The Meghan Markle Effect
It has been almost seven years since the UK worked itself up into such a frenzy about a wedding. Then, the more traditional ceremony of William and Kate featured politicians, heads of state, celebrities, family, and friends. On Saturday, Harry and Meghan’s day was a far more glitzy affair. Sat in the choir, reserved for close family and friends, it was a who’s who of American (and a few Brits) celebrity society. Famed for her role in Suits, Meghan’s acting background has resulted in quite a few famous friends. America’s own royalty, Oprah Winfrey wore pink Stella McCartney and vintage Philip Treacy, whilst Amal Clooney (sat with some guy called George!) looked absolutely splendid in bright sunshine yellow, also by Stella McCartney.
With only one member of Meghan’s family in attendance, it was up to Harry’s family, The Mountbatten-Windsor’s, or the Royal Family to most, to showcase their fashion offerings. At Kate and Williams wedding, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie were heavily mocked for their outfits, in particular Beatrice’s lobster-esque Philip Treacy hat. Wearing Stephen Jones this time around, Beatrice’s look was far more pared back, choosing a headband instead. Likewise, Eugenie chose a simple 60’s inspired shift dress by Gainsbourg. Although Beatrice’s Roksanda Ilincic dress looked stunning and they both wore British labels, as a fan of something a bit kooky, it was disappointing that they didn’t retain some of their previous flair.
Watching the guests arrive for the ceremony is the perfect way to await the arrival of the bride with the mounting anticipation of what she will be wearing. Although an American, the pressure has been on to choose a British designer. Favourites included Ralph and Russo and Burberry. So what a glorious surprise to see her wearing Clare Waight Keller, a British designer, but one who heads up a French fashion house, Givenchy. Her dress lovingly fused modernity with romance, and whilst it suited the occasion, it still looked like something she would choose to wear. I find it telling that she has kept with the ‘must wear British’ by choosing a British designer, but has balanced this with a foreign, but famous, design house, and ultimately making the choice seem her very own. Added to that, the designer is female, a further statement of Meghan’s feminist principles.
Meghan’s dress was especially striking because of the veil. At 16.5 foot long, it glided beautifully along the steps of St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, as Harry walked beside her, creating the perfect photo opportunity. On the border of the veil the flora of all 53 Commonwealth countries had been embroidered, signifying Meghan’s commitment to both her new husband and the new role she will play in British life.
But the wedding day is not the only day that people will look at what Meghan wears. Following on from her engagement to Prince Harry, Meghan was named as one of Time magazines ‘100 Most Influential People in the World.’ Back in 2012 and 2013, Kate was part of that list, too. Looking at the impact that Kate has had, and still is having, on fashion gives us some indication of just how influential Meghan will be. We’ve had the ‘Kate effect’, now for the ‘Meghan effect’. Prior to the wedding, outfits worn by Meghan have sold out in minutes. The white belted coated that she wore to announce her engagement, by Canadian brand Line The Label, caused their site to crash, and they have since renamed it the Meghan, in her honour.
But what is most exciting for us followers of fashion, and, I hope, for Meghan, too, is that as someone with a little less responsibility than Kate, the future Queen of England, and, also, as someone who has proved that she can, and will, do things her own way and take risks, we’ll get to see fashion that is a bit more daring and empowering. Her style will continue to be critiqued. But she is well aware that she now has the sort of global platform to help change the world. My bet is that she’ll use this to her advantage, take control of it, and make a statement through it.
About Our Author: Katie Calvert's background is in fashion and textiles with a first class honours degree in Fashion Communication and Promotion and experience in trend, PR and events. She decided to take the plunge back into education in 2015 to complete a Master of Arts in Multimedia Journalism. Using these newfound skills and her love of fashion and culture, Katie has been freelance writing for over a year.