Meghan Markle exudes sleek style in choice of wedding dress

British designer Clare Waight Keller worked with US actress on wedding day outfit

Britain's Prince Harry has married American actress Meghan Markle in a lavish ceremony at Windsor Castle. Video: Reuters

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Royal bride Meghan Markle chose for her wedding dress a graphic open bateau three-quarter sleeve design by British designer Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy.

Choosing simplicity over decoration, the dress reflected Markle’s sleek, streamlined style.

The now crowned Duchess of Sussex arrived with her mother, Doria Ragland, in a Rolls Royce to St George’s Chapel before stepping out of the car, revealing her dress to the public.

Not breaking from her beauty routine of pinky-nude lipstick and fresh skin, Markle worn her hair in a chic bun and her veil was held in place by the Queen Mary’s diamond bandeau Tiara, lent to Ms Markle by the queen.

The veil, which was five meters long, featured hand-embroidered flowers in silk threads and organza, Each flower represented the 53 countries of the Commonwealth, united in one floral composition. Her choice will, no doubt, influence bridal trends for seasons to come.

Meghan Markle arrives for the wedding ceremony. Photograph: Brian Lawless/AFP/Getty Images
Meghan Markle arrives for the wedding ceremony. Photograph: Brian Lawless/AFP/Getty Images

Markle chose to accessorise her dress with diamond earrings and bracelet by Cartier. Her shoes were also hand-crafted by the Givenchy team made of duchess silk satin.

To add a personal touch to the wedding day, Prince Harry chose to pick several flowers from their private garden at Kensington Palace to add to the bouquet designed by florist Philippa Craddock.

Kensington Palace took to Twitter to confirm the dress designer: “Ms. Meghan Markle’s wedding dress has been designed by the acclaimed British designer, Clare Waight Keller. Ms.Waight Keller last year because the first female Artistic Director as the historic French fashion house Givenchy.”

From the moment the couple announced their engagement in November last year there was huge speculation about what the Duchess-to-be would wear.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leave St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leave St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

London-based brand Ralph & Russo was singled out as the bookie’s favourite. The Australian design-duo behind the only couture house in Britain were marked as potential candidates from the beginning with Markle choosing a sheer black with gold embellished design for the official engagement photos. But the speculative spotlight also shone upon Burberry, Erdem, Roland Mouret and Stella McCartney. 

Royal-watchers also theorised, given Markle’s American heritage, that she would eschew tradition and choose a non-UK based designer to create her bridal gown. Markle once told Glamour magazine that she had “always be a fan of couturier Elie Saab. J.Mendel is spectacular.” Givenchy was never a contender.

Predictions about the length, style and shape of the gown were also as varied as which fashion house may be designing it.

Royal brides

There seems to be no apparent signature style when it comes to royal brides. The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, for example, walked down the aisle in an Alexander McQueen designed by Sarah Burton, with a long-sleeved lace bodice and embroidered tulle veil. Princess Diana chose a ivory silk taffeta gown designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel complete with 25-foot train.

But it was Clare Waight Keller, a British designer, for French fashion house Givenchy, who has bagged the most coveted commission. The pure white colour made of double bonded silk, elegantly framed the shoulders and highlighted her sculptured waist.

According to Kensington, Ms Markle and Ms Waight Keller worked closely together on the design, stating: “Ms Markle chose to work with her for her timeless and elegant aesthetic, impeccable tailoring and, relaxed demeanour.”

It was said Ms Markle also wanted to highlight the success of a leading British talent who had now served as the creative head of three globally influential fashion houses - Pringle of Scotland, Chloe, and now Givenchy.

As the wedding lacked the same diplomatic importance as William’s and Kate’s marriage, Markle didn’t have the same obligations on her, allowing her to flex her fashion muscles with a stately but not staid choice of dress.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge smile following their marriage at Westminster Abbey in April 2011. Photograph: Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge smile following their marriage at Westminster Abbey in April 2011. Photograph: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Markle, like Middelton, represents a new breed of the British monarchy, chic and respectful of traditions but not stiflingly stuffy or conventional. Her minimal, relaxed choices are more fashion-forward than we often see from royals, laying the groundwork for the big day with her sleek, minimal personal style embodied in her choice of dress.

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