When nearly 3 billion people tune their televisions to watch a wedding, all eyes are going to be on the dress. And in the case of Prince Harry marring Meghan Markle, there were two dresses and hundreds of the world’s most fashionable guests. Meghan, who has designed her own line of clothes through Canadian retailer Reitmans, knows fashion and style. It seemed fitting to do a quick article on the fashion of the Royal Wedding that took place on May 19, 2018.
It’s only fitting to begin with the bride. Meghan radiated in this elegant Givenchy gown designed by Claire Waight Keller. I knew it would be important for Meghan to chose a British designer - and Claire Waight Keller is originally from Birmingham. However, Keller is the artistic director of Givenchy, an iconic French fashion house. Considering that Hubert de Givenchy passed away earlier this year, having Meghan wear a dress with his label seems like quite a tribute. However, the choice was still a risk.
Let's discuss the dress and all the facts. Meghan chose a simple 1950’s silhouette with an open bateau neckline. The dress was constructed out of double ply silk which perfectly outlined her frame. Details such as a 5-foot long train and 3/4 length sleeves gave the dress a more regal feel. Many people felt that the dress itself was underwhelming; lacking any beading, sequins, sparkle, lace, embroidery, volume, etc. I agree the dress was basic but structurally lovely. Considering the couple wanted a more simplified wedding, the dress seemed appropriate.
The showstopper of the outfit was actually the 16.5-foot long silk tail veil. The veil was adorned with 53 flowers that represented each country of the commonwealth - which was something that Queen Elizabeth did when she got married in 1947. To personalize the veil, Meghan included two additional flowers: Wintersweet (which grows outside her new home, Nottingham Cottage) and the California Poppy (to symbolize her home state).
And when you’re a (newly minted) royal, the accessories are important. The Queen loaned Meghan the Queen Mary diamond bandeau tiara. The tiara was made to house the center brooch that dates back to 1893. This specific tiara hasn’t been worn for over 50 years so we may not see it on display again in our lifetimes. Similarly to Kate Middleton, Meghan opted out of wearing a statement necklace. She did complete her Windsor-worthy look with diamond earrings and a bespoke bracelet from Cartier. Excluding the priceless tiara, Meghan’s jewelry neared a cool million dollars. Finally, today Meghan became the Duchess of Sussex. So it’s fitting that her wedding shoes, also by Givenchy, were made of pure white silk duchess satin.
Did I mention that there was a second dress for the wedding? Meghan changed into a more relaxed Stella McCartney halter dress. Draped in silk crepe, this more revealing dress allowed the Duchess to move and dance late into the night. The simple dress was complete with satin Aquazurra heels with painted blue soles and diamond drop earrings. Personally, I think if you’re going to do two dresses they should be dramatically different (i.e. #1 ballgown, #2 knee-length dress). So while this Stella McCartney dress is lovely, it didn’t add much to the fashion of the event.
Dressing for royal events can be tricky. When my friend Amy and I attended the Queen’s 90th birthday party at Windsor Castle, the dress code was very clearly outlined and adhered to. When Prince William married Kate Middleton, the Queen published a 22-page pamphlet to direct guests on acceptable dress and protocol. Some of the Queen’s fashion requests include no white dresses, no open-toed shoes, lady’s shoulders should be covered, high heels preferred (but not too high), conservative hemlines, no bare legs, hats are encouraged but not mandatory (fabric hats before easter, straw hats after), etc. As for the wedding's guests, a few stood out from the crowd - so let's examine why they caught my eye.
Amal Clooney in Stella McCartney
A few weeks ago, Amal had a big mis-step with her Met Gala outfit. However, she looked stunning in this marigold Stella McCartney sheath dress and matching hat. The cut of the dress is appropriate and from the smile on her face, Amal feels beautiful in it. And isn’t that what fashion is about?
Oprah Winfrey in Stella McCartney
Oprah had arranged a beige dress to be delivered to her in London for the wedding, but upon seeing it, she knew it would photograph as white. Being the classy dame she is, she called in the help of Stella McCartney (the night before the wedding) and her team worked around the clock to make this lovely blush dress for her. The fabulous straw hat finishes off her look. She was carrying a Gabriela Hearst bag. I think the beige disaster was a blessing in disguise.
Kitty Spencer in Dolce & Gabbana
I think Kitty was the best dressed at the wedding in this intricate emerald floral dress with orange heels and clutch. I loved the design on the dress and she certainly stood out in a crowd of monotone outfits. Looking like a young Lady Dianna, the model wore a matching fascinator by Philip Treacy.
Kate Middleton in Alexander McQueen
Kate looked lovely in her Alexander McQueen coat. She also looked lovely in it in 2015 at Princess Charlotte’s christening, in 2016 at the Trooping the Colour and last summer in Belgium. Props to Kate for knowing what works for her but I don’t think this was the right event to recycle an outfit. Not when over 2 billion people are watching. The shoes are Jimmy Choo. Kate - call me and we’ll go shopping when I’m back in London in September.
Sabrina Dhwore in Gucci
Our former Miss Vancouver and fiancé of Idris Elba let me down in this cardigan dress. She looks lovely but a cardigan dress is not appropriate for this occasion. And while I can’t get enough Gucci, I think wearing something so ‘branded’ is tacky. I’m surprised she left the massive gold monogrammed GG belt at home.
Doria Ragland in Oscar de la Renta
I didn’t know what to expect from the yoga teacher but she certainly impressed me. I had heard people say that she should have hidden her dreads and taken out her nose ring, but why? Isn’t fashion about personal expression? This pistachio colored dress with white floral decoration was perfect for the occasion. The cocktail hat was made by Stephen Jones and shoes were by Aquazzura. Her elegant diamond jewelry was from Canadian retailer Birks.
Camilla Parker Bowles in Anne Valentine
Often I find Camilla’s looks are very date but not today. In this Anne Valentine asymmetrical pink silk coat dress, Camilla looks perfect for her role as step-mom. But it was her accessories that delighted me so much. The over-the-top pink feathered hat by Philip Treacy was the ultimate statement piece. And look at the massive pearl choker - wow.
David Beckham in Dior Homme & Victoria Beckham in Victoria Beckham
Ok - Victoria looks her serious self but David looks super excited to be there. I really like the cut of Victoria’s dress but would have loved to see her in something softer for spring. I am glad she went with the pop of color in the heels. David is in Dior Homme - and this is the first suit ever from Dior Homme by designer Kim Jones (formerly of Louis Vuitton). Jone’s runway debut for Dior isn’t scheduled until next month but he casually said that there was no better runway than the royal wedding. David was the best-dressed gent there.