Catherine Middleton’s wedding dress is more than a pretty gown to get married in. The wedding is a union and beginning for the individuals and also the formal start of their official royal positions. This wedding dress sets the tone for The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s royal roles and future rein.
The underlying message of any outfit can be “decoded” by analyzing the elements – style, color, and fabric.
Style – The dress is modest, reserved, elegant, and retro in style. It reflects the fashion of the 1940s – 1950s, and also speaks to the values of that time. This also happens to be the period of Queen Elizabeth’s wedding. It’s the counter to Princess Diana’s elaborate, showy, complicated gown of the 1980s.
Catherine’s dress showed respect for tradition. Catherine’s veil covered her face and reinforced the traditional message. The whole look signaled the couple’s embrace of a simpler time, a time when royalty behaved like the Queen – regally, honorably and respectfully in public. It says we are not going to continue the public display of dirty laundry of Charles, Diana, Camilla and Sarah Ferguson.
Color – Catherine chose the color ivory for her dress. Ivory is classic, aged, soft and warm. It doesn’t scream for attention the way white does. William and Catherine plan to live outside the spotlight. At 28, Catherine is older than past royal brides and has had more time to come to terms with the expectations and restrictions of her new role. Ivory expresses Catherine’s maturity, respect for tradition, and preference to be in the background.
Fabric – The fabrics used in the wedding gown were classic wedding fabrics – silk satin, French and English lace, and silk tulle. The intricate lace veil was hand-crafted at London’s Royal School of Needlework and much of the lace on the gown was made in Derbyshire. The fabrics reinforce the traditional message and also demonstrate a respect and appreciation for traditional English crafts.
Every element of the wedding look reinforces the message of traditional, reserved royalty. Catherine Middleton’s wedding dress says “I respect tradition, my country, and my royal duties.”
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