Top Contenders in the Running to Design Kate Middleton’s Wedding Dress

Kate Middleton has managed to keep secret from the world one of the most heavily anticipated elements of her upcoming nuptials to Prince William: The designer of her wedding gown. We round up the candidates.

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Kate Middleton has managed to keep secret from the world one of the most heavily anticipated elements of her upcoming nuptials -- the designer of her wedding gown. What we know: The designer of the dress will almost certainly be British, and the dress will be cut modestly for Middleton's style and Westminster Abbey protocol. There are also reports that Middleton has three options at the ready, and one might be made by someone young and lesser known.
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Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen
nDespite the fact that designer Sarah Burton has unequivocally denied that she's designing the gown, McQueen remains the frontrunner, even among folks at The New York Times. But we're still skeptical: Kate Middleton has a simple and conservative style to which a McQueen creation seems opposed. (Paddy Power's Current Odds: 1-25)
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Bruce Oldfield
nWhile he's been edged out by McQueen as the odds-on favorite in the media, Oldfield remains the designer closest to the Middletons' hearts. Kate was spotted at his London atelier with her mother and sister, and the designer, without giving any concrete hints, has spoken to the media about Kate's wedding-day look. (Paddy Power's Current Odds: 4-1)
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Phillipa Lepley
nThe London designer has had her turn at the top of the buzz list back in the fall, according to OK Magazine. A longstanding presence among British brides, Lepley would be a perfect fit with Middleton's relatively staid, ladylike elegance.
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Issa
nIssa was Middleton's choice for her first major public appearance as Prince William's fiancee, and that iconic little blue dress not only sold out worldwide, it put Issa on the radar as a Middleton staple. Having been a loyal fan to the label for years, Middleton may stick with her tried-and-true favorite on her wedding day as well.
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Jasper Conran
nConran is the latest out-of-left-field name to surface in the form of speculation from FashionEtc that Middleton has three dresses on deck, should any one be leaked in advance. One of those three is said to be by Conran, but some on our roster think the last-minute press may in fact be a red herring. That said, he's a plausible choice for his classic-but-young society look.
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Anna Valentine
nIf Kate wanted to bid homage to her stepmother-in-law, this British designer would be the right pick: Credited for bringing chic to Camilla Parker-Bowles, Valentine also makes the kind of sleek bridal we could see Middleton going for.
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Vivienne Westwood
nWhile the prospect of Dame Westwood actually designing a dress for Middleton seems unlikely, the fact remains that she's one of the country's most iconic dress designers, and also specializes in a corseted, figure-flattering silhouette.
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Erdem
nErdem Moralioglu's name has popped up on the periphery of the rumor mill, even if an unlikely one. Having made a serious splash in the UK, the young designer is known for ultra-feminine silhouettes and motifs, including bridal-appropriate lace.
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Alice Temperley
nBesides being one of the designers in Kate's regular rotation, not to mention a quintessential Brit with an aesthetic worthy of the job, Temperley gained a foothold in the race when maid of honor Pippa Middleton stopped by the studio with her mother last week.
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Matthew Williamson
Matthew Williamson
nWilliamson may not be anywhere near the frontrunners to dress the soon-to-be-princess, but he is a well-regarded British designer, and he also just launched a spectacularly chic bridal collection, that just might be blockbuster enough to steer the attention of the year's must-see wedding.
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