Wedding bells will ring out for Prince Harry's girlfriend Meghan Markle before next month. The actress's Suits character Rachel Zane will tie the knot with Mike Ross in the yet-to-be-aired finale of the seventh series. The timing could not be more perfect for royal fans eager to see Harry find his happily ever after. Meghan, 36, has given an insight into the kind of dress she would choose for her own big day. "Classic and simple is the name of the game," the actress has said. "I personally prefer wedding dresses that are whimsical and subtly romantic."
With this in mind – and amid mounting excitement that a royal wedding could be right around the corner – HELLO! has commissioned eight top bridalwear designers to share their vision of Meghan as a royal bride.
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Chelsea-based designer Sassi Holford wanted to combine the formality of a royal wedding with Meghan and Harry's youthful spirits, and the glamour of Hollywood. "The dress is made from a fine tulle, hand-appliquéd on to a semi-opaque duchess organza, which gives it lightness and movement. The style is fit-and-flare to show off her curves, with gentle corseting inside. It cascades into a very full skirt. As for the colour, I've chosen a pale ivory," said Sassi. She added: "The romance is in the flowers, which are hand-pressed out of matching cloth, and there's a bit of beading to add a three-dimensional quality."
Toronto-based designer Ines Di Santo would create an ultra-feminine, figure-hugging style made of ivory Lyon lace embroidered with crystals and pearls, with a train of tulle and raised silk organza flowers and a soft blush underlay. "This gown reveals her curves in a tasteful way," said Ines. "It's an off-the-shoulder design with a low-cut back to showcase her lovely neckline and statuesque physique."
New York couturier Dennis Basso has envisioned a dress that is traditional and regal, but also contemporary and modern. The close-fitting gown, which would be paired with a sheer, cathedral-length veil, would be made with soft duchess satin. It would feature deep-pleated folds from the waistline, and pearl and Swarovski crystals across the shoulder line and the cuffs of the three-quarter sleeves. "A pattern of swirls embroidered with baby pearls and crystals sweeps across the skirt of the dress, while the crossover details at the middle accentuate her slender waist," said Dennis.
Jacques Azagury, known by many as the designer who transformed Princess Diana's style, has created a "modern but grand wedding gown". The white dress is made from tulle over organza and decorated in three-dimensional appliqué flowers in silver and white, which also cover the transparent upper body, arms and back. "The design of the skirt is quite complicated because it requires a combination of a circular and straight cut," said Jacques. "The front is slightly pleated with fullness, whereas the back is cut in circles and lightly gathered, with a one-knot bow."
Ben De Lisi's dress is about movement and flow. "The bell-shaped sleeve with soft flounces at the wrist brings a touch of femininity, while chalk-finish beads and seed pearls around the neckline create a subtle antiquing effect," said Ben. "The finishing touch is the gathered georgette train, which gives the dress grandeur."
Danish fashion designer Uffe Frank, who designed Crown Princess Mary's wedding gown, would create a "white organza dress with little embroidered silk flowers, butterflies and freshwater pearls". He added: "The train is cut short and round, and the sheerest organza veil is topped with a pearl tiara and dressed with real scented white flowers, lily of the valley and jasmine."
Stephane Rolland has designed a "clean and simple" dress, which emphasises Meghan's silhouette and slender legs. "The gown is in white crepe, which will show off her body as she walks, and the cape is made of gazar, a stiffer material," said Stephane. "I've added a royal touch in the train, which comes from the middle of the back and is appliqued with lace, while the veil is very subtle and sheer."
Toronto-based designer Nikki Yassemi has touched on Meghan's versatile style. "I envisaged a combination of a figure-hugging dress with a flowing train," she said. "I've chosen a shade between ivory and white to flatter her complexion and, while the fitted part of the gown is lace embellished with beading, the sleeves and the upper body are lace decorated in tulle, which provides coverage and preserves her modesty."