It’s hard to believe that next month sees Prince William and Kate Middleton’s first wedding anniversary. Can it really be 11 months since the world (and by ‘world, we mean Grazia Daily) hysterically squealed at the sight of Kate rolling up to Westminster Abbey in a Rolls Royce? Well, a year on, we’re still utterly obsessed with every Royal Wedding detail. We can’t see enough pictures of the Sarah Burton-designed dress, we still want to watch that cute kiss on the balcony, and we’re always eager to hear tales behind the Big Day. So when Sophie Hallette, the French brand that created Kate’s bridal lace, contacted Grazia Daily to dish on the Duchess’ dress, we were all ears.
To bring you up to speed, Sophie Hallette is a family-run business that makes lace for the world’s top fashion houses from Erdem to Miu Miu, Valentino to – you guessed it – Alexander McQueen. But the most iconic piece they’ve worked on is undoubtedly the gown that debuted on 29th April 2011. In an exclusive interview, Maud Lescroart, Sophie Hallette’s Marketing Director, tells Grazia about Sarah Burton, creating the gorgeous lace and their surprise at discovering they’d spent weeks working on the world’s most famous wedding dress…
Grazia Daily: Tell us about your role in creating the dress.
Maud Lescroart: We’ve been providing the House of Alexander McQueen with lace for many seasons but it was a complete surprise to see it on Kate’s wedding dress! The lace design itself is 54 years old and had been archived - we only reinstated it into the main collection a couple of years ago and since last year we’ve been calling it ’Kate’s Lace.’
GD: How was the design decided upon?
ML: The design was all Sarah Burton - we certainly can’t take credit for it and we didn’t know anything about it. It was all a secret and we didn’t know which project the lace was for.
GD: Were you in contact with Sarah Burton?
ML: We deal with Sarah Burton and her team at the House of McQueen regularly as they use our lace in their collections - so we didn’t think twice about this request, we definitely didn’t realise what it was for! And we didn’t have any contact with the Duchess.
GD: How many people worked on the lace?
ML: It took at least 23 artisans to produce ‘Kate’s Lace.’ The design features shamrocks, lillies and roses and each process - threading, weaving, dyeing and checking - requires extremely skilled craftsmen who complete the entire process by hand, adding to the beauty and charming nature of the delicate fabric. This particular piece of Leavers lace took over 5 weeks to make before it was worked on by the skilled embroiderers at the Royal School of Needlework as you know.
GD: Were there any last minute dramas?
ML: There wasn’t from our end as we sent the lace over to London as requested, assuming it was just a regular order.
Maud Lescroart, Sophie Hallette’s Marketing Director
GD: When did you discover you'd designed the lace for the Royal Wedding dress?
ML: We were in complete shock when we saw our lace on Kate’s dress. We were just watching the Royal Wedding on TV and recognised the lace as soon as we saw Kate. After a few frantic phone calls, it was confirmed to be our lace - we were and still are utterly delighted. And to find out at the same time as the rest of the world goes to show you never know where your hard work will end up...a catwalk one day and on a Princess the next!
GD: How does it feel to be part of creating such an iconic dress?
ML: It’s amazing for our lace and lace makers to have been a part of such an iconic moment in history. Lace-making is very personal to us and the fact it was a surprise for us makes it even more exciting.
GD: Have you received requests from brides-to-be wanting to replicate the look?
ML: Yes, it’s been amazing! We’ve heard from people all over the world - so many brides-to-be want to make their big day even more special by using the same lace as Kate.
And brilliantly, now brides-to-be CAN imitate Kate's Princessy style as Sophie Hallette is selling the stunning lace from their Paris show room (call +33 142 369811 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details). What’s more, New York designers Enchanted Atelier have launched a bridal range in conjunction with the brand that uses the globally-recognised lace. A selection of these bridal pieces will be available to buy at Brown’s in London. Go, copy-Kates, go!