Meghan Markle and Prince Harry announced their engagement on November 27th 2017, posing at a formal photo call at Kensington Palace’s Sunken Garden. Immediately following the announcement, the two partook in a gush-worthy interview with the BBC’s Mishal Husain in which they shared their proposal story and some intel on the ring. Now, royal wedding fans everywhere are on to the next–speculating what and who the maybe future Duchess of Sussex will wear down the aisle.
But today, it was confirmed that Clare Waight Keller, previously of Chloé and now at Givenchy, is the designer of Meghan Markle’s wedding gown. Per the announcement of the gown from the Palace, “Ms. Markle and Ms. Waight Keller worked closely together on the design. The dress epitomizes a timeless minimal elegance referencing the codes of the iconic House of Givenchy and showcasing the expert craftsmanship of its world-renowned Parisian couture atelier founded in 1952.”
True to the heritage of Givenchy, the clean lines of the gown were achieved “using six meticulously placed seams.” The gown’s focus is a graphic, “open bateau neckline that gracefully frames the shoulders and emphasizes the slender sculpted waist.” The lines of the dress are sleek and sharp, and extend towards the back via a drop waist where “the train flows in soft round folds cushioned by an underskirt in triple silk organza.” Per the announcement’s description of Waight Keller’s design, “the slim three-quarter sleeves add a note of refined modernity.”
Weeks ago, writer Omid Scobie and Us Weekly reported that Meghan has definitely narrowed down her wedding dress designer, and that fittings have begun at Kensington Palace, likely with the help of Markle’s good friend, bridal stylist Jessica Mulroney.
Sources tell me that Meghan Markle has officially picked a wedding dress designer and had her first fitting at Kensington Palace last week??
— Omid Scobie (@scobie) January 19, 2018
On May 4, 2018, The Daily Mail reported that Ralph & Russo, who designed the gown Meghan wore for her official engagement photo session with Prince Harry, would be designing Meghan’s bridal gown. The Haute Couture design duo were rumored to be designing Markle’s ceremony gown for her walk down the aisle at St. George’s Cathedral at Windsor Castle for months leading up to her wedding day. Given their role as the only haute couturiers based in London, many favored their atelier for the design of Markle’s gown. However, what no fashion speculators considered, is that Markle would head to a French house, with a British designer at its helm, for her bridal look.
Per American and British tradition, Markle will change into a second look for the day’s evening celebrations at Frogmore House, and rumors have cited Ralph & Russo, Erdem, Stella McCartney and Markle’s friends Misha Nonoo or Roland Mouret as the potential designers of her evening look. Given that Kate wore two gowns by the same designer, Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, for her wedding day, it’s possible that Waight Keller will be tapped for both looks.
Royal etiquette requires Meghan’s gown to be less expensive than the Duchess of Cambridge’s custom Alexander McQueen wedding gown, which reportedly cost £150,000, and was paid for by the Middletons. Markle’s bridal look, given that it’s completely unadorned, will no doubt cost out at a lower price point than Kate’s Chantilly lace ball gown.
On May 18, just hours after Meghan and her mother, Doria Ragland, arrived at Cliveden House (Meghan was in a stunning and sharp navy Roland Mouret look), Page Six reported that Stella McCartney may have been overlooked in the speculations, and may very well be the designer of Meghan’s wedding gown. Turns out there was a designer who was overlooked, and Clare Waight Keller surprised us all with her discretion.
Markle stands apart from most British royals in more ways than one, and royal and fashion fans everywhere expected Meghan to make a style statement with her gown. To start, she’s not British, and she had a career in the spotlight prior to her recent engagement to Harry. She’s also worn a wedding dress before, for her first marriage to producer Trevor Engelson, and for a fictional walk down the aisle on the show, Suits. Markle’s character on the hit series, Rachel Zane, donned an embroidered, plunging v-necked A-line gown by Anne Barge in the season’s Season 7 wedding episode, which was Markle’s last. She also wore the gown on the finale of Season 5, when her character almost tied the knot. That gown was sans sleeves, and featured a plunging neckline and lace embroidery.
It’s worth noting that Meghan and Harry have respectfully veered away from tradition in a number of small ways in their wedding planning–their wedding service was by far the most non-traditional wedding royals have seen in history–and Markle will likely continue to include subtle expressions to her style on her wedding day, while still respecting the values and traditions of the royal family. Her breathtakingly long veil was a nod to Princess Diana’s epic monarch-length train and veil by Elizabeth Emanuel at her wedding to Prince Charles in 1981, but her dainty nod to it brought it to present day in the most modern of ways. The veil, according to Twitter, features the flower from every commonwealth county embroidered into the trim. The bride completed her look with a filigree tiara that she loaned from the Royal Family, and originally belonged to Queen Mary.
Here comes the bride! She has had a flower from every commonwealth county embroidered on the veil #royalwedding
— Rebecca English (@RE_DailyMail) May 19, 2018
Years before meeting Harry, Markle spoke to People about her dream wedding gown, and Markle was quick to offer insight befitting of an in-the-know tastemaker thanks to her days as a lifestyle blogger for her website, The Tig. Meghan mentioned to People that she’d describe her dream look as “classic and fairytale.” She added, “classic and simple is the name of the game, perhaps with a modern twist.” Without a doubt, that is the signature style of Markle’s wedding day.
Markle also noted the celebrity she’d dream of emulating for the aisle if ever she had the chance: “Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy,” whose wedding look she described as “Everything goals.” The socialite wed John F. Kennedy Jr. in a bias cut slip gown by Narciso Rodriguez in 1996, and has been noted in fashion history as breaking ground for minimalist brides, which Markle will no doubt join her in.
A stark contrast from the mock-necked, full-skirted, long-sleeved gowns we’ve become accustomed to seeing walk down the aisle at royal weddings (we see you Catherine and Pippa), Markle does have one thing already in common with Bessette-Kennedy’s stylish legacy: she’s scored one of the world’s most eligible and lovable bachelors and been dubbed one to watch on the style front.
The Queen approved of the design of Markle’s gown in fittings, and officially when it arrived to Windsor Castle. Prince Harry, abiding by family customs, made it clear that he would not see the bride beforehand. Harry said that when it comes to the groom previewing the bride’s dress prior to the wedding, “I prefer sticking with traditions.”
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.