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Top Bridal Designers Sketch Wedding Gowns for Kate Middleton

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Courtesy Monique Lhuillier; Courtesy Ralph&Russo

When it comes to Kate Middleton’s wedding gown plans, fashion insiders from Savile Row to Seventh Avenue are abuzz with predictions—and opinions. “Any designer would love to design for a royal wedding,” Elizabeth Emanuel, co-creator of Princess Diana’s 1981 gown, told UK newspaper the
Daily Mail
. Adds London designer Suzanne Neville: “I would hope that she keeps British.” Alas, it would seem that the weight of the fashion world rests on Kate’s slim, likely-to-be-lace-covered shoulders. And while names from the obvious (her favorite designer, Daniella Issa Helayel) to the more obscure (English designer Phillipa Lepley) have been tossed around, it’s still anybody’s guess who will design the gown of the century. But that hasn’t stopped designers from speculating—or sketching. “I think she will be covered, but in a modern way,” says American designer Monique Lhuillier, whose Kate-inspired gown includes organza flowers on the shoulders and a grand skirt. “When I think of the royal family, it is important to keep the style of the gown classic, regal, opulent—and subtle.”
SEE ALL THE SKETCHES IN DESIGNERS IMAGINE KATE MIDDLETON’S WEDDING GOWN!

UK designer Ben de Lisi, a frequent Oscars choice for Kate Winslet, designed a gown to suit Middleton’s “long, pure, lean figure,” describing his vision as “young, fresh, modern and understatedly grand.” The common thread throughout every design? Chic restraint. “London girls…tend to be a little more classic and not show off their bodies so much,” says Neville. “Kate has that ‘London look.’ I don’t think she likes to be on display too much.” And while she may be wearing Diana’s engagement ring, her dress will be a departure, experts predict: “Diana’s was all frill and flounce,” Emanuel told the Daily Mail. “I imagine Kate will steer well clear of a big, bouffant dress.” Either way, it’s still going to be huge. –Suzanne Zuckerman; reporting by Monique Jessen, Kristen Mascia and Simon Perry

SEE PHOTOS IN WILLIAM & KATE: A ROYAL ENGAGEMENT

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