For Princess Kate Middleton, imagining a wedding gown

AP Photo / Kirsty Wigglesworth, Illustrations by Michael Shettel, Priscilla Costa, Victoria Nicole.

So far, we know the royal newlyweds will not have servants in their house, at least for the first three years of their marriage. We've been told that Kate Middleton's life-size wax image won't join the rest of the royal brood at Madame Tussauds until the end of this year. And it was reported that the No Problem Orchestra, a group of Austrian disabled musicians, are to perform at the April 29 affair.

But one question remains: What - and maybe more important, who - will Kate wear when she walks down the aisle of Westminster Abbey to marry Prince William?

For fashionistas worldwide, this information is of the utmost importance.

Speculation has been intense.

Of course there's been chatter that big-name American go-to designers are at the top of the silken heap. Think Vera Wang, Monique Lhuillier, or Reem Acra. But insiders say the soon-to-be princess is going to go British all the way. Showroom buzz points to Elizabeth Emanuel, the woman behind Princess Diana's lacy matrimonial heirloom, as well as top couturiers Ben de Lisi (American, but London-based) or Bruce Oldfield. Both men have flatly denied to the English press they are even contenders, but U.K. style insiders say these two are the most likely.

If she wants my opinion, I think Middleton should go ultramodern and choose ready-to-wear British Fashion Week faves Alice Temperley of Temperley London or, even better, Stella McCartney. McCartney's designs are edgy, fresh, and classic. And her father, former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney, is a knight. What better royal choice is there?


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Whoever Middleton picks as her bridal couturier will make fashion history. After all, excitement surrounding princess wedding gowns trumps that of even first lady inaugural frocks.

Almost 30 years after Diana married Prince Charles, 78,000 people flocked to the National Constitution Center in fall 2009 to see her gown, according to Monica Cawvey, the center's vice president for development. One million total have seen the exhibition in the nine cities in which it has traveled.

"It was among our top three exhibits ever," Cawvey said of "Diana: A Celebration." "The wedding gown was the thing that most people came to see. They loved all of the other pieces in the exhibit, but they loved the wedding gown the most because it reminded us of a part of Diana's life we could all relate to."

The public already identifies with Middleton's style exceptionally well, and the 28-year-old daughter of millionaires doesn't even have a royal boudoir yet.

In fact, it seems Middleton has the Midas touch, starting with the sapphire engagement ring the prince gave her. Ever since the couple's November betrothal announcement, copies of the ring have been in high demand.

And the electric-blue wrap dress Middleton wore at the announcement sold out immediately. Daniella Issa Helayel, who designed the dress, announced early last week that she was "positioning her brand to become global."

Middleton caused a fashion frenzy during the holidays when she wore an out-of-season (fall 2009) Temperley London dress to a pre-Christmas fund-raiser; shoppers couldn't copy her. The same thing happened when she recently wore a cream silk blouse bought from the U.K.'s Reiss department store two years ago. Because of the flurry of interest, the discontinued blouse will be rereleased in spring.

Imagine the delirium she'll cause when people see her gown.

Contact Elizabeth Wellington at 215-854-2704 or