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Meghan Markle wears Givenchy to the royal wedding

For her wedding to Prince Harry, Meghan Markle chose a British-born female designer.

Meghan Markle at the royal wedding.
Photo: Jonathan Brady/Getty Images

If you want to know what wedding dress styles are about to surge in popularity, look no further than Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s royal wedding at Windsor Castle. On Saturday, May 19, the new Duchess of Sussex walked down the aisle of St. George’s Chapel wearing a minimalist gown with three-quarter sleeves and a boat neck. It was designed by Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy.

Markle and Prince Harry stand at the altar holding hands.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry at St. George’s Chapel.
Photo: Dominic Lipinski/Getty Images

Markle wore Queen Mary’s diamond bandeau tiara, on loan from the queen. The lace detailing on her five-meter veil, also designed by Waight Keller, is a nod to the 53 Commonwealth countries.

Mixed in with flowers from the Commonwealth countries are wintersweet, which grows at Kensington Palace, and the California poppy — to represent Markle’s birth place, the royal website says.

An aerial photo of the ceremony, with Markle’s train streaming down the aisle.
Meghan Markle’s veil measured five meters long.
Photo: Owen Humphreys/Getty Images

In the weeks leading up to the wedding, the American and British public gobbled up every available detail about the event: the unconventional selection of an elderflower and lemon cake, Elton John’s rumored performance, the drama about whether Markle’s estranged father, who told TMZ that he can’t travel due to a recent heart attack, would attend. But despite British bookmakers’ certainty that Ralph & Russo would be making Markle’s bridal dress, the chosen designer’s identity wasn’t known until the day of the big reveal.

In 2017, British-born Waight Keller became the first female artistic director of Givenchy, the French luxury house founded in 1952 by Hubert de Givenchy. Previously, Waight Keller was the creative director of Chloé.

Of course, the Givenchy gown wasn’t Markle’s only wedding weekend look. For Saturday’s evening reception, she chose a more casual but equally minimalist Stella McCartney dress.

On Friday evening, the 36-year-old former actress arrived with her mother, Doria Ragland, at Cliveden House Hotel wearing a navy blue Roland Mouret dress (as identified by the fastidious Markle style blog Meghan’s Mirror).

Besides Ralph & Russo, which created the sheer, embroidered dress Markle wore in her engagement photos, Roland Mouret was a top guess for who would create the royal wedding dress, since the French designer is a friend of Markle’s. Other suspects included former Burberry designer and CEO Christopher Bailey, Alexander McQueen (creative director Sarah Burton was the designer of Kate Middleton’s wedding dress), Stewart Parvin (the Queen’s royal dressmaker), and Erdem (said to be staffing up significantly this spring).

Now that photos of Markle’s wedding dress are careening around the internet, bridal brands will leap into action to determine which elements of the gown they should incorporate into their latest designs. While some companies, like Floravere and David’s Bridal, told Racked that they don’t intend to create an exact replica of Markle’s dress — most brides-to-be don’t want to look like copycats, after all — they will certainly borrow the most compelling elements of Markle’s dress.

The now-married couple kisses on the steps of St. George’s Chapel.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry kiss after the ceremony.
Photo: Ben Birchall/Getty Images

The most striking facet of Markle’s Givenchy dress is how simple it is: no embroidery, no lace, no tulle. In addition to bolstering the minimalism trend in the broader fashion world, it could very well spark a run on wide necklines for the bridal market, since it offers an alternative to the now-ubiquitous off-the-shoulder look.

Markle has been a verified style influencer for some time now. Not long after she and Prince Harry got engaged in late November, clothing brands like Strathberry and Mackage started seeing traffic explode and items sell out when she wore them. (The “Markle effect” on beauty products is trickier to measure.) Markle’s selling power is wholly unsurprising, not just because we witnessed the same from Kate Middleton seven years ago, but because royals have driven fashion trends for centuries.

What did Meghan Markle wear to her first wedding?

Markle was married to producer Trevor Engelson from 2011 to 2013. For their wedding in Jamaica, she wore a strapless white dress with a sparkling belt at the waist — not far off from the second dress Kate Middleton wore at her wedding to Prince William that same year. Markle’s look, however, was significantly more casual. She and Engelson married on the beach, after all.

Okay, but what about her wedding dresses on Suits?

In season five of Suits, the USA lawyer show that she starred on from 2011 to 2018, Markle’s Rachel Zane got dumped at the altar by Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams). For that occasion, she wore a plunging embroidered gown with a princessy skirt.

Markle, in character, is wearing her first wedding dress on suits.
Meghan Markle, as Rachel Zane, almost got married on the fifth season of Suits.
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A close up of Markle’s dress.
A close-up of the first Suits wedding dress.
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In season seven, Rachel and Mike actually get married. And she wears the same dress — modified with a thin black belt.

Markle, as Zane, stands at the altar.
Meghan Markle’s Rachel Zane gets married (for real) on Suits.
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Markle, as Zane, walks down the aisle.
Rachel Zane walks down the aisle.
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