Kate Middleton’s wedding dress took the world by storm. Five years later, the commotion just won’t die down, but not just because of the gorgeous wedding. After approaching design house Alexander McQueen “almost four years ago,” British designer Christine Kendall is now suing the haute couture giant. The designer claims McQueen “breached her copyright” in the design of the dress Kate wore to her 2011 wedding to Prince William.
Kendall “submitted ideas for a 1950s themed dress to the Duchess of Cambridge…five months before the wedding and received a letter of gratitude from the office of Prince William and Prince Harry in 2011,” reports The Telegraph. Kate’s beautiful dress wowed the millions of people watching the fairy tale wedding and inspired countless copies in the five years since. However, Christine was one of the few who wasn’t impressed.
The designer “spotted alleged similarities between her sketches and Sarah Burton’s final design.” Burton is the creative designer of Alexander McQueen and she personally designed the dress. Apparently not happy about the response she received four years ago, Christine “has issued legal proceedings at the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court. Her solictor (sic), Humna Nadim…said: ‘Proceedings have been issued because our client is certain that her company’s design was unfairly taken and copied.’”
In a letter sent to Christine about her designs for Kate Middleton’s wedding dress, she was told “Miss Middleton was most interested to see your work…” The designer took the letter literally, but “a spokesman for the Duchess told The Sunday Times that she had never seen Kendall’s sketches.” McQueen says the same thing.
“‘We are utterly baffled by this legal claim. Christine Kendall first approached us almost four years ago, when we were clear with her that any suggestion Sarah Burton’s design of the royal wedding dress was copied from her designs was nonsense…Burton never saw any of Ms Kendall’s designs or sketches and did not know of Ms Kendall before Ms Kendall got in touch with us – some 13 months after the wedding. We do not know why Ms Kendall has raised this again, but there are no ifs, buts or maybes here: this claim is ridiculous.’”
Kate Middleton’s wedding dress “cost around £40,000 ($57,000),” notes the International Business Times. However the sartorial cachet for designing the dress of the century is worth far more, particularly for a relatively unknown designer. Kendall posted a YouTube video in December 2013, in which she states “I believe without my sketches the royal wedding dress would not have looked as it did.”
In the video, entitled “How to design a Royal Wedding Dress,” Christine claims that she was “lucky enough to have [her designs] appreciated and accepted by Catherine.” The designer is careful to keep Kate herself out of the lawsuit, because it’s never a good idea to have the most photographed woman in the world, whose clothes are obsessed over, mad at you. Kendall’s solicitor Humna Nadim stressed that they do not consider Kate to be at all involved.
“This claim is not against the duchess and there is no allegation of wrongdoing against the palace.”
Although Kate Middleton’s wedding dress has been scrutinized by millions of people for the past five years, no-one but Kendall has drawn attention to the similarities of Kate’s dress to Christine’s “Alexandra” design. A mock-up of the design was created in Kendall’s studios.
With the fifth anniversary of Kate and William’s wedding on Friday, the world will once again be reminded of the glorious day and the beautiful wedding dress. Of course, Kate’s clothes are never out of the headlines. Alexander McQueen remains one of her favorite designers, and the Duchess wore several of the designer’s outfits on the Cambridge’s official tour of India and Bhutan earlier this month. Even if Kendall’s lawsuit should be successful, the close ties between Kate and McQueen will no doubt remain.
Kate Middleton’s wedding dress will obviously be in the headlines again this week. Perhaps Kendall’s lawsuit is timed to take advantage of the anniversary celebrations? Whatever the outcome, Kate’s wedding dress is sure to be the center of attention once again.
[Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]