After months of speculation on who had landed the commission to design the wedding dress of the year, the bride surprised us all as she arrived at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle yesterday in a pure white silk boat neck gown by Clare Waight Keller – British director at Givenchy! This designer had not even been rumoured in the run up to the big day.
In keeping with Meghan’s style, the wedding gown itself was very minimalist in its aesthetic with an absence of any fussy detail. It featured a wide boat neck, three quarter sleeves and form fitting bodice. Detail and symbolism could be found in the hand-embroidered 5-metre veil, which included floral detail that represented all 53 countries of the Commonwealth, in addition to the California poppy – a reference to Meghan’s place of birth and wintersweet, which grows in front of Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace.
The veil was held in place by a tiara loaned to Meghan by the Queen: Queen Mary’s diamond bandeau tiara, named after the wife of King George V. It was created in 1932 and features a detachable diamond brooch in the centre that was a wedding present to Queen Mary in 1893. Other jewellery was kept to a minimum – diamond stud earrings and a bracelet by Cartier. Meghan’s shoes were also by Givenchy and made of silk duchess satin.
The overall look was chic, timeless and understated, in contrast to the intricate lace detail of the Alexander McQueen wedding dress worn by The Duchess of Cambridge in 2011.
In March 2016, during an interview with Glamour magazine about her Suits character, Rachel, Meghan Markle described her perfect wedding dress: “Classic and simple is the name of the game, perhaps with a modern twist. I personally prefer wedding dresses that are whimsical or subtly romantic.” She is also noted as saying how much she liked the late Carolyn Bessette Kennedy’s wedding dress, calling it “everything goals”. This seemed to be more evident in her choice of designer for her second bridal dress, worn to the evening reception at Frogmore House. The high-necked, sleeveless lily white silk gown by Stella McCartney, worn with a loose bun, is very reminiscent of Kennedy’s wedding day look, in the fluidity of the fabric and its minimalist elegance.
It wouldn’t be a bridal ensemble without something blue – and this was glimpsed on Meghan’s hand as Prince Harry drove her to their evening wedding reception at Frogmore – a large aquamarine ring that once belonged to Prince Harry’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.