This just in! British bookies have scrambled predictions on who is designing Meghan Markle’s wedding dress by calling a halt to betting. The freeze comes after a surge of Markle fans put the Ralph & Russo team back in the lead. But today’s wagers don’t necessarily declare the winner. This is just the latest switch in a contest that continues to seesaw among the frontrunners. Ralph & Russo was leading until late February when bookies halted gambling after odds on Alexander McQueen went from 16/1 to 8/1 in a very short space of time.
Betting has been frenzied in the leadup to the May 19th wedding that unites British royalty with American actress. McQueen, Erdem, Roland Mouret, Inbal Dror, and Jenny Packham have proven to be favorites. One reputedly inside source created a stir by dropping the Burberry name, but it wasn’t clear whether he meant outgoing creative director Christopher Bailey or newly-appointed Riccardo Tisci.
There’s been speculation about other designers. Markle has named out Delphine Manivet, Christos Costarellos, Ellie Saab and J.Mendel as bridal designers she particularly liked
Reports say Markle has made her choice and she’s already had the first fitting. We won’t know the designer’s identity until the soon-to-be duchess meets her prince in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. However, the odds-on favorites have reputations that hint at just what the wedding gown will look like.
Bailey could be counted on for discreet and exclusive luxury he restored to Burberry during his 17 years at the helm of the British heritage house. Tisci, who favors lace and tulle in shades of white, ivory and powder pink, has designed phenomenal wedding gowns for celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Beyoncé.
Ralph & Russo is a groundbreaking firm founded in 2007 by husband and wife team Tamara Ralph, 36, and Michael Russo. They designed the gown Markle wore for her engagement photos with Prince Harry. Their stunning $75,000 design featured a sheer bodice, gold appliques, and cascading black tulle skirt. It was a perfect example of their glitzy, floor-sweeping dresses adorned with crystals, beads and hand embroidery.
Sarah Burton is recognized as a nature lover whose team uses the most incredible handcrafted textiles. Her Spring/Summer 2018 collection for Alexander McQueen drew inspiration from Great Dixter house in East Sussex, where flower borders were in spectacular bloom. This is how Burton described the vibe: “It was about Britishness, being in the garden, and the healing power of nature,” she said.
Any of these could be expected to take their lead from Markle’s fashion taste. Before she met Harry, Markle described her perfect wedding gown to Glamour during an interview about her Suits character Rachel’s storyline. “Classic and simple is the name of the game, perhaps with a modern twist. I personally prefer wedding dresses that are whimsical or subtly romantic,” she said in 2016. Look to the simple silk slip dress created by Narciso Rodriguez for Carolyn Bessette Kennedy.
Insiders say some details of the design will be dictated by the unique nature of the wedding.
“It is very important for the dress to fit the venue as well as the occasion,” said Sassi Holford, who designed Autumn Phillips’s gown for her 2008 wedding to the Queen’s grandson, Peter Phillips. “The grand rooms and drama of Windsor Castle and St. George’s means the dress should have enough detail to be seen from a distance, be fit for a royal wedding, and, for Meghan, incorporate the glamorous Hollywood side of her personality.”
Simple elegance or opulent splendor? Markle may not have to make the tough choice. Reportedly she will take the lead of her soon-to-be sister-in-law and choose two gowns. One will be for the ceremony and the other for the reception.
“She will have two dresses, one for the ceremony and another dress for the evening,” a source told Vanity Fair. “The plan is for her to change after the ceremony so that she can party the night away in something glamorous and less restrictive.” Expect the wedding dress to reflect tradition and elegance with sleeves and some lace.
Which designer do the clues point to? My money is on Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen. That design house can produce a spectacular creation that meets the visibility challenge posed by a very large room and at the same time demonstrates the chicness of simplicity. The proof is the gown Alexander McQueen created for Kate Middleton’s wedding to Prince William.
Markle satisfied her craving for glitz with the choice of Ralph & Russo for her engagement photos. She’ll move on to the equally spectacular but more refined display that Alexander McQueen can deliver on her own unique vision. Don’t worry about Markle fretting over any comparisons that she might be following in Kate’s footsteps. Our American princess is too strong and confident to be bothered.
Which designer do you think Markel has chosen?