As the royal wedding approaches, excitement is reaching a fever pitch.
While there’s plenty that is known about the wedding, such as where it’ll be held, and who will pay for it, other details are missing. Probably the most interesting one of these details is the dress that Meghan Markle will wear when she marries Prince Harry.
So far, absolutely no details have leaked regarding the dress whatsoever.
We don’t know what the dress will look like, how much it will cost, or even who the designer is. Safe to say, whoever is working on it is taking their confidentiality agreement very seriously.
Still, as with most things shrouded in secrecy, there are plenty of rumours flying around regarding the dress.
Who is designing Meghan Markle’s wedding dress?
As it stands, there’s no verified information available in answer to this question. However, there are a few rumours that have been floated by credible sources.
Rumoured designers include Burberry, Erdem, Stella McCartney and Roland Mouret. However, the bookies’ favourite is London-based brand Ralph & Russo.
The brand is the brainchild of Australian couple Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo. The pair also designed the dress which Markle wore in the engagement photos released by Kensington Palace in December.
Ralph & Russo exclusively make couture gowns. They company has already dressed stars like Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie for red carpet engagements.
There are 400 designers and dressmakers working for the brand, making it the biggest atelier in the world. It is also the only British fashion house recognised by the revered Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture.
While they are the bookies favourite to have designed the dress, neither Ralph nor Russo have publicly so much as hinted at their involvement. When directly asked, both declined to comment.
What are Ralph & Russo dresses like?
Ralph & Russo has an extensive collection of bridal gowns, and has dressed some of the world’s wealthiest brides.
The collections shown on its website are without fail intricate and carefully designed. The aesthetic choices often take inspiration from the natural world. Many of their designs contain floral elements and design elements based on animals.
Despite the delicate look of most of Ralph & Russo’s dresses, they are seriously complex works of fashion. On the catwalk there are often teams of people on hand to help the models turn, as the dresses are so heavily-embellished.
However, despite this, both Ralph and Russo claim their dresses are designed with wearability in mind. They could definitely pare down their extravagant designs, but considering that other favourites such as Roland Mouret already opt for simple designs, that would beg the question of why Markle would choose them in the first place.
There’s also the question of colour. While royal protocol normally dictates a white dress, with a second-time bride there’s no reason to suspect that is set in stone. When Camilla Parker-Bowles married Prince Charles in 2005 her dress was cream.
Who designed Meghan Markle’s first wedding dress?
Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that Markle’s first dress will provide much indication as to what her new dress will be like.
The soon-to-be duchess was married in 2011 to actor and producer Trevor Engelson. The pair divorced in 2013.
Markle’s first wedding took place on a beach in Jamaica. Fittingly, Markle’s dress at that occasion was a lot more casual than anything she’d wear for her marriage to Prince Harry. It was a white strapless floor-length gown, and featured a bejeweled band around the waist and a notch neckline.
That time the dress was believed to be an off-the-rack piece, not something specifically designed for her.
How much will the Meghan Markle wedding dress cost?
Again, as we don’t know who is designing the dress or what it will look like, it’s difficult to say with any certainty.
Still, rumour has it that the dress will cost around $135,000 and the royal family will foot the bill.
That might seem like a lot, but it pales in comparison to other royal wedding dresses. Kate Middleton’s wedding dress, designed by Sarah Burton from the house Of Alexander McQueen is believed to be worth around $340,000.
It’s significantly more than Harry’s mother, Princess Diana paid for her dress. David Emmanuel designed that particular gown which, in 1981, that dress was said to be worth $12,000 which is about $35,000 in 2018.
It’s also a lot more than the Queen’s wedding dress probably cost. When the Queen married Prince Phillip back in 1947 her wedding was one of the first to be televised. While the exact cost of the dress was never revealed, Netflix’s The Crown remade the dress to the exact specifications of the original and it cost around $30,000. In fact, since Britain was recovering from the second world war, Elizabeth had to use ration coupons to get the materials for her dress.
Either way, it’s significantly more than most brides pay. According to a survey of 5,000 British brides, wedding website Bridebook claims the average price a UK bride will pay for her wedding dress is £1,385 or £1,677 for London-based brides.
Even when shopping for bespoke gowns, most UK brides will only pay £2,083 on average.
Whatever happens, Markle’s eventual dress will almost certainly become an iconic item, copied and adapted by dozens of designers the world over. No doubt once the public gets a glimpse of it, we won’t stop seeing it for many years to come.