Opinion

Call us haters, but we weren't fans of Meghan Markle's royal wedding dress

21 May 2018 - 14:20 By Toni Jaye Singer
The Duchess of Sussex's veil was held in place by a diamond bandeau tiara. Originally made in 1932 for Queen Mary, the focal point is a detachable brooch that dates back to 1893.
The Duchess of Sussex's veil was held in place by a diamond bandeau tiara. Originally made in 1932 for Queen Mary, the focal point is a detachable brooch that dates back to 1893.
Image: Karwai Tang/WireImage

For many of us, the most highly-anticipated moment of any royal wedding is when the bride arrives, revealing, at last, the dress that a thousand brides-to-be will imitate in the years to come.

But when Meghan Markle stepped out of the car at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on her wedding day, we were a bit underwhelmed.

Designed by Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy, Markle's white, silk cady gown featured an open bateau neckline, three-quarter-length sleeves and a flowing train. It was timeless, it was elegant ... it didn't fit properly.

And, that's our biggest gripe. Haute couture gowns are hand-sewn from start to finish and so the fit should have been impeccable. Instead the top and sleeves on Markle's dress were somewhat baggy and, as a result, the dress wasn't as flattering as it could have been — especially in the bust area.

The Duchess of Sussex's haute couture Givenchy gown should have fit like a glove.
The Duchess of Sussex's haute couture Givenchy gown should have fit like a glove.
Image: Jane Barlow/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Perhaps the new Duchess of Sussex, as many brides tend to do, lost a couple of kilos at the last minute due to wedding stress. Even so, surely eleventh-hour alterations could have be organised for the future royal?

Anyone who's watched the designer critiques on Project Runway will know that white is a particularly unforgiving colour as it shows up every minuscule sewing flaw. This is especially true when, as is the case with Markle's Givenchy gown, there's no additional embellishment to distract from fit issues.

Speaking of simplicity, we can't help but feel Markle played it a bit too safe. Perhaps she was worried that a more ornate gown would look too over-the-top when paired with her sparkling diamond bandeau tiara — on loan from the Queen — and five-metre-long statement veil.

The veil in itself was a work of art that took hundreds of hours to make; it's edged with hand-embroidered flowers representing all 53 countries of the Commonwealth, including a protea for South Africa. (Apparently the artisans responsible for the embroidery washed their hands every 30 minutes to keep the tulle and threads pristine.)

From the back, the combined effect of the train of Markle's gown and veil was absolutely stunning. But, from the front, the overall look was, dare we say it, rather plain and boring.

The combined effect of the train of Meghan Markle's wedding gown and five-metre-long veil was beautiful.
The combined effect of the train of Meghan Markle's wedding gown and five-metre-long veil was beautiful.
Image: Andrew Matthews/WPA Pool/Getty Images

That said, Markle redeemed herself in the fashion stakes with her choice of second wedding dress, which she wore to her evening reception at Frogmore House.

Designed by Stella McCartney, this high-necked, silk crepe gown managed to hit the sweet spot between being modest and modern, sophisticated and sexy and, most importantly, it fit her beautifully.


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