NEW YORK (AP) – When Melania Knauss walks down the aisle to marry real estate mogul Donald Trump, she’ll be wearing a sumptuous gown by Christian Dior.

Knauss chose the gown during the haute couture shows in Paris with help from Vogue editors Sally Singer and Andre Leon Talley.

She models the voluminous strapless gown – which took 550 hours of labor just to do the embroidery – on the cover of Vogue’s February issue and Singer chronicles the shopping trip over 14 pages inside.

“Melania definitely got what she was looking for: a dress that would be absolutely special and a dress that could only be worn to one’s wedding,” Singer told The Associated Press Monday.

Knauss will marry Trump Saturday in Palm Beach, Fla. It will be the third marriage for Trump, host of the NBC reality show “The Apprentice.”

Knauss, like many brides-to-be, thought she wanted something a little more modern, but eventually realized she wanted a more theatrical dress, Singer said.

“The dress also had to hold its own against the massive ballroom they’ve built at Mar-a-Lago (the Trump estate in Palm Beach),” Singer said.

The room is in the ornate Louis XIV style and the visual theme of the wedding is white, gold and jewelry – meaning diamonds.

Singer, who will be a guest at the wedding, said she couldn’t begin to estimate the gown’s price tag. “Some of these couture gowns, they are showpieces. No one really expects someone to order them. … I’m sure it cost a lot.”

The Vogue fashion and features director said she “believed” Trump had purchased the gown because she couldn’t imagine Dior giving away something so expensive, but she didn’t know the arrangements.

Knauss, 34, wasn’t intimidated by the hunt for her wedding dress or the ceremony of haute couture. “Most women when they encounter fashion – whether it’s in a magazine or in the mall or watching the Golden Globes – they compare it to what they can wear. Melania isn’t like that, probably because she was born beautiful,” said Singer.

Because of the sheer volume of the dress, the magazine reports, Knauss decided to sit on a bench for dinner because a chair wouldn’t work and change into a new outfit following the traditional first dance with her new husband.

That dress is a sexy and sleek tulle number by Vera Wang.

AP-ES-01-18-05 1100EST

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