At the start of the week it was reported that Buckingham Palace has seen a record breaking number of visitors for this year's summer opening. More than 354,000 people have filed passed the Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress since the Palace opened its doors back in July, and thousands more are still expected to view the Sarah Burton creation before the exhibition closes in three weeks time on 3rd October. A spokesperson for the Royal Collection told the Daily Express: 'This year has been our highest year to date. The wedding dress has proved very popular.' The prospect of seeing the exquisite lacework up close certainly gave me the final nudge to visit.
On entering the ballroom there is an opportunity to watch a video of Sarah Burton describing the design process as well as the skilled craftsmanship which went into the production of the dress.
To attach the lace panels to the silk gazar, stitches had to be no more than 2-3mm apart and needles changed every three hours when they had become too blunt to perform the intricate task. The train itself has been weighted so the skirt retains its shape, and up close you can really appreciate how each fold resembles a petal of an opening flower.
Despite being inspired by the Arts & Crafts movement and drawing on traditions of Victorian corsetry, it was important for the dress to give a nod to modernity and not become an historical costume. In my opinion the dress is a complete triumph; it is grand whilst modest, high fashion yet traditional and wearable. Not only does the design remain true to the House of McQueen, but also succeeds in reflecting Kate's personal style whilst living up to our expectations of what a royal wedding dress should be.
From the dress to the shoes, bouquet and cake, the whole exhibition is a tribute to great British design and craftsmanship. There is still time to visit, and I would highly recommend it.