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On May 19, 2018, the world watched Meghan Markle wed Prince Harry in a minimalist silk gown with a bateau neckline, three-quarter-length sleeves and an organza skirt with a fitted waist by Clare Waight Keller, artistic director of Givenchy; afterward, she stepped out for the reception in a silk crepe gown with a high neckline and low back by Stella McCartney. Less than a year later, the impact of this global fashion moment can still be seen in bridal designs, as witnessed at the latest Bridal Fashion Week that wrapped earlier this week in New York.
The influences started more prominently in October 2018, when designers showed their fall 2019 collections at Bridal Fashion Week and many styles mirrored the Duchess of Sussex’s sartorial choices. Gowns by designers such as Savannah Miller, Theia, Elizabeth Fillmore and Isabelle Armstrong have marked details that allude to the clean silhouette and high neckline of Markle’s classic, minimalist gown.
Fast-forward to the current showing of spring 2020 collections in New York, and the wave of the Meghan Markle effect continues.
“There is an influence from Meghan Markle in that some brides are looking for a clean, timeless look,” said L.A.-based fashion designer Monique Lhuillier, who dressed Reese Witherspoon for her 2011 wedding to Jim Toth. “However, a lot of brides do tend to want to be more individual in their style, hence why the versatility of a jacket or overskirt that can be removed after the ceremony is appealing to many.”
She continued: “A clean, timeless look with a modern take, such as our Queen gown, which is more open on top and has a dropped waist to better show off the figure, is a modern way to take on this trend.”
For spring 2020, New York-based fashion designer Sareh Nouri (known for her couture bridal gowns and sashes) debuted a simple gown that featured long sleeves and a bateau neckline.
Modern sophistication built off a modern structure describes DIANA. #sarehnouri #nybfw #bfw #NYC #spring2020 Designer: Sareh Nouri Photographer: @manizarrin Film: @rodinhamidi Hair & Makeup : @samanthaagostinomakeup Headpieces : @parisbydebramoreland Floral : @lauraclaredesign #luxurydesigner #fashionbook #2020spring #royalcollection #nybfw2019 #nybridalmarket #bridalmarket #nybridalweek #newyork #weddingdress #luxurywedding #sophisticatedstyle #bridal #bridalgown #bridalstory #ido #brides #bride #2019bride #isaidyes #weddingdat #bridalbook #signaturestyle #bridalstyle #bridalfashion
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Others chose to follow the minimalism trend while showing a bit of skin. Nouvelle Amsale, the bridal line by New York designer Amsale Aberra, presented a long-sleeve, floor-length gown with a plunging neckline.
Fashion designer Reem Acra — a favorite of Hollywood actresses Regina Hall, Isla Fisher and Melissa McCarthy — sent a model down the spring 2020 runway in an austere sleeveless dress with a plunging neckline, finished with elbow-length gloves for a more covered look.
In other news surrounding the Duchess of Sussex’s iconic dress, Keller was named to the TIME 100 list of most influential people that was unveiled earlier this week. In the Time article, actress Julianne Moore wrote: “Clare stood out because she learned the business so successfully and artfully, and because her clothes reflected the innately human and beautiful. Clare’s simple wedding gown for Meghan Markle was exactly that — a reflection of the lovely and modern young woman who just happens to be a 21st-century princess.”
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