The world is waiting with bated breath to see what Meghan Markle will wear when she marries Prince Harry at Windsor Castle on Saturday. Fashion designers will be paying particularly close attention, since Markle’s dress has the potential to influence the US bridal industry and spark an uptick in sales for the $32 billion wedding dress market.
Markle, 36, is different from previous royal brides, namely she’s American and an actress. Fashion designer Madeline Gardner of New York’s Morilee expects Markle’s dress to be less conservative than the dress her soon-to-be sister-in-law Kate Middleton wore when she married Prince William in 2011.
“I have a feeling she’s going to push the envelope just a little bit,” she said in the video above. Gardner sketched her vision for what Markle might wear: “A sheer illusion bateau neckline would look lovely on her,” says Gardner. “With a sleeve, but with delicate lace or embroidery, and a lot of dimension to the dress.”
Gardner concedes that Markle will most likely have to stick with tradition and be slightly covered up. She envisions a dress made of Chantilly lace with hand-stitched embroidery.
“I would love it if she had a big beautiful overskirt that she could take off later and reveal something a little more form fitting to show off her fabulous figure.”
While millions will witness Markle walking down the aisle with Prince Harry, Gardner will be fast at work, “I’ll be sketching her dress while watching the wedding.” Gardner did the same thing for the Duchess of Cambridge’s dress.
For brides-to-be wanting to get the Markle look, Gardner’s replica dress is expected to be available in about a week, for a much more palatable price than the reported $135,000 Markle’s dress is expected to cost. Gardner says her knockoff will most likely retail for between $1,299 and $1,500.
The Daily Mail reports that Markle has chosen the British fashion house Ralph and Russo to make her wedding dress. The British label, which made Markle’s show-stopping sheer engagement dress, is known for its hand-stitched couture gowns. Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow are among the high-profile names who have worn Ralph and Russo dresses on the red carpet.
While brides may not want a look-a-like dress, elements of the gown could influence bridal fashion over a period of time. Gardner points out that Kate Middleton’s wedding dress led to a resurgence in the sheer, long-sleeved look. “Before that, we were basically selling strapless dresses, all the time,” says Gardner.
Gardner noted that Princess Diana’s gown for her nuptials with Prince Charles in 1981 sparked requests for puffy sleeves and bows from brides-to-be.
Royal watchers will also be looking to see if Markle’s wedding attire gives a nod to the People’s Princess. There are rumors that she may wear one of Diana’s prized tiaras.