Belfast dressmaker's replica of Kate's Royal wedding gown goes on display
It was the most eagerly-awaited fashion moment of the decade.
When Royal bride Kate Middleton finally revealed her wedding dress, all eyes were on the outfit that had kept millions guessing up until the big day.
Within minutes designers across the world were scrambling to recreate the elegant gown, made by Sarah Burton from fashion house Alexander McQueen.
Local dressmaker Mary Rose McGrath was among the hundreds of designers who got to work making cut-price copies of the regal look.
Mary Rose, originally from Downpatrick, produced the first high street version of the dress, which is on display outside the House of Fraser in Belfast’s Victoria Square.
Her take on the gown, made of French lace and delicate ivory fabric, was put together in less than 24 hours.
It is said to be a perfect replica of Kate’s dress.
Reactions from local fashion experts were mixed, with some doubting that the copy-cat look can measure up to the original.
Cathy Martin, organiser of Belfast Fashion Week, said Kate’s dress was a “work of art”.
“You just couldn’t achieve the intensity of work that went into handcrafting her dress in 24 hours,” she added.
Tracey Hall, director of Style Academy, was more optimistic about the local version. “I imagine Mary Rose could have copied the shape and fabric of the dress just from a screen grab of it,” said Tracey.
“But I can’t believe she’s got a replica out there already — surely it’s impossible to recreate that standard of craftsmanship in such a short time?”
Meanwhile, Kate’s sister Pippa Middleton has attracted a number of admirers after her maid of honour dress proved almost as popular as the bridal gown.
The ivory cowl-neck dress, also made by Sarah Burton, was crafted using the same embroidery, material and buttons as Kate’s.
A number of fansites have been set up for the younger Middleton sister, including a Facebook page with more than 90,000 followers.