Kate Middleton's Royal Wedding Dress: 25 Fantasy Picks
Once the odds-on favorite to design Kate's wedding gown, the British couturier offers a sweeping ballgown with elegant embroidery and a modest sheer neckline. "Our frocks are classic with a beautiful twist, using the most luxurious fabrics and fine embellishments," Lepley tells PEOPLE, but says that she has not been approached to design the dress.
Kate is known for sensible style, making this understatedly elegant Vera Wang gown a perfect pick for the princess-to-be. With its figure-flattering silhouette and subtle detail (ideal for a televised wedding!), it would highlight her curves – and the bare shoulders would allow her hairstyle to shine.
This spring the buzz grew loud that Kate chose British design house Alexander McQueen for her big day, though creative director Sarah Burton denied the rumors via a spokesperson. Still, the most recent collection's lavish attention to detail (and icy color scheme) has tongues wagging that Burton has weddings on the brain.
Long associated with American royalty, Herrera knows how to dress a modern woman in a strong, yet feminine, way – perfect for the independent princess-to-be. Elaborately ruffled but with a refined shape, this gown would allow her to show off her shoes – and the removable shrug is perfect for transitioning from Westminster Abbey to the reception.
With a celebrity-beloved line for weddings and red carpets alike, Lebanese designer Reem Acra is known for her opulent fabrics and whimsical touches. A full-skirted frock would look utterly elegant in a climb from a carriage once the vows are said.
There's a reason so many stars (like Reese!) adore Monique Lhuillier – her gowns combine city-chic designs with ethereal, romantic fabrics and embellishments. Kate could be fashion-forward in this detailed, drop-waisted gown, which will look equally elegant on the dance floor or next to a stunning royal wedding cake.
Another buzzed-about British designer, Bruce Oldfield has been at the forefront of speculation since Kate's mother and sister Pippa were spotted leaving his London shop. Oldfield has sidestepped the rumors ("If I was lucky enough to be asked, I'd be delighted," he has said) but tells PEOPLE he envisions something "traditional and elegant, possibly even demure, but I'm sure she would want a modern twist." This lovely lacy confection has a vintage feel, but the bow at the waist and plunging neckline make it current.
One way for Kate to prove she's not your typical bride? Stop the show in a super-modern one-shoulder design from Brit Matthew Williamson, who is making his first foray into bridal. His vision for Kate: "Something quite classic, clean, simple and elegant," he tells PEOPLE. "She will want something timeless and a style that will endure, because that picture will be seen for years to come." He says he's not on the docket for the big day, but still looks "forward to seeing it as much as everyone else!"
But who wants simple when Kate could go all-out with a highly embellished, bow-bedecked princess gown reminiscent of Diana's own super-ornate wedding dress? Pnina Tornai, known to fans of Say Yes to the Dress for her straight-out-of-a-fairytale designs, has an eye for royally fabulous looks.
Elie Saab's haute creations, which charm stars like Mila Kunis and Halle Berry, are renowned for making a woman’s shape look great as much as it pays tribute to striking, timeless silhouettes. The bridal look from the designer's most recent haute couture collection would allow Kate to shine by framing her face and highlighting her waist, while still making a truly grand entrance.
"I have definitely done a design for her, so when the phone rings, I'm ready!" British designer Sassi Holford jokes to PEOPLE. "She is simple, classy, stylish ... [and] I would show off that fabulous figure!" What better way to do that than in an utterly elegant fit-and-flare gown? Though it's deceptively minimalist, it could be the perfect palette to set off a dramatic Philip Treacy hat.
Bruce Oldfield told Good Morning America that Kate's dress would have to have sleeves to reflect the formality of Westminster Abbey – so British designer Amanda Wakeley's full-skirted cowlneck gown, which could be accented with dazzling earrings – and of course, her Welsh-gold wedding ring – would fit the bill quite nicely.
PRISCILLA OF BOSTON
In a slimming empire silhouette, updated for the 21st century with a pretty pop of color, Kate would reflect the perfect marriage of old and new traditions. As a bonus, the jeweled collar of this classic Priscilla of Boston gown would perfectly mirror one of the tiaras she's expected to wear.
A newcomer to the red carpet circuit (with fans like Lea Michele and Christina Hendricks), Romona Keveza's designs are seriously stylish with a sweet sense of whimsy. Though the couple's first public kiss may be carefully choreographed, a romantic dress like this one, with its incredibly detailed skirt and soft sweetheart neckline, would lend the proceedings an air of spontaneity.
As a couturier to Her Majesty the Queen, Stewart Parvin has an inside eye for all things royal. Parvin tells PEOPLE that he'd like to see Kate in "something that shows off her figure ... something quite fashionable would be good." If he were to design her dress, he'd choose this elegant brocade "Poldark" gown from his own collection. "It's very figure-hugging, but with a huge skirt and a big long train ... it's very simple, but dramatic," he says. Why all the fuss over Kate's dress choice? "She has the potential to have a dress that launches 100,000 copies in the next ten years to come," he says. "If you think back to Diana, her dress was so influential in its day."
A fashion-forward N.Y.C.-based designer would be a surprising – and chic – choice for Kate Middleton. Having dressed America's sweetheart Sandra Bullock for her nuptials, his figure-flattering and super-chic dress, with just a hint of shimmer, would allow Kate to stay covered while still showing off her coveted shape.
British designer Alice Temperley was just presented with her Member of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for her service to the fashion industry. But the Queen isn't the only royal to have recognized Temperley's romantic, feminine appeal – Kate herself has worn Temperley in the past and sister Pippa was spotted outside the Temperley shop in recent weeks. The designer won't comment on the royal wedding, but we think this bud-adorned, country-elegant gown would make for a perfectly pretty picture.
Another British designer steadfastly dodging any royal wedding-related questions, Jenny Packham makes very modern designs in very timeless shapes. The floor-sweeping, major tulle skirt on this gown would have the impact required in a massive venue like Westminster Abbey, but the shawl collar and brooch-adorned waistband give the full-skirted look an updated feel.
When you've got nearly 1,900 guests to greet, you want a dress that allows ease of movement – and this simple, floor-skimming Lela Rose gown certainly provides that. With a modest, rose-patterned sheer top and a flowing, feather-light skirt, it would allow Kate to stay comfortable while looking polished.
Combining the shape-flaunting appeal of a simple column gown with the jaw-dropping effect of a traditional train, this crowd-pleaser from Spanish label Pronovias would allow Kate to seamlessly transition from the formal ceremony to the late-night party with ease.
OSCAR DE LA RENTA
This gown, from perpetually showstopping designer Oscar de la Renta, simply screams "Royal Bride." From its deeply traditional high neckline and lace sleeves, to its sweetheart bodice and A-line skirt, to the pretty flower appliqués dotting the skirt, it was practically designed to make a grand entrance.
Another British bridal designer with a couture sensibility, Ian Stuart's name has also been circulated as a possibility for the bride-to-be. His taffeta "Premiere" gown could be an effortlessly elegant pick for her walk down the aisle: with its flattering ruched design, face-framing portrait collar and timeless ivory hue, it would look stunning in photos for years to come.
She's already wearing Diana's sapphire engagement ring, so perhaps Kate could pay tribute to William's mother by choosing a gown from Diana's wedding dress designer, Elizabeth Emanuel. The ultra-formal ballgown skirt, lace detailing and deep neckline would make a dramatic statement and give a sentimental nod to the late princess.