While fans have been waiting months to witness the pageantry of the royal wedding, fashion watchers have been preoccupied with one thing and one thing only: Kate Middleton's dress.
At about 5:50 ET, all was revealed: Kate is wearing a flowing white gown designed by Sarah Burton, creative director at Alexander McQueen.
"Gorgeous," says Mosha Lundstrom-Halbert, a fashion editor at Flare magazine. "The long lace sleeves evoking Grace Kelly, the ombré lace detail at the bottom — it’s classic, but also incredibly clean, which is nice to see."
"When I first saw the dress, I fell in love — and I could only see from the waist up," says Sarah Casselman, a senior editor at Fashion magazine.
It is rumoured that up to 60 people worked on the gown, which features long sleeves and a so-called "sweetheart" neckline. It is garlanded with a mixture of French Chantilly and English Cluny lace throughout the bodice, skirt and underskirt.
The skirt is made of ivory and white satin gazar, and was allegedly crafted to resemble an opening flower. The 29-year-old Middleton wore an ivory silk veil trimmed with hand-embroidered flowers and held in place by a Cartier "halo" tiara originally worn by the Queen Mother.
The dress, from the fashion house of the late British designer Alexander McQueen, was chosen in January, but kept under wraps until Friday morning.
The most impressive element of Middleton's outfit appears to be the sheer sleeves.
"Obviously you have to have your arms covered in Westminster Abbey, but the lace detail is totally going to start a trend," says Lundstrom-Halbert. "It’s gorgeous and ethereal and breaks up the solid white silk that we see everywhere else in the dress. What I find incredibly stunning is the lace that’s appliquéd on top of the white satin."
Canadian fashion critic Sarah Nicole Prickett feels that Middleton is rebelling against prevailing trends in the wedding-gown industry.
"Almost every wedding I’ve ever been to, the trend has been strapless and bare. For her to be completely covered, I suspect this will spark a massive trend in long-sleeved dresses," Prickett says.
"It definitely has the grandeur that is suitable for this occasion," says Lundstrom-Halbert. "But at the same time, it really feels of the moment. I definitely think it suits her style. She has an athletic figure and she prefer clean lines, and the dress isn’t overwhelming her. So many brides make that mistake."
Casselman feels that it strikes just the right balance of "majesty and modernity."
"The train is interesting, because everybody speculated, 'Will she go Princess Di length, will she stick to her commoner roots and go a little shorter?' I think she found a happy medium somewhere in between."
Lundstrom-Halbert also applauds Middleton’s choice in hairstyle.
"You don’t see Middleton with this kind of stuffy up-do that a lot of the royals wear. She doesn’t have a weird fascinator on. She’s got a clean tiara and her hair down," she says. "In her own way, she managed to make an occasion so full of pomp and circumstance and ceremeony still down-to-earth."
Middleton's appearance this morning ended months of intense speculation. In the past few weeks, the designers rumoured to have gotten the royal assignment included Bruce Oldfield, Sophie Cranston and Alice Temperley.
The fact that the house of McQueen designed the dress is significant, says Lundstrom-Halbert.
"This is such a significant choice for [Kate]. It really signals the modernity of the royals moving forward," she says.
As Prickett points out, McQueen himself would have been an unlikely choice for designer. Known for his brash style and public antipathy to the British monarchy, McQueen committed suicide in 2010.
"He was always a rebel. He would have been too much of a bad boy to sew a wedding dress for such a good girl," says Prickett.
Despite the fact that Middleton made what seems to have been a brave choice, Prickett doesn't believe the newly appointed Duchess of Cambridge concerned herself with looking fashionable.
"She wouldn’t really have been looking at trends," Prickett says, "because she’s really thinking about how the dress will look in history books."
Royal wedding: Interactive
Take a closer look at the bride's dress by selecting the image.