Photo: Getty Images
You're not just seeing things: When it comes to wedding dresses, the Kate Middleton effect is still very much present. The now-iconic Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen gown that Middleton wore to marry Prince William on April 29, 2011 (their anniversary is right around the corner!) immediately sent shockwaves throughout the bridal industry. At the time, Dan Rentillo, fashion director for David's Bridal, told Brides that dresses in similar styles began rocketing off the racks. "Women have really responded to the coverage," he said. "They're asking for ladylike gowns with clean, simple lines."
Nearly three years later, the main style elements that Kate's wedding dress embodied—that is, dramatic trains, deep V-necks, long sleeves, long veils, and lace detailing—were among our favorite details during Spring 2015 Bridal Fashion Week. What gowns best exemplified Kate Middleton's delightfully ubiquitous hold on bridal fashion? Read on to find out!
Photo: John Aquino
Long, dramatic trains: Before Kate stepped out of the vintage car on her wedding day, trains were going out of style. Thought of as unwieldy and old-fashioned, many brides were opting for low-maintenance wedding dresses with short (or no) trains. Though Kate required several bridesmaids (and one Pippa) to wrangle her train, it made the case for bringing back the former wedding dress staple. Her gorgeous, cathedral-length train made a stunning statement as she walked down the Westminster Abbey aisle, giving guests a special stylish treat. This Theia wedding dress, from the designer's most recent collection, has an eye-catching back and a full train. Though it's not as long as Kate's, it has as much of an impact.
Photo: John Aquino and Steve Eichner
Deep V-necks: One wouldn't expect a future princess to wear a wedding dress with a plunging neckline, but somehow, Kate made it work. Like this gorgeous, near lookalike Monique Lhuillier that we just spotted at the designer's latest fashion show, Kate's gown created the effect of a deep V-neck by combining a sweetheart bodice and sleeves. Kate absolutely popularized this style of neckline, and Lhuillier's dress proves that it's still an irresistible look.
Photo: John Aquino
Long Sleeves: Thanks to Kate, long-sleeved wedding dresses have overthrown strapless gowns as the most popular style. And for good reason! They're conducive to beading and embellishment, offer warmth for cold-weather weddings, and are perfect for more conservative or religious brides. Kate, for example, needed a more covered-up look to become the Duchess of Cambridge. The gorgeous lace sleeves on her wedding dress were tasteful without being too stuffy. This cocktail-length Oscar de la Renta, fresh off the runways, is a fun update on Kate's wedding-day style. It shows how long sleeves can balance a short hemline, a concept that would surely get Kate's approval.
Photo: John Aquino
Long Veils: For her royal wedding, Kate wore a stunning, lace-trimmed veil with a princess-worthy tiara. Swoon. Her veil was the perfect complement for her wedding dress, and since then, stylish veils have been back in a big way. Naeem Khan paired most of the wedding dresses in his Spring 2015 collection with gorgeous, cathedral-length veils, which only added to the dresses' drama. This gown is not only reminiscent of Kate's wedding dress, but the silk-bordered veil provides an extra wow factor the same way that hers did.
Photo: Thomas Iannaccone
Lace Detailing: One of our favorite aspects of Kate's wedding look is how it incorporated ladylike lace throughout. It was on her veil, sleeves, bodice, and hem — so delicate yet regal. Reem Acra, a veritable queen of royally romantic wedding dresses, used lace in nearly all of her Spring 2015 wedding dresses. This gown caught our eye because the lacy detailing reminded us of Kate's wedding dress. It's meticulously embellished, and yet the overall effect is still one of subtle sophistication.