Royal wedding gown recreated

June 01, 2018

Elizabeth Alexandrou and Tess Rankin put the veil on the model.

Elizabeth Alexandrou and Tess Rankin beautify the gown.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leave after their wedding ceremony at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, Windsor, in England.

Tessa Rankin with the replica dress

For Tessa Rankin, the wait for Meghan Markle to unveil her royal wedding gown was more nerve-wracking than most.

The former Shepparton woman, along with fellow Spotlight seamstress Elizabeth Alexandrou, were given the challenge from the retailer to recreate the dress using fabrics from its One Perfect Day range.

By 9pm, when the new Duchess of Sussex revealed her Givenchy dress, it was all hands on deck until 6.30am in the morning with the women spending 10 hours constructing the garment.

‘‘We didn’t know what it was going to look like,’’ Ms Rankin said.

Sitting in the sewing room in Sydney, the pair used simply what they could see on the television screen as a guide to create the replica gown.

‘‘I had a feeling it’d be a simple, classic and tailored gown,’’ Ms Rankin said.

‘‘We had a lot of adrenalin; we were perched on the edge of our seats.

‘‘The first person to see it called out what it looked like and it was all hands on deck.’’

Fellow seamstress Ms Alexandrou said they had several discussions throughout the day on what the dress might look like.

‘‘We were able to merge together two or three off-the-shelf dressmaking patterns to achieve the perfect, elegant silhouette,’’ she said.

‘‘A little creative thinking was needed to make the fit just so, but we are thrilled with the result.’’

The former Shepparton High School student said it was a real team effort between the pair.

‘‘We each couldn’t have done it without each other; it was a real collaborative job.’’

Although Ms Rankin is employed in Spotlight’s buyers’ department, she said she’d had several late nights sewing garments.

‘‘I’ve had many late nights but I’ve never sewed until the sun came up,’’ she said.

‘‘It was quite an experience but really good fun.’’

All fabrics used to construct the gown came from Spotlight’s new One Perfect Day range which includes embroidered fabrics, satins and lace.

‘‘It’s on display at our reception area; we’ve had lots of comments and compliments from team members; it’ll hang out there for a little while.’’

For Ms Rankin, her connection to Spotlight has come full circle, after she worked in the Shepparton store when she left school several years ago.

‘‘I went to Melbourne and did the university thing,’’ she said, and ended up working for Spotlight as a buyer.

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