On any average day, a wedding is a great spectator sport; we eagerly wait to see, to judge and to comment. Now add in a mere two billion of those spectators and the royal family and you have got your self one hell of show.

On Friday the 29th April 2011, Prince William and Catherine (kate) Middleton tied the knot at Westminster Abbey, London. The day was passed off without a hitch and executed like a military operation (and with a reported 200 snipers hiding out on the roof of the Abbey for security it could easily have been confused for one). The ceremony itself was beautiful, the abbey lined with a red carpet and covered in floral decorations and trees, a true fairytale. What’s more important though, and what got most of us talking, was the fashion. The best and unfortunately the worst of were out in force showing off their glad rags.

The successes:

Princess Beatrice.

Now as fifth in line to the thrown, Princess Bea is always under a lot of scrutiny, and the Royal Wedding was no exception. Her outfit caused uproar, namely her hat. She wore a stunning Valentino Couture knee length dress and jacket in dusty pink, which worked wonders in showing off her fabulous figure. The obvious part of the ensemble that caused a great deal of mockery was her hat. Created by world-renowned milliner Philip Treacy, the matching coloured hat brought to mind images of antlers and octopuses. I must say, and don’t shoot me for it, I actually like the hat. I think it is superbly creative, fun and masterfully crafted. However I do agree that it was inappropriate for the day.  It was too low on her face, matched with her flame coloured hair, and tanned skin and heavy eye makeup, it just left a gaping black shadow where her eyes should have been. Most important is to remember it is against etiquette to wear something that could be outlandish and distracting of the bride.

Victoria and David Beckham.

This pair of stunners were one of my favourite sights of the day. They both looked incredible. David looked as dapper as always in a luxurious Ralph Lauren Purple label suit with (apparently custom made) matching hat by Phillip Treacy.  David did however make one mistake, he chose to wear his MBE medal on the day but unfortunately placed it on the wrong lapel. But never fear, clearly someone mentioned this as by the time the ceremony started it had made a quick shift to the left lapel.

Victoria was looking as impeccable as ever. This lady is truly becoming a powerhouse in the fashion world.  She wore, of course, a dress from her own label Victoria Beckham.  The woman is currently 7 months into her 4th pregnancy but still managed to dominate the crowd.  Hey gravity defying Christian Louboutin heels scraped the edges if dominatrix.  The navy blue boat neck tunic dress had a flowing back to allow her and the little one room to breathe (I think many other pregnant stars could take a lesson here on how to dress with bump). Her fabulous hat was yet again design by the master Phillip Treacy. The wedding became somewhat of a free showcase of his work. Her hair was in a slick back pony tail which all though very chic, did make her look that more severe, and considering all the dark shades, she could have been confused for a funeral attendee.

The Matriarchs

The mothers of the day (step-mother in Camilla’s case) definitely held their own, in albeit unadventurous but extremely successful attire, the trio of dresscoats were perfectly pitched. The brides mother Carole chose a beautiful sky blue number created by Catherine Walker with matching hat by Jane Corbett. Carole was one of my favourites of the day. She has come under a lot of fire over the years over the way she acts (the now infamous chewing gum incident) and is always under pressure of proving herself worthy of royal association. Well I think her whole presence on the day acted as a massive middle finger to those who doubted her. She was the picture of elegance, refinement and class. She chose the colour perfectly, the pastel shade was chic and soft and didn’t in anyway try to outshine the Queen in the battle of heads of the family.

The Queen stayed safe with her, now famous personal style of a one coloured dress coat. Her daffodil yellow dress coat was put with matching hat, both made by Angela Kelly and finished off with off white gloves and shoes and her mothers jewelry. Though my favourite part was the blue blanket she wore over her knees en route to the abbey, how cute.

Finally we come to Camilla, a woman who knows exactly what works for her and isn’t afraid to stick with it. Her beautifully crafted dress coat was created by Anna valentine, the same women who created her wedding dress, a dress which trigured a change in public perception of Camilla. The pastel blue and champagne  of the dress coat and Phillip Treacy hat worked wonders for her and she looked every part the royal.

The Men of the hour.

Prince William

Not many would have expectedto see Prince William in a scarlet red Irish Guards Mounted Officer’s uniform in the Guard of Honour Order, but I think he made an excellent choice! In February 2011, William was appointed to the honorary rank of Colonel of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards by the Queen. 

While some expected him to wear the more subdued Royal Air Force uniform, he obviously decided to wear the uniform of his senior honorary appointment in the Army – the tunic of the Irish Guards since it was his uniform with the “highest rank”. However, it must be mentioned that he decided to display the famous wings of the RAF on his light blue Garter Sash.

Traditionally, on ceremonial occasions the tunic of the Irish Guards is worn with a bearskin hat. However, Prince William went with a Forage Cap that had an eight-pointed Star of the Most Illustrious Order of St. Patrick insignia. Of course, he wore the obligatory white gloves with it. Although he had gold sword slings on his left, he did not wear a sword. In addition, he wore another sash in gold and crimson red since he was in the presence of at least one member of the Royal Family.

The tunic itself has this wonderful scarlet red tone, which is also known as the Guards’ Red, with typical buttons in in groups of four. Prince William’s trousers feature the traditional red stripe and are cut very narrowly, as you would expect from a military uniform. His shoes / boots were black, simple and very shiny. Surprisingly, he also wore some gold spurs, as you can see in the picture!

Prince Harry.

Prince William’s best man, his brother Prince Harry, wore a Blues and Royals officer’s uniform in Dismounted Review Order and a Forage Cap that carried the badge of the Blues and Royals, with inscriptions of the Most Noble Order of the Garter. Moreover, he did wear a gold waist belt with sword sling, just like his brother, without a sword. Instead, he had gold aiguillettes (ornamental braided cords), a cross-belt and he proudly carried the Wings of the Army Air Corps and Golden Jubilee and Afghanistan Campaign medals.

The red stripe on his trousers was even wider than the ones on William’s trousers. Of course, he also wore white gloves, black shiny shoes and gold spurs. Note the red piping along the edges of the coat. (source for uniform info -http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/royal-wedding-ceremony-uniform-clothes/ - by Sven Raphael Schneider)

My only issue with Harry’s ensemble was that it simply looked to big and was in danger of swallowing him up.

The less successful.

Now as fun as it is reveling in the beauty of those that pulled out all the stops and triumphed. It is somewhat more amusing to troll through the dregs of those who quite simply missed the mark altogether.

Princess Eugenie

Unfortunately the other York princess truly failed on the day. Eugenie’s over fussy over tight Vivienne Westwood number didn’t do her any favours. It was too garish and did nothing to show off the girl’s great silhouette.  As for the Phillip Treacy creation adorning her head; can you say pirate?

Tara Parlmer Tompkinson

Critics seem to be split down the middle with this one, it is both stunning, on trend and failing at the same time. The colour is electric and vibrant and the hat is creative and well made. But I think there is just too much of it, she looks like a smurf on acid, or coke in this case I suppose, she has taken the colour blocking trend too far and might as well be wearing a one piece gimp suit. I think removing the elbow length gloves would be a good start. This is one Treacy creation im not a fan of, especially considering that she tries to remove focus from her barely-there nose, and yet Treacy gives her a hat that point directly to it.

The Ladies of the Moment.

Pippa Middleton.

Now not to distract from the bride, but Pippa really did gain a huge following after the wedding. Within in hours there was a fansite on facebook about her derrière. She looked simply magnificent in her white/ivory satin based crepe with cowl front with coordinating detail and lace trim as the bride, her dress was also designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen.  Many thought the dress was too bridal and borderline light stealing from the bride but I think it was perfect. I LOVED that all the colours matches, and its simplicity made sure Pippa had her moment
without taking for her big sister.

As for Pippas second outfit of the day, she opted for a beautiful on trend emerald dress by Alice Temperley. The plunging neckline showed off more of her honey-toned complection and she looked radiant. Paired with silver cluth and her hair pulled back the daring change of colour put her in position to upstage the bride.

The Bride – The Duchess of Cambridge Catherine Middleton.

It was a moment everyone had been waiting for, after months of speculation on designers and looks, we finally glimpsed Catherine as she entered her royal carriage to head to the Abbey. Immediately everyone was commenting on the little they could see, the veil with lace detailing, the tiara on her head, the neckline and lace detailing onto the bodice.  The veil was made of ivory silk decorated with a hand embroidered floral trim, created, as was the rest of the lace work, by the Royal School of Needlework. The veil is held onto Catherine’s head by the beautiful ‘halo’ tiara, lent to her by The Queen.

Then the moment arrived, her car pulled up outside of the Abbey and out stepped the bride, looking a vision in ivory white. It was then confirmed that the dress had indeed been made by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, who was chosen apparently due to the admiration Catherine has for the craftsmanship and its traditional workshop methods of constructing clothes.

The main body of the dress was a corset with lace appliqué which was hand made.  The flowers were hand cut and then appliquéd onto the silk tulle to create a unique design.  This appliqué is used throughout the bodice and skirt as well as the underskirt trim.  The satin bodice narrows sharply at the waist and is padded at the hips, a trademark of McQueen design, which draws on Victorian corsetry. The train was over 2 meters long.

As for her second outfit for the evening reception, Catherine stuck with white, in another creation by Sarah Burton. The strapless white satin gown looked stunning, cinched in at the waist again this time with diamante embroidered waistband. She then covered her shoulders with an adorable white fluffy bolero.



Written by Neil Thornton
London-based coffee drinker. Editor by day, blogger by whatever time he finds spare.