London: Royal bride Kate Middleton's wedding dress was designed by Alexander McQueen's Sarah Burton, ending months of fevered speculation in the fashion world over who would create one of the most talked-about outfits of the decade. The dress featured a hand-made lace applique over an ivory-colored bodice and skirt, made of silk and satin.
The identity of the designer and details of the dress were kept a closely guarded secret by St James's Palace throughout the build-up to Middleton's wedding to Britain's Prince William.
A special marquee was erected outside the entrance to Middleton's London hotel to prevent anyone getting an early glimpse of the dress before she stepped out of her car outside the abbey.
Newspapers and websites around the world have run several "scoops" identifying the designer, but none were ever confirmed.
Names put forward in articles and blog postings have included Bruce Oldfield and Sophie Cranston of the Libelula label.
The fashion world has taken a close interest in 29-year-old Middleton's clothes choices in recent months, with industry insiders predicting that she could have a huge influence on high street sales.
Endless comparisons have been made between Middleton and William's late mother Princess Diana, a style icon by the time of her death in 1997 aged 36.
Middleton's dress differed radically from that of Diana at her wedding to Prince Charles in 1981, a frilly, flouncy cream number designed by Elizabeth Emanuel which reflected the times in which it appeared.
Before Friday's wedding, Emanuel told Reuters that Middleton was older and more assured in terms of fashion than the shy 20-year-old Diana, and so was likely to know better what she wanted for the big day.
"With Diana she was very young, when we were introduced to her and fashion was not one of her big interests so she didn't really have her own sense of style," Emanuel said.
"But Kate Middleton does. She's worked in fashion. She knows what suits her."