The Dress & Jewelry

Meghan’s wedding gown was designed by Clare Waight Keller.

The designer’s name was not one of those frequently discussed as a possible candidate to create Meghan’s dress. Here you see the 16-foot train.

 

From the Washington Post’s Robin Givhan:

The sleek white gown, with its six strategically placed seams, was stitched from a heavy silk with a subtle sheen. A simple bateau neckline gracefully framed her face. The body of the dress subtly outlined her waist and flowed into a full train.

Back to the Post piece:

But what was most noticeable were all the things that the dress was not. It was not a Hollywood red-carpet statement. It was not a Disney-princess fantasy. It was not a mountain of camouflaging tulle and chiffon.

Sketches of the dress were released Sunday by Clare Waight Keller and Givenchy. 

A view from the side.

From the official photos.

How did Harry like the dress?

This Telegraph story has the answer :

Prince Harry thanked Meghan Markle’s wedding dress designer for her role in making his bride look “absolutely stunning”, she has disclosed.

Birmingham-born Clare Waight Keller revealed the new Duke of Sussex spoke to her after the ceremony in St George’s Chapel, Windsor, on Sunday.

“He came straight up to me and he said ‘oh my God, thank you, she looks absolutely stunning’,” she said.

THE VEIL

Clare Waight Keller arranging Meghan’s veil. 

She is quoted in this Us story.

It was an important part of the moment when she walked out of the car, was for me to really be there and make the veil absolutely perfect,” Keller revealed. “I knew the dress as she went up the steps would make this beautiful line. With the veil being so long, I wanted just to make it absolutely spectacular. So I handed it to the two boys and they did an amazing job.

That was really Meghan’s idea,” she continued. “They were adorable two boys and they did a fantastic job, I have to say. It was important that they placed themselves in the right spot.

Those two boys are twins Brian and John Mulroney.

The seven-year-olds are Jessica Mulroney’s sons; she is one of Meghan’s closest friends, as well as a bridal stylist.

You may recall the veil is decorated with 53 floral designs representing the 53 Commonwealth countries. Two additional designs were included; the Wintersweet flower that grows in front of Meghan and Harry’s Nottingham Cottage home; the California Poppy from Meghan’s home state.

The veil was made from silk tulle; silk threads and organza were used to create the hand-embroidered flowers.

More from Women’s Wear Daily:

Each flower was worked flat, in three dimensions, to create a unique and delicate design. The palace said the workers spent hundreds of hours meticulously sewing and washing their hands every 30 minutes to keep the tulle and threads pristine.

THE TIARA:

Meghan wore Queen Mary’s Diamond Bandeau, lent to her by the Queen.

It was made for Queen Mary in 1932.  More from The Telegraph’s coverage:

And what a tiara it is: a beautifully detailed, perfectly sized art deco-style platinum and diamond headpiece that previously belonged to Prince Harry’s great-great grandmother, Queen Mary, and was lent to the bride by the Queen.

From the news release: The bandeau is formed as a flexible band of eleven sections, pierced with interlaced ovals and pave set with large and small brilliant diamonds.

As ever, the Royal Order of Splendor has outstanding information on the glittering, shiny, shimmering things.

The piece was constructed specifically to accommodate the detachable brooch in the center, set with ten brilliant diamonds.

The bandeau and the brooch were bequeathed by Queen Mary to The Queen in 1953.

This was not a tiara any of us expected to see, at least among a group of friends who are royal experts and fashion bloggers. It looked perfect on Meghan.

THE OTHER JEWELRY:

Meghan’s wedding ring was made from a piece of Welsh gold; the gold was a gift from the Queen. The royal family has been using pure Welsh gold for wedding rings since 1923, when it was used for the Queen Mother’s ring.

It was made by Cleave and Company, the same firm that made Meghan’s engagement ring.

On Meghan’s wrist, the Reflection de Cartier Bracelet in white gold and diamonds.

Some recognized her earrings immediately; they were first worn to an Invictus reception during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings in April.

THE BACKSTORY:

How did Meghan and the designer connect? She was one of many on a list of names put together by Jessica Mulroney. More from an exclusive Harper’s Bazaar’s story by Omid Scobie:

Clare Waight Keller had earlier in 2017 been appointed the first female artistic director at the house of Givenchy—a brand Markle had been a fan of for many years. While a French couture house may not have been the most obvious choice, Keller ticked the most important box—a Birmingham-born Brit who could fly the flag for British fashion at the most-watched royal wedding ever.

Givenchy

Meghan’s initial meeting with the designer was in London before Christmas. In mid-January Meghan told Ms. Waight Keller she was the designer she wanted to make her dress.

During Keller’s second meeting with Markle and Mulroney on January 11, Markle told the designer she chose her to create the dress—a secret Keller would have to keep from everyone—even her own family—until the wedding day.

“It was an extraordinary moment when she told me,” says Keller. “It was an incredible thing to be part of, such an historic moment, and to have the opportunity to work with her—it was a wonderful way to start the collaboration with her.”

In the following weeks, sketches went back and forth between Markle and Keller, with the pair establishing a fast friendship through texts, phone calls and brief meetings.

More from the Bazaar piece:

In mid-February, Markle secretly visited Keller at a property in South West London, where the designer keeps an archive of designs and pieces from her work with Chloé and Pringle of Scotland, sketches and catalogues from the House of Givenchy and an array of fabric samples and archival runway looks. Markle arrived in a discreet-looking town car and walked in without security or an assistant for the nearly two-hour meeting.

The behind-the-scenes story is a great read; you can see it in its entirety by clicking here. You can hear the designer speaking about the dress and working with Meghan in this video.
Read more: https://t.co/m8I1guQK7Q pic.twitter.com/42LQR7RNHP

— ITV News (@itvnews) May 20, 2018

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WHAT WE WROTE *BEFORE* THE WEDDING

As one might expect, this is (by far) the most buzzed-about aspect of the wedding. And why not, who doesn’t love a beautiful bridal gown? The WMW team anticipate Meghan wearing (at least) two gowns, as Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, did for her wedding. The first gown, worn for the ceremony, will make history as a royal wedding dress and surely set bridal trends for the years to come. This gown is anticipated to be formal, likely with a long train and very church-appropriate. As such, there’ll be a second gown – a more informal, wearable piece for Meghan to dance the night away in at the reception. From the beginning, a number of the same designers have been talked about as the front-runners for the commission. Our contributing writer Brooke Nurthen sets out our top 6 picks for the lucky brand:

Ralph and Russo

Long considered a frontrunner, the Australian duo of Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo (partners inside and outside of the studio, the couple is married) has been identified by the Daily Mail as the company doing at least one of Meghan’s dresses. Of course, it all started when Meghan donned one of their show-stopping creations for her engagement photos.

The speculation escalated when the Royal School of Needlework tweeted a photo showing staff from the Ralph and Russo “Haute Couture Team” looking at students’ embroidery portfolios. The Royal School of Needlework produced the lace for Kate’s wedding gown.

Roland Mouret

A friend of Meghan’s, this French-born, British based designer has also been at the top of many ‘most likely’ lists. When the coy Frenchman spoke to Women’s Wear Daily recently and was asked about designing the dress, he demurred: “Mmmmm, I don’t want to say. No comment. It’s…there is no comment on that. She’s a friend. And that’s… I can’t say.”

Meghan has worn Mouret designs on many occasions and is obviously comfortable wearing the brand, and with the designer himself – which is a huge consideration when working with someone so closely on such an important piece. My feeling is Mouret’s creations lend him perfectly to the creation of the second dress, for the evening reception.

Meghan Markle/Instagram

Stella McCartney

This British-born, Britain-based designer is my personal favorite pick for the wedding gown. Stella seems to me like an obvious pick for Meghan. Of the wedding vendors so far announced (including the cake, by Claire Ptak, and the flowers, by Philippa Craddock), the trend is clear – women-led, sustainable, ethical, British-based businesses, with cool, fashionable clienteles, are in. I see no reason Meghan wouldn’t continue this trend with her choice of dress designer. We’ve previously linked this article in The Telegraph about Stella becoming a ‘Royal Dresser In-Chief’ for Meghan, and my friend Hannah-Rose Yee sounded out her Stella predictions pretty well in this story for Whimn. McCartney has also recently re-acquired full control of her company, buying back the 50% share bought by luxury retail giants Kering. Meghan’s worn Stella designs before, most notably the popular navy-blue caped dress at the Queen’s Birthday Concert last month.

Erdem

In keeping with Meghan’s tendency toward diplomatic sartorial choices, Canadian-born, London-based Erdem is a hot contender. In recent months the brand has moved their PR in-house – a standard move by a growing fashion company at any normal time, but with royal-wedding-dress-hype hitting fever pitch, everything is a clue. Founded by Turkish-Canadian Erdem Moralioglu, the brand is a favorite of the Duchess of Cambridge, who has worn Erdem on many occasions. Would this be a positive for Meghan (it already has the royal stamp of approval) – or would she prefer to forge her own path?

Burberry

Rumors have swirled that designing Meghan’s dress would be a perfect ‘last hurrah’ for Christopher Bailey as he plans to leave Burberry at the end of the year. The Daily Mail has previously cited Burberry as a strong contender thanks to those famously chatty ‘unnamed sources’. Founded in the mid-1800s, the popular British heritage house would appear a perfect choice for a bride looking to appease the people of her new homeland. While not known at all for bridal wear, Bailey is a skilled designer and Meghan has worn the brand a couple of times since her engagement.

Emilia Wickstead

Another Commonwealth-centric pick along the Ralph and Russo / Erdem lines, and a woman-led brand, Wickstead is a New-Zealand born, British-based designer. She’s a new arrival to the bridal scene, releasing her first collection for Spring 2018 (click through for a few very Meghan-looking designs), and there’s a beautiful gallery of bespoke bridal pieces on her site. She made fashion headlines for designing Lady Charlotte Wellesley’s beautiful gown at her 2016 nuptials (Wellesley’s a descendant of Queen Victoria), and is a semi-regular favorite of the Duchess of Cambridge as well. Meghan wore a very smart bespoke ensemble from the brand on ANZAC day as well, so she clearly has a relationship with the brand. I’d love to see her in Wickstead for the wedding – my fingers are crossed with this one!

WMW writers Susan C and Susan K believe at least one designer will be a British heritage brand. Here’s our thoughts on some wild cards and other names that have been hotly discussed:

  • Victoria Beckham – she’s denied it, however, Sarah Burton totally did that too when asked about Kate’s dress. We wouldn’t put it past cool, classic VB to be the mastermind behind *the* dress.
  • Stewart Parvin – one of the Queen’s dressmakers, and Zara Tindall’s dress designer, this royal warrant holder would be a solid, safe bet for Meghan. Back in January, the Daily Mail called him a favorite.
  • Philippa Lepleyone of London’s leading couture bridal designers and a popular pick for the smart set, Lepley designs classic, beautiful, very royally appropriate wedding gowns. She’d be a surprising pick, but an excellent one.
  • Caroline Castigliano – another favorite of London’s high end of town, this British-born and based designer would be a savvy pick for a gorgeous, classic gown.
  • Amanda Wakeley – another brand Meghan has already worn, and a label favored by Kate and Diana, don’t dismiss Wakeley as an option. She’s an underdog, but definitely not out of the running.
  • Temperley London – Temperley wedding dresses are stunning, but this is a strongly Kate-favoured go-to brand for formal occasions; it’s probable that would steer Meghan away from the label.
  • Catherine Walker – one of Kate’s go-to designers, and a favorite of Diana Princess of Wales, our money’s on Walker outfitting more than a couple of wedding guests, but not the bride herself.
  • Alexander McQueen – far too strongly linked to Meghan’s future Sister-in-Law, we don’t think this is an option for Meghan. As Susan K told Racked, our money’s on Kate herself wearing bespoke McQueen to the wedding.
  • Jenny Packham – another hotly-discussed potential we’ve mainly removed from the pack because of her strong ties to Kate.