Entertainment Style Meghan Markle’s unexpected dress choice was a stroke of genius
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Meghan Markle’s unexpected dress choice was a stroke of genius

Meghan Markle did the unexpected and went for a simple gown from a French design house. Photo: Getty
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With a long line of beautifully clothed royal brides before her, Meghan Markle faced immense sartorial pressure to deliver a major style moment we could gush over for years to come.

But even before Markle appeared, any fashion concerns we may have had were allayed when Harry strolled into the chapel looking storybook handsome in the frockcoat of his Blues and Royals Household Cavalry uniform.

The Queen then knocked it out of the park in zesty yellow coat over a violet and green floral dress, and Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton looked sedate and non-offensive in recycled cream Alexander McQueen.

Then came Meghan. Speculation about who had been chosen to design the bridal gown was rife in the months leading up to the event, with names most often mentioned being Australian couture house Ralph & Russo, and British designer Stella McCartney.

meghan markle
Given that previous predictions made no mention of Givenchy, Meghan Markle’s simple, chic gown was a triumph that came completely out of left field. Photo: Getty

So fashion commentators were taken aback when the bride emerged wearing a very simple white silk cady gown with a bateau neckline by Clare Waight Keller, the first-ever female artistic director at the French house of Givenchy.

Keller is one of the UK’s top designers, who has previously been at the helm of both Pringle of Scotland and the French house of Chloe, where she honed her talent for designing romantic, bohemian-inspired dresses for international ‘It’ girls.

Clare Waight Keller is easily one of the United Kingdom’s most accomplished, seasoned designers – and her spectacularly simple creation proved it. Photo: Getty

Punters got at least one thing right: Meghan did wear Stella McCartney … eventually. She changed into a high-necked silk crepe number from the British designer to head to the reception.

Paired with a slightly messier updo, relaxed bare shoulders and a pointed white pump shoe, Meghan’s reception dress was equally as elegant, but perhaps more of a throwback to her relaxed pre-Harry style, which was all about modern silhouettes worn with carefree confidence.

Harry and Meghan head to their reception in style. Photo: Getty

Her Meghan’s first bright white wedding dress, however, was an impressive exercise in restraint, very minimal and displaying an almost Butterick Patterns-level of simplicity.

It was set off with a beautiful, five-metre silk tulle veil, with a trim of hand-embroidered flowers in silk and organza, thoughtfully representing the distinctive flora of each of the 53 Commonwealth countries ( Australia’s floral contribution was golden wattle).

Givenchy is a somewhat surprising choice, as it is known to be a very fashion forward brand of late (it was Kim Kardashian’s wedding dress pick when she married Kanye West, but that gown was the work of the then-in-house designer Riccardo Tisci).

The gown was an exercise in restraint, but Meghan still made a statement with that veil. Photo: Getty

Keller appears to have made a quiet statement, the strict design of the gown giving more than a nod to the discreet disciplines of the original designer, the late Hubert de Givenchy, with its pure clean lines, bracelet sleeves and a modest train that was more Princess Margaret than Princess Diana.

Meghan’s spectacular 1932 tiara was borrowed from the Queen. Photo: Getty

If it erred on the too-safe side, the dazzling diamond bandeau tiara (borrowed from Her Majesty’s jewellery collection and once a favourite piece of Queen Mary) catapulted Meghan into contemporary princess territory.

The tiara was made in 1932 , the centre set with a detachable brooch of 10 brilliant diamonds.

The bride’s hair and makeup was impeccable, fresh and natural, and the nonchalant addition of a Cartier diamond bracelet and earrings murmured, “I’m sort of like all of you but not anymore”.

All in all, the discreet dress and the quiet narrative of history and geography in the details was subtle and confident.

Meghan is a natural beauty, who smiles often and feels comfortable in the spotlight, as does her dashing husband.

For all the initial pomp and circumstance this was a most modern and inclusive wedding, if only to see the effusive US Bishop Michael Curry do his thing and startle Elton John.

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