It’s Understated Elegance for Meghan at Tonga Black Tie Party

It’s been a wardrobe whirlwind today, and Meghan wrapped things up with an elegant, understated gown by THEIACOUTURE.

To welcome the Duke and Duchess to Tonga, King Tupou VI & Queen Nanasipau’u hosted Their Royal Highnesses at a black tie reception and dinner. Here is a very quick video as the couple arrives.

9News Australia reports that the song “Imagine” was played as the couple entered the reception this evening. While at the function Meghan chatted with a doctor interested in her health. Danielle Stacey has more on that conversation in her Yahoo UK story:

They met with an array of dignitaries, including Justice Charles Cato, a New Zealand judge and his Russian wife Miriam.

Mrs Cato said: “I asked, how does she feel? She responded, ‘Very well, thank you.’ I said, ‘No visible signs yet!’”

The Duchess then looked down at her white embellished Theia dress and laughed.

Mrs Cato added: “As a doctor I was a bit concerned about her taking all these long trips. “I’m a mother of two. I know how it feels.

“I asked her to take care of herself. She promised to do so.”

In addition to the food and drink there was a music/dance presentation at the party. Kensington Palace tweeted that “The entertainment watched by Their Majesties and Their Royal Highnesses included performances from Fa’ahiula, Me’etu’upaki, Ta’olunga and Lakalaka.” (I believe these are all dances, not performers, but I could easily be mistaken.) 

The Tonga Travel Guide explains that “Traditional Tongan dances are stories sung by the singers and acted out by the dancers.”

The guide notes that “The Lakalaka is a standing dance that begins slowly but builds to a rhythmic finish.”

After dinner the Duke delivered remarks.

He said: ”We are deeply grateful to you all for welcoming Meghan and me to Tongatapu (the main island of Tonga) and to Your Majesties for making us feel at home here.”

“My grandparents have visited a number of times and Your Majesties have been frequent visitors to see my family over the years.”

He also read a message from HM:

The message said: “Your Majesties, it gives me great pleasure that my grandson and his wife are visiting the Kingdom of Tonga.

“Our two families have enjoyed a deep and warm friendship over many years, and I hope that our close relationship continues with the next generation.

“To this day, I remember with fondness Queen Salote’s attendance at my own Coronation, while Prince Philip and I have cherished memories from our three wonderful visits to your country in 1953, 1970 and 1977.”

Now for our look at what Meghan wore for this evening’s reception and dinner.

She was in a bespoke gown by THEIACOUTURE. More about the brand from its website:

Inspired by the Greek Goddess of Light, the THEIA collection was created to bring out women’s inner light and beauty. THEIA possessed the magical power to create light, and as the mother of the sun, the moon, and the dawn, her children illuminate the world in which we live today.

THEIA is known for its elegant gowns.

In addition to bridal fashion, the brand also offers evening gowns and cocktail dresses. Below, two designs from the Resort 2018 collection.

The label recently collaborated with Lovely Bride, creating a collection of gowns in sizes 16W – 24W.

Via Lovely Bride (click photo to visit site)

Meghan’s gown appears to be a version of this dress, a design discovered by the always-helpful and incredibly fast ID whiz, Heaven

Made of ivory crepe, the frock features cap sleeves, a banded waist, and flanged shoulders embellished with crystals and microglass beads.

Here is a closer look at the shoulder embellishment.

The label’s founder and Creative Director, Don O’Neill was clearly excited Meghan wore one of his designs.

The Irish-born New York-based designer added another tweet saying he was “Humbled , delighted and excited to have dressed Her Royal Highness in my gown. Her Royal Highness is a marvelous bright shining light in this world.” People reports Mr. O’Neill said the Duchess was the  inspiration for his Spring 2019 bridal collection. Below, the designer at the Spring 2019 Bridal Show.

More on how Meghan’s dress was created come via this Red Carpet Fashion Awards story:

“When her stylist reached out to inquire if I could make a dress for her Australian press tour, I stopped everything we were doing (my bridal show was just a week away) and immediately went to work on Her Royal Highness’s gown.

We completed the gown in 2 days, shipped it out and received confirmation that The Duchess LOVED it, but with one caveat. We needed to remake it with extra seam allowance. We knew immediately why this extra allowance was required, but Mum’s the word, and with less than one week to my bridal show, all hands were on deck once more, we re-made the gown and I literally had to run down Broadway that Friday night to catch the UPS truck making it with just 2 minutes to spare!”

RCFA has a photo of the designer and his sketch of the gown.

What fun reading about the logistics of getting the gown made and the last-minute adjustments made to accommodate Meghan’s pregnancy; you can see the entire RCFA piece here.

Meghan brought back her Givenchy Clutch with Jewelry Clasp ($1990). The minaudière is done in black satin, has one slip pocket inside and a chain shoulder strap. 

We saw the ‘Deneuve Pointy Toe Pumps’ by Aquazzura again ($545).

In the jewelry department Meghan wore Diana’s aquamarine ring and the still unidentified diamond bracelet.

Most recently we saw the bracelet at Tuesday’s Fiji dinner. 

A busy day in Tonga and Sydney is ahead; here is a look at the schedule.

If you missed either of our earlier posts, here are links: the green Jason Wu for the departure from Fiji post is here, and the red Self Portrait for the Tonga arrival post is here.

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  1. A beautiful white column with subtle embellishment, quiet jewelry and black accessories. What’s not to love? Shoes are perfect for this dress and especially love the bracelet and what may be my favorite piece of Diana’s jewelry. I only wish it were more visible in the photos. The DoS looks perfect. With Harry in the tuxedo, TRH make an elegant pair. And hat’s off to the designer and his team!

    • Hi Franck, We also think that it might be the bracelet as well. I have some clear images of Diana and Meghan wearing the pieces and have gone to a few people in a position to get an answer as we need Kensington Palace’s confirmation.

      Thanks so much for commenting about this and providing some more information. – Susan C.

  2. Stunning!!!!! White is such a great color on Meghan–wow. She really does showcase how elegant simple designs are. The fabric looks like heaven to wear, the cut is beautiful on her, and the embellishment at the shoulders is the perfect way to add interest while maintaining the simplicity of the design. 10/10

  3. Perfection. The designer really hit a home run. This is a dress that we’ll all remember. And seeing the Diana ring again just makes me happy.

  4. Gorgeous! I am enraptured by every single thing about this look from head to toe. I like learning about this new designer as well. She seems to be gaining steam with her fashion sense and choices as the tour goes on. The first leg of the navy dresses in Australia seems a long way off.

  5. What always surprises me is how ill fitting her clothes can be. This one seems to be very clingy over the bust, and it’s what hits you immediately in the photographs. More often than not, things are too tight or too baggy or too gathery in the wrong places. I’ve been thinking about it and wondering why? Is it simply down to personal preference? Does she not mind? Perhaps she doesn’t notice….but if that was the case, surely her stylist would. If the dress was to have extra allowance in the side seams, they could have let it out over the bust? Then, perhaps it’s the difference in culture? The other European royals mostly wear beautifully fitting clothes eg: Queen Maximas latest outfit. That was truly AMAZING.

  6. I love the DoS fashions the last couple days. I’m so glad she is wearing color with detailing. Is white a color? It attracts attention and the embellishments are beautiful. To me it’s outstanding! I would have intermixed these colorful dresses with the neutral ones. The DoS looks beautiful and glows. Hope she gets more rest soon.

  7. My favorite earrings came along on the tour!! This is glamorous and elegant and she looks ethereal in it.
    Loved how she elevates a deceptively simple gown – the blue caped one and this adorned white column are both examples of the kind of modern, understated style that she wears so beautifully.

  8. This is like a modern Princess Leia look and it’s easily my new favorite thing Meg has worn. The shape of those Birks earrings has always bugged me, but they really work with the shoulder embellishment. What fun to get a peek behind the scenes around those last minute changes! And interesting re: the seams. When I wore a sari for an Indian wedding I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it work because the blouse portion was SO tight. My Indian friend pointed out the three levels of seams sewn in and all I had to do was take a seam ripper to open them to the desired level. Brilliant! I would assume for a piece of this level a professional deals with the letting out.

  9. This dress was lovely! It won out over the blue dress. She looked radiant. I do hope that she is taking it easy and as the pregnancy progresses we will see lower heels, and more time off to rest. Harry and Megs looked stunning together.

  10. I don’t think this dress is very flattering on Meghan. It’s a lovely dress in general, but the sleeves which should broaden her shoulder area and create a waist whittling effect does not seem to do that. Perhaps the waistband is an inch too high? I absolutely loved the blue caped dress she wore a few days earlier. That was perfection in my mind.

  11. Exquisite! The dress fits beautifully and flatters her in every way. I think I might like her best in white! However, I think I like the version in black better for the neckline, more serpentine detail at the shoulders, as well as the placement of the shoulder adornments. It just seemed more old Hollywood glamour to me and a slightly more interesting execution of the dress.

    • Hello, Franck, and thank you for commenting. To my untrained eye it looks that way. This links to a brief Twitter conversation from the 24th about the bracelets. Order of Splendor responded to a question this way: “These two pics certainly make it seem likely, there’s variation in stone sizes on both. Neither is very distinctive, though, so hard to tell.”

      I wish there was a way to get a hi-res photo of Diana wearing the bracelet. I have fairly good pix of the piece on Meghan’s arm (it really popped against that blue!) but none of the bracelet Diana. I am going to see if we can get one of the royal reporters to ask KP for confirmation. At times they (the Palace) have been helpful, at others – not so much.Thank you for the link, we’ll hope to get a resolution in the next few days is possible. Thank you again, Franck! 🙂

  12. I’m struggling with the failure to provide accurate measurements on the original dress order, but then reorder it two days later. Since this all seems to have happened pre-announcement why cause the dress to be made twice? The second order clearly gave away the secret so why not just give him the right measurements/instructions in the first place? Since the designer knew it was for Meghan they had to know he would bend over backwards to dress her, why put the poor guy through all of that? Either you trust him with the secret or you don’t, or have him sign a NDA. The fact that this dress seems to have been ordered at the last minute means either the dress originally ordered wasn’t going to fit, or knowing she was pregnant they left it until the last minute to be able to order it for what ever size she was going to be for the tour.

  13. Meghan looks lovely and this gown is enhanced by the embellishment on the shoulders. Otherwise it would have been much too plain. The diamond earrings and bracelet add a very elegant touch. The shoes and purse contrast nicely. Ceci, in commenting about the recent green dress, said that Meghan needs a different bra. That is the situation with this white dress, either that, or the dress needs a lining or a heavier lining. This is a rather delicate observation, but you can clearly see the outline of body parts, that shouldn’t be outlined. Someone missed the obvious here.

    • @Bonnie, I thought the same thing when I first saw the photos, but I believe what you are seeing are just the dress seams where darts are sewn in on the bodice.

  14. Did anyone else notice how tiny the dress is next to the designer? If this is Meg’s size (while pregnant) I am shocked! So tiny!

  15. Oh the designer’s story is everything! I love it. And I’m so happy for anyone who experiences the Meghan effect. I hope the women in the Fiji market are experiencing it after Meghan’s handbag was seen. What fun. Although cap sleeves are so not my thing, it’s beautiful and elegant and she looks lovely. The fabric has an exquisite sheen and flow. She does look wonderful in white. And I love the return of Diana’s aquamarine ring.

  16. Flawless. She looks absolutely radiant. Is this in fact from Theia’s bridal collection? Because I am reminded about May in The Age of Innocence, newly wed and secretly pregnant, wearing her wedding gown to the opera (though of course the love story in that book is a little more fraught than Meghan and Harry’s).

    This long, column silhouette is so flattering on her right now, as are the little sleeves and the detail on the shoulders, which draw the eye up. Glad to see her hair up, too. And I’m delighted to see her continue to accessorize white with black. With Harry in his tux, they look appealingly like photo negatives of each other. My mind explodes when I think about what an adorable child they’re going to have.

    Speaking of which, I love the story about the designer remaking the gown to accommodate her secret news! Thanks so much for including that!

  17. Now THIS is a gorgeous look! She looks so elegant and lovely! I love seeing her in the more formal outfits. Just love it! She knocked it out of the ballpark with this one!

  18. I’m not super makeup-savvy. In the closeup of Meghan’s face, it appears there are lines of unblended concealer on the bridge of her nose. Is this highlighting/contouring that might photograph from afar better than up close?
    I like the dress! Unlike many of the other garments selected for the tour, this one seems to fit at the waist. Well done to THEIA!

  19. This is Hollywood glamour meets royal elegance. The dress is everything right from the split at the knee to the embellishments at the shoulders to the way it gently cradles her growing belly. Love the reappearance of the ring ( formally Princess Diana’s ring ), Love that she is repeating her accessories. The hair is also a winner to me. A tiara with this ensemble would have taken it to the next level, nevertheless, this look is outstanding!

  20. Rupert Evelyn’s video, which you included, is magical and certainly portrays the beauty of the setting. It’s looks like the full moon was overhead shinning down on the evening festivities of feasting, dancing, stories and music.

    Congrats to Don O’Neil for executing not one, but two, goddess dresses for Meghan. The complexities of this design are deftly executed, the cap sleeves, flanged shoulders, slit and side panels under the arms. Tim Rooke has some side view photos floating around on the internet which give another view of the dress.

    Meghan’s updo allows the shoulder embellishments to shine and her Birks Snowstorm earrings, while not the diamond chandelier earrings worn in Fiji, are nothing to sneeze at. Diana’s aquamarine ring is the mega volt piece tonight.

  21. This dress is everything the shapeless mass of caped blue fabric was not.
    This dress is gorgeous and she looks splendid in it. Love the shoulder embellishment — spare and elegant, and adds the right touch of sparkle to the column of white. (The blue shroud could’ve used some embellishment like this.)
    She’s two out of three — the red and the white.
    The green was uninspired and way too dark in color.

  22. How wonderful the designer kept quiet about the pregnancy and respected Meghan’s privacy. Also had he blabbed I think Meghan would have withdrawn her request! What a fun story reading about how he had to remake the dress and probably pulled all nighters with his staff getting it made.
    Anyways Meghan looks like some kind of Greek goddess in this dress! It is just so beautiful and suits her perfectly. Nice to see Diana’s ring again. What kind of earrings is she wearing?

    • Hi Amelie, Meghan is wearing her Birks Snowstorm earrings from the Snowflake collection. I will go in and update the post with the information. I think we’ve seen such a repeat of items we tend to overlook some of the obvious ones! Thanks, SC

  23. Oh, I love the story of the designer’s battle to get the right dress to the Duchess on time! It brings so much colour to your post, thank you.

    The mighty efforts of Don O’Neill and his team have more than paid off in this fine evening gown. The raised waist is clearly a blessing for Meghan at the moment and the lovely long column of the skirt is just pure classic delight.

    The treatment of the cap sleeves and that intricate embellishment take this from the ordinary to the very special. Her beautiful black accessories are neat enough not to add heaviness but just a subtle crisp edge against all the white. This is the perfect outfit for the bow-detail slingbacks. An all round triumph.

  24. To me, perfection. I also love the excitement on behalf of the designer.

    Over the last few days I’ve loved how she avoids the matchy-matchy shoes/accessories and goes with the darker color. It keeps things looking sophisticated and modern. I loved the black patterned purse with the pink floral and here the dark colors look lovely as well.


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