Prince Harry and Meghan Markle‘s wedding reception has been revealed, every last detail on their cake has been fed to the nation and their 800-strong guest list is slowly being unpicked. But one question remains unanswered. Who is behind the royal-to-be’s wedding dress?
With less than two months to go until the big day, speculation as to who has been given the most coveted fashion role of the year is rife.
And though it is seriously unlikely that the name behind the gown will be revealed before she heads up the aisle at St George’s Chapel, there are a few hints nudging towards a certain designer or two.
From Ralph and Russo to Alexander McQueen, these are the names in the running for the top job.
Ralph & Russo: Will Meghan Markle wear a wedding dress by her go-to label?
London-based fashion house Ralph and Russo – run by husband and wife team Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo – is the front runner in the wedding dress race.
The Australian design duo have already built a close relationship with the former actress, as she has donned couture gowns by the label throughout her career.
Note: the brand was also behind the sheer embroidered gown Meghan wore in the now-famous engagement portraits.
Katie Nicholl, author of Harry: Life, Loss, and Love, told Yahoo Style UK, “There’s a lot of speculation that Ralph and Russo are going to be the design duo to create Meghan’s dress.”
She continued: “I think they could definitely be in the running. Meghan wore one of their dresses for her official engagement pictures and they do glamour like no one else, they are renowned for their high-end couture but I think reports she is spending close to £400,000 on a dress are wide of the mark; it would send out the wrong message completely.”
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And one thing is for certain, the sheer gown didn’t look out of place hung up in the 36-year-old’s protocol-breaking wardrobe.
Plus, Ralph & Russo’s the royals’ neighbour: The brand’s eight-storey headquarters just so happen to overlook Buckingham Palace. Coincidence, no?
When questioned on the rumours, a spokesperson stated: “We will be politely declining to comment on this topic.”
Watch this space.
Erdem: Will Meghan opt for an old favourite?
Markle is a self-confessed fan of Erdem having worn the label on a series of high-profile occasions. Most recently, the former actress chose a floral gown by Erdem Moralıoğlu when she joined Prince Harry at Tom Inskip and Laura Hughes-Young’s wedding in Jamaica last summer.
And Erdem has firm roots in the royal family with the Duchess of Cambridge frequently looking to the designer for sartorial assistance. Remember when she stole the spotlight in a satin gown by the label during the Scandinavian tour? Erdem is tipped to win over the nation once more on May 19. Keep an eye out…
Emilia Wickstead: Will she opt for the designer behind society brides?
Meghan Markle’s newfound royal wardrobe boasts simple silhouettes and understated hues, a hint of what may be to come.
On the royal-to-be’s style transformation, Grazia‘s digital writer Katie Rosseinsky told Yahoo Style UK: “Since the engagement announcement last year, Meghan has fine-tuned a signature style that’s all about clean lines and simple, directional shapes – there’s very little fuss or embellishment.”
So it seems likely that the 36-year-old may well look to top candidate Emilia Wickstead for assistance on the big day. After all, the New Zealand-born London-based designer has some serious connections.
Who can forget Lady Charlotte Wellesley’s ethereal wedding gown? The 27-year-old donned the cold-shoulder gown in a Spanish ceremony that wouldn’t look out of place in a fairy tale making the label a perfect fit for the upcoming royal nuptials.
“When it comes to occasion wear, Emilia Wickstead offers an elevated version of that aesthetic and has experience when it comes to creating bespoke designs for society brides (see Lady Charlotte Wellesley’s off-the-shoulder wedding gown),” Rosseinsky continued. “The fact that she’s a London Fashion Week fixture – and a confirmed favourite of Meghan’s future sister-in-law the Duchess of Cambridge – can only make her a stronger bet.”
Alexander McQueen: Will Meghan seek inspiration from the Duchess of Cambridge?
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wed on 29 April, 2011 and for the big day, Kate Middleton donned a lace gown by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen.
Unsurprisingly, the public noted the possibility of the 36-year-old seeking inspiration from her future sister-in-law and back in February, bets on McQueen designing her dress were suspended.
An influx of bets occurred at once, spurring Betfair to become suspicious.
“We previously had Ralph and Russo as the 2/1 [favourites] and there’s also been a lot of talk of Erdem as a big,” a Betfair spokesperson said in a statement. “However, we’ve now suspended this market after seeing some interesting betting on Alexander McQueen this morning who went from 16/1 to 8/1 in a very short space of time.”
They continued, “Either someone sneaky knows something, or there’s plenty of shrewd punters who are up on their fashion knowledge.”
According to royal expert Katie Nicholl, author of Harry: Life, Loss, and Love, it is possible that Meghan will seek inspiration from her future sister-in-law on the big day.
“Apparently she wants lace incorporated in the design and possibly sleeves of some sort which suggest she’s steering away from anything too slinky and going for something more conservative which would be fitting of the occasion,” Nicoll told Yahoo Style UK. “She knows that she needs to reflect the grandeur of the occasion and the venue in the dress and I am told she wants something traditional elegant and timeless.”
But would the royal-in-waiting go so far as to emulate the Duchess of Cambridge on May 19?
Nicoll added: “She’ll want to avoid going for anything too similar to Kate’s dress, and for that reason alone I’d be surprised if she’s chosen McQueen. When it comes to fashion, Meghan has her own sense of style and she’s a bit of a trail blazer. I think we’re all expecting a show stopper of a gown.”
Roland Mouret: Will Meghan Markle call up a close friend?
Markle has long been friends with Roland Mouret and the French designer recently dropped major hints that he may be the man behind her most significant look to date.
When asked if he is designing her wedding dress, the 56-year-old told WWD: “Mmm, I don’t want to say. No comment. It’s… there is no comment on that. She’s a friend. And that’s… I can’t say.”
Meanwhile, in another interview with the New York Post, the designer said, “Meghan knows really well what she likes and the main thing with Meghan is to listen to her and work in collaboration with her.”
Before adding, “I’ve already said too much.”
Now, if that’s not a hint worth taking into account then we don’t know what is…
Victoria Beckham: Will she don a Brit label?
Markle has reportedly been seeking sartorial advice from close friend Victoria Beckham since moving to the UK. According to Vanity Fair, Markle hits up the designer in regards to her royal look.
“They get along well and have been in touch recently,” a source revealed. “Meghan really likes Victoria’s style and was keen to pick her brains about pulling together a working wardrobe. She loves Victoria’s elegant but smart dresses, so expect her to wear one very soon.”
Remember, the 36-year-old chose a cashmere knit by the designer for her now-famous engagement shoot at Frogmore House before recently recycling the garment on her debut trip to Northern Ireland.
Ever since the 36-year-old dug out her engagement knit for a re-run, betting odds have been slashed. Odds on Beckham designing Markle’s gown originally stood at 16/1 but now her Ladbrokes’ odds sit pretty at 4/1.
And it wouldn’t be the first time the former Spice Girl has designed a bridal gown for a friend. Back in 2016, the 43-year-old designed all three of Eva Longoria’s wedding dresses and even helped assist on the big day. Bear in mind, the Beckham clan are well-versed in royal wedding etiquette after they donned their finest clobber for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s 2011 nuptials.
Oscar de la Renta: Will Meghan stick to her American roots?
In a move which may prove controversial, the former actress could look to American label Oscar de la Renta as a celebration of her heritage. While it would be a first for the British royal family, it could be a great way for the 36-year-old to bring personality to the big day.
And let’s not forget that the fashion house, run by Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia, is a safe bet for A-list weddings. Note: Amal Clooney donned a cold-shoulder lace gown by the design duo for her 2014 wedding to George Clooney.
The couple’s royal wedding invitations already celebrate the former actress’ heritage as American ink was used by printing firm Barnard Westwood. So it looks as though the May 19 nuptials will include a personal touch.
Misha Nonoo: Could Meghan seek sartorial help from a close friend?
Meghan has long been friends with under-the-radar designer, Misha Nonoo, who recently separated from Prince Harry’s close friend, Alexander Gilkes.
Although the fashion power player has experience in tailoring and low-key silhouettes, the designer did in fact design her own wedding dress in collaboration with Oscar de la Renta back in 2012. Having a close friend behind the bridal gown would of course add a personal touch, too.
Vera Wang: The reigning bridal connoisseur
Vera Wang is renowned for designing fairy tale-inspired gowns for the A-list pack. But will Meghan steer clear of tradition and opt for a ball gown silhouette?
Note: Victoria Beckham, the royal-in-waiting’s friend and fashion muse donned the label for her own nuptials, so the 36-year-old may look to the designer’s 1999 wedding dress for inspiration.
But with an understated taste, the label may prove too brave for the traditional ceremony.
Antonio Berardi: The man behind Meghan’s royal debut
The relationship rumour mill went into overdrive after Meghan was spotted at the Audi Polo Challenge back in May 2016, supporting Prince Harry.
And fashion fans were quick to note that the duchess-in-waiting was wearing an understated Antonio Berardi dress for the occasion.
But would Markle choose the designer for her big day? With experience in seriously covetable bridal wear, it makes sense that he may just make the final cut.
Jenny Packham: A firm royal favourite
Reigning bridal connoisseur and royal favourite, Jenny Packham, was quick to hush rumours that she is behind Meghan Markle’s wedding gown.
Having steered the Duchess of Cambridge’s maternity wardrobe, the British designer is on Buckingham Palace’s speed dial but sadly isn’t likely to be the woman behind the most coveted job of the year. But who is?
She told The Telegraph, “I have no idea what Meghan Markle will wear, and I think that’s kind of the point [with her].”
She continued: “She’s very stylish, and so you can’t predict. Whatever she chooses will be hugely influential, a royal wedding dress always is. Looking back there have been dresses that have just changed the direction of things, and it is very pivotal moments, like this, that can do it.”
The Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress, which cost a cool £150,000, kick-started the ‘Kate Effect’ after all.
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