Ah yes…the Royal wedding dress. Such a vision, all in fitted white lace with a corseted waist and a train that is……..ZZzzzzzzz.
Oh! Oh, sorry. I fell asleep there for a moment. That dress has that effect on me, you see.
Don’t get me wrong. I liked the dress, and I like it still. Like. But do I think it is the iconic couture masterpiece that everyone was making it out to be? No, I do not. A fitted bodice dress with sleeves and lace and a long train for a formal church wedding. It’s just not all that fashion-forward. But then, knowing what we know now…rather fitting as well.
Be that as it may, a new and interesting development has emerged surrounding Creative Director of Alexander McQueen and erstwhile designer of the dress, Sarah Burton. Apparently Burton is being sued by a woman named Christine Kendall who is claiming to have actually designed the dress. Apparently Kendall sent some sketches to the Duchess of Cambridge before her wedding in a bid to secure the coveted position of Royal Dress Designer. Us Weekly covered the story recently.
Christine Kendall, a designer based in Hertfordshire, England, is claiming that Sarah Burton, the creative director at fashion house Alexander McQueen, used her ideas for Kate Middleton’s royal wedding dress. As reported by The Sunday Times, Kendall says that she sent her sketches to the Duchess of Cambridge, 34, ahead of her 2011 nuptials to Prince William. The designer believes that without her sketches, Middleton’s instantly iconic wedding dress would not have looked the way it did.
A representative at McQueen, however, says the company is “utterly baffled” by the allegations. Christine Kendall first approached Alexander McQueen almost four years ago, and they were clear with her that any suggestion Sarah Burton’s design of the royal wedding dress was copied from her designs was nonsense.
Not having access to Ms Kendall’s sketches, we cannot determine for ourselves whether or not Burtons dress was derivative in any way, but I’m guessing that MS Kendall is way off the mark here. Why do I think that?
Because of this.
Sarah Burton didn’t copy Christine Kendall’s wedding dress design, because she copied Grace Kelly’s wedding dress that was designed by Helen Rose. That’s how I know.
Look, the dress is lovely, certainly it is, but this dress is derivative in a big way. The biggest way, really. It is a dress that was designed to make people think of another dress and another bride who have solidly cemented their place among the Iconic Royals of Fashion, of which there are startlingly few. And the thing of it is, I actually like the Helen Rose version better. Grace Kelly’s wedding dress has more motion to it. The taffeta, tulip-shaped ball skirt is not only spot-on for the decade, it creates a less wispy silhouette. While you think it would be such a small thing, Kate’s skirt, when yo hold it up against Grace Kelly’s for comparison, has a kind of insipid quality to it – less body, less form, less…life about it.
So too with the neckline and bodice designs. While Grace Kelly’s dress has design details that lift the eyes up, Duchess Kate’s all drag the eye down. For instance, the wide cummerbund coming off of the ball skirt of Grace Kelly’s dress is perfectly balanced by the high neckline and slim sleeves. Everything is covered, yet you see the silhouette of the body. The eye is drawn naturally upward, towards Grace Kelly’s flawless face .
Duchess Kate, by comparison, has a plunging neckline, her (overly) long hair down, and a skirt with less volume that draws the eye towards the floor.
But I digress. Buy point is, if you’re going to cast accusations about who copied who, I think it’s important to consider the source.
As you would expect, the good people at Alexander McQueen have flat-out denied any design plagiarism or any other kind of association with Christine Kendall. however, the Kendall camp think otherwise, and Kendall’s lawyer gave Us Weekly a few sound bytes to back-up their stance.
Proceedings have been issued because our client is certain that her company’s design was unfairly taken and copied. This claim is not against the Duchess and there is no allegation of wrongdoing against the palace.