The date for Pippa Middleton's wedding to James Matthews is set, and the couple will say their vows at St. Mark's church in the bride's home village of Bucklebury on May 20, 2017. While some details about the wedding day are certain, like the attendance of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, Megan Markle, Prince George and Princess Charlotte (as page boy and flower girl) and countless members of British high society, others remain a mystery. Will the celebrity guests that attended William and Kate's wedding, like Victoria and David Beckham, be present at Pippa and James' countryside affair? Will Pippa opt for a completely classic look, as her sister did, or take a style risk? And, most importantly, who will design the gown for the most anticipated wedding of the year?
Given Pippa's girl-about-town persona and her classic-with-a-twist style, we have some educated guesses. Here, the nine designers we expect were in the running to design the gown Pippa Middleton will wear to become Mrs. Matthews.
1. Alexander McQueen
Pippa's stunningly simple, yet show-stopping Alexander McQueen gown by Sarah Burton garnered as much if not more attention than her sister's traditional wedding look on April 29, 2011. With subtle details like lace trims, a cowl neck, covered buttons and a figure-flattering silhouette, the world could not stop talking about Pippa's enviable assets. We would certainly not be surprised if Middleton turned to the same designer who made her style (and her figure) a topic of international admiration for her own wedding day.
2. Giles Deacon
While Deacon has been out of the international spotlight for the past few seasons – his last collection was a made-to-order offering for Autumn 2016 – the designer has been rumoured to be designing Pippa's wedding gown, after being seen visiting Pippa and her mother at the family's Bucklebury estate with large, wedding-dress-sized garment bags in tow. Known for off-the-beaten, gothic looks, the designer would be an unexpected, fashion-forward choice for the bride-to-be.
3. Jenny Packham
This British bridal and ready-to-wear designer has been a favourite of Kate and Pippa's for years, and her experience in the world of bridal makes her an obvious option to design Pippa's look for the aisle. Packham was also rumoured to be designing Kate's gown, before Sarah Burton was spotted heading into The Goring Hotel for final fittings, and she's dressed the sisters for countless affairs since then. Her Old Hollywood, deco and easy-to-wear style would certainly add a glamorous polish to Pippa's countryside nuptials.
4. Emilia Wickstead
Courtesy of Moda Operandi
Another favourite designer of the Middletons and the British society set, Emilia Wickstead is known for embellishment-light looks with an emphasis on shape, structure and drama. She's been making bespoke bridal for inquiring brides for years, and recently just launched a more accessible bridal range for Moda Operandi, making Pippa's wedding the perfect time to put her bridal chops on a world stage.
5. Phillipa Lepley
Possibly one of the biggest names in British bridal but unknown to brides outside of the UK due to her bespoke, one-of-a-kind process, Phillipa Lepley was also one of the labels rumoured to be crafting something for Kate back in 2011. Given her prominence in London's wedding world, she could be a natural choice for Pippa. Her style is quite traditional in feel, with a focus on classic ballgowns, corsetry, hand-embellishments and lace. Should Pippa feel a similar pressure to her sister to walk down the aisle in a look that's both classic and traditional, Lepley's silhouettes could be the answer.
6. Temperley London
Known for her polished yet rustic style, Alice Temperley has been a go-to for the Middletons for both daytime and evening; in fact, soon after the royal wedding, Pippa was seen out and about in quite a few Temperley gowns. Her loyalty to the brand has stayed strong for daytime functions and cocktail affairs, and given her wedding's setting, an all-lace sheath or a structured, full-skirted look with whimsical details from the brand would be a natural fit.
Not known for bridal but well-known by the fashion and social set, Erdem could be the dark horse in this bridal race, having dressed Pippa for numerous events in recent years. His use of unique fabrics and ability to evoke a purity and a femininity without allowing looks to appear too youthful and girly make him a natural fit for a bride; and with silhouettes that are never too sexy, his aesthetic would suit a church wedding as well. Pippa is known to show off her figure, even when dressed for a religious affair, and so should she opt to wear Erdem, expect to see something completely customised, more form-fitting than his looks appear on the runway, and with breathtaking details.
The top choice for royals outside of the United Kingdom (like Beatrice Borromeo Casiraghi above), Valentino could be a contender for this wedding as well. While Pippa certainly spends much of her time on palace grounds and with those with titles, her non-royal status frees her of the obligation to wear a British label should she prefer to venture out. Don't be surprised if Middleton also opts for something a little more fashion-forward and less traditional in feel, given that her ceremony site isn't as stringent as say, Westminster Abbey, when it come to dress code. A look from Valentino would be undoubtedly romantic, beautifully hand-detailed and a stellar fashion moment.
9. Ralph & Russo
The only British label to be deemed worthy of showing during Paris Haute Couture, Ralph & Russo have a leg up on the construction, embroidery skills and Hollywood glamour needed should Middleton prefer to don something dramatic. The brand, as of late, has been gaining traction worldwide, dressing style stars like Hailee Steinfeld and Brie Larson for key events like the Academy Awards and key movie premieres. Their gowns, when truly Couture, take six months or more to create and require thousands of hours in the workroom, but their recent experience dressing top women for key moments may put them in the running for Pippa's big day as well.