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Princess Diana’s big, fluffy confection of a wedding dress, with its ruffled neckline and poofy sleeves, was “directional” when Elizabeth Emanuel designed it in 1981. More recently, when Chelsea Clinton got married last summer _ hailed as the American equivalent of a royal wedding _ her Vera Wang gown with swirling organza ball skirt became an instant hit, with hundreds of brides seeking to replicate her look. Wang, arguably the world’s best-known bridal designer, soon produced a mass-market version of the dress and sold it through a bridal chain store.

But will Middleton’s choice stand the test of time and elevate her to a style icon, like the high-necked, lace-sleeved gown did for Grace Kelly at her 1956 wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco?

Amsale Aberra, an Ethiopian bridal designer based in New York, hopes that Middleton stays away from glamorous, high-fashion styles worn by Hollywood stars.

“People are not expecting something you’d see on a runway, or what the celebrities wear,” she said. “It’s not about the dress, it’s about her. It’s about a feeling. It’s definitely important to keep the tradition, but I hope she make it hers.”