Sunday, May 1, 2011

Kate's wedding dress recreated in just five hours

Dressmaker putting final touches on a replica of the wedding dress worn by Kate
Barely five hours after Catherine Middleton began her drive to Westminster Abbey to marry Prince William, a family tailoring firm in London had put the final touches to a replica of her wedding dress.

The Alexander McQueen gown worn by the new Duchess of Cambridge was one of the highlights of the royal wedding and copies are expected to be made across the world.

But the bride may have been surprised at how fast the work began.

"As soon as she was in the car, we started to identify what the lace was like and try to find as close a copy as possible," said Raul Echeverria, the owner of Alterations Boutique in Marylebone.
When Catherine stepped out of the Rolls-Royce in front of the abbey a few minutes later, revealing the full Alexander McQueen gown of ivory satin and lace, the team went into overdrive.

"We looked at the pictures on the television screen and once we identified what fabric we required, then we went to our suppliers and tried to match the fabrics," Mr Echeverria said.

His team ordered 10 metres of lining, 10 metres of tulle for the veil, 10 metres of netting, 15 metres of satin and four metres of lace, at a cost approaching $1,700.

"At the same time our designers were creating a pattern for the dress, and we put it all together. It took us about five hours to complete the project," Mr Echeverria said.

The dress was commissioned by The Times newspaper, and will be offered to a reader in a competition.

But the boutique, which Mr Echeverria's mother Maria Blazquez founded 30 years ago, has already been asked to make more.

"We have had enquiries already regarding the dress," the 34-year-old owner said.

He said he would have to talk to his lawyer before making any more replicas "to be sure I'm not breaking any copyright rules".

"It wasn't about making money, it was about the skills and proving that anything can be done. It was a fantastic challenge," he said.

Mr Echeverria is not the only one to get in on the act - replicas of Catherine's dress are expected to hit the high street as early as next week.

When Diana married Prince Charles in 1981, copies of her dress were in the shops within hours, while Elizabeth Emanuel, who designed the fairytale gown with huge puff sleeves and a 7.6-metre train, is still asked to make reproductions.

In Marylebone, three people worked on different aspects of the garment at the same time, including hand-stitching the lace bodice which covered Catherine's arms and was pulled down to the waist to create an elegant V-neckline.

Given the time constraints, the team could not match the lace exactly - on Catherine's dress, experts cut out hundreds of delicate lace flowers and sewed them onto ivory silk tulle to create a unique design.

Mr Echeverria's team used a ready-made lace, although he said they would return to this aspect of the dress in the coming days to try to get a closer match - providing, of course, the lawyers approve.
© Copyright (c) AFP

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