Cheshire's Sarah Burton - Kate Middleton's wedding dress designer

Sarah Burton - By royal appointment?

Sarah Burton, who was born in South Manchester to an accountant father and a music teacher mother, moved to study print design at St Martin’s College in London after completing an art foundation course at Manchester Polytechnic.

One of five children, she planned to continue her education by studying fine art at Oxford University, but her interest in fashion was too strong. She joined the McQueen label in 1996 on a year-long internship. It was the beginning of a 14-year collaboration and friendship and she eventually became his right hand woman.

After Alexander McQueen’s suicide last year she was the obvious choice to head up the label, but was initially reluctant to step into the limelight.

The decision was several weeks in the making, but since then she has settled in and moved the brand from strength to strength. She was roundly praised for her first solo show in Paris last year.

It was Sarah who dressed Michelle Obama in a striking asymetrical dress for a state dinner with the Chinese, and is famed for her meticulous attention to detail and craftsmanship.

She has worked on one-off pieces for stars such as Bjork, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett, Naomi Campbell and Lady Gaga.

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And she has Royal pedigree too - she designed the dress worn by Sara Buys when she married the Duchess of Cornwall’s son Tom Parker Bowles in 2005.

Now 36, Sarah is quiet influence and lives with her photographer husband David in north London and for her own day-to-day look favours jeans over high fashion.

It may be this low-key approach to high-end romantic gowns with a sense of history and the court - hallmarks of the McQueen label - which won over Kate.

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