Now that Prince Wills has popped the question to his longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton (and we've seen the ring), the question on everyone's mind is: what will she wear?
We came up with some fantastical suggestions for Kate--from Erdem to Marchesa to J. Crew--but Middleton will more than likely go with a British bridal designer who reflects her personal style which is clean, simple and safe. Which means, sadly, McQueen and Westwood are probably out of the running. Since news broke yesterday of the royal engagement, a few designer names have been singled out by the British press (including British Vogue and Hilary Alexander at the Telegraph) as front runners: Amanda Wakeley, Daniella "Issa" Helayel and Bruce Oldfield. Other names thrown into the mix are Stewart Parvin, who has a royal warrant, Jenny Packham, and Phillipa Lepley, whom Alexander describes as "Sloaney" (American translation: WASPy, preppy, girly, Upper East Side-y).
Hilariously, online betting site Paddy Power has even set up "Royal Wedding Dress Designer Betting," creating odds on which designer has the best shot of getting the coveted job. According to the site, Amanda Wakeley and Daniella Halayel are the favorites to design Kate's wedding dress at 9/2. They've also placed Elizabeth Emanuel, who designed Princess Diana's dress with her former husband David, at 5/1 odds, and Vivienne Westwood at 6/1 odds so maybe there is hope for Dame Westwood.
A little bit more about the front runners and their designs.
Amanda Wakeley The British designer was a favorite of Princess Diana's. Her designs are sexy and glamorous and tend towards clean lines and away from poof and froth.
Daniella Halayel Halayel is Brazilian but her line Issa is based out of London. Middleton is a huge fan of Issa and has been wearing the label for years. The navy blue cinched-waist silk jersey dress Middleton wore at yesterday's press conference with her fiance was a Halayel creation (that dress has since sold out on several ecommerce sites). That's a strong endorsement. She's known for using bold colors and her draped form-fitting dresses but insiders are saying that she should not be discounted. When asked if she had gotten the commission, a publicist for Issa told the Telegraph, "I can't comment...nothing has been decided."
Bruce Oldfield Oldfield has experience dressing royalty, including Queen Noor of Jordan, Queen Rania of Jordan and, most notably, Diana, Princess of Wales. "She has such a gorgeous figure that she'd look good in a sack and it would obviously be a huge honour to be entrusted with such an important commission. She has an elegant refined style which is modern and fresh and I would play to all of these points - a simple silhouette, sufficient detailing to give it the sense of occasion but not so much as to drown her slight frame," Oldfield told British Vogue.