LONDON--Brits love a good bet. Beyond standard sports and horse races, high-street betting chains like Ladbrokes and Paddy Power invite "punters" to wager on which will be the next volcano to erupt, which book will top Ireland’s bestseller charts, and now, who will design the royal wedding gown.
Now I’m no gambler--and I'm an American living in London, which means betting like this feels pretty, well...foreign to me. But when I saw the list of odds online, I shook my head and reached for my credit card.
I can justify the outlay: I work in fashion, and I’m familiar with the British bridal market. I also spent a decent part of Tuesday afternoon seeking designer comments on what Middleton should wear. The monarchy’s commitment to discretion suggests that only those who hold their tongues are likely to find themselves on a shortlist.
Factors that guided my wager were nationality, design signatures and reputation/prestige. National pride (this is a taxpayer-funded event, after all) means the designer will almost certainly be British--that cuts out bridal mavens like Vera Wang, Oscar de la Renta, Monique Lhuillier and Carolina Herrera.
Then there’s the matter of style. Middleton may love Issa, but the brand is best-known for easy-wearing classics, not bridal grandeur. Anyway, if you were Middleton and could wear silk jersey Issa dresses every day, would you really want to wear one to your wedding?
Propriety and convention decree that Middleton will be nudged to a modest, relatively traditional gown. A strapless dress seems out of the question considering the likely Church of England venue, and you can bet there’ll be a spectacular veil filling the grand aisle. To me, Jenny Packham seems too slinky and sparkly, and the corsetry and boob-hoik-uppery for which Vivienne Westwood is celebrated seems too structured for the slim future princess (I adore Westwood, but her anarcho-punk roots seem too subversive for the royal family anyway.)
So who will it be? Erdem--my absolute favorite and a darling of a man, but probably too young and fashionable for the monarchy. Amanda Wakeley? Possibly too mass-market. Bruce Oldfield? A brilliant choice, but somehow doesn’t feel likely.
My top pick is John Galliano. People always forget that the Dior designer is British, and that he has designed bridal gowns for Gwen Stefani and Sofia Coppola. The only British couturier (I think) would no doubt design a gown that would reinvent Middleton as a new Princess of Hearts. And at 33/1, it’s a hunch I feel good about following.
Then again, Middleton may surprise us all, and my other likely picks aren’t even on the odds roster…who do you think it’ll be?