave a statement to The Guardian newspaper.
"It has been the experience of a lifetime to work with Catherine Middleton to create her wedding dress, and I have enjoyed every moment of it," she said. "I am delighted that the dress represents the best of British craftsmanship. Catherine looked absolutely stunning today, and the team at Alexander McQueen are very proud of what we have created."
Last month, the 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 Kate's interest in fashion. Signature McQueen looks included billowy dresses cut in hourglass silhouettes, frock coats paired with skinny pants, sharp, angular suiting, and darkly romantic gowns covered in intricate embroidery and lace.
Famous clients include Sarah Jessica Parker, Cate Blanchett, Kate Moss and Michelle Obama, who wore the so-called "Poppy" dress for a state dinner.