One by one, the great royal wedding unknowns have been answered. So for example, we now know that the wedding will take place in Windsor, we know that the ceremony itself will take place at St George’s Chapel, we know that Violet Cakes will create the wedding cake and just last week we learnt that Prince William would perform the role of best man.
This leaves only one major unanswered question – but possibly the biggest question of all – who will design Meghan Markle’s wedding dress.
Speculation has been mounting for several months over the commission with a variety of names suggested in the press. “Well placed sources” have insisted that first Erdem, then Christopher Bailey, then Ralph and Russo and finally Stella McCartney had won the commission.
Throughout the whole period however, Kensington Palace have remained tight lipped – and thus, despite all the well placed sources, and with the wedding less than a month away, the identity of the successful designer has still not been revealed.
City Countdown has therefore decided to assess the runners and riders:
Ralph & Russo
Who: Australian real life couple Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo
Signature style: Elegant and very feminine gowns with stately lines in a range of soft, pastel shades
Pros: Meghan Markle is known to be a big fan of the brand and the Suits actress chose one of the duo’s creations for her official engagement photos.
The company would certainly win the patriotic vote as they are based in Britain with a flagship store in London’s Mayfair.
Cons: Ralph & Russo state that they require at least six months to create a bespoke wedding dress. So, the question is – did Meghan Markle submit her order in time?!
The gossip: A loose lipped source at the firm has apparently confirmed that the royal wedding dress is definitely in production and that the public should expect something featuring lace.
Who: Are you serious?! The former Lacroix intern and Central Saint Martin’s graduate is one of the biggest names in the world of fashion with a range of impressive commissions including working on the clothes for Madonna’s Reinvention tour as well as producing garments for the Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude film Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow.
Signature style: Sustainable, ethically sourced materials and razor-sharp tailoring.
Pros: Meghan is a fan of the brand and wore one of the designer’s pieces to the Queen’s birthday concert in April.
Stella is a Brit too so alongside Ralph and Russo, she would certainly win the patriotic vote.
Cons: McCartney has never been known for the kind of fluffy and romantic garment that a royal wedding would almost certainly demand.
The gossip: McCartney has not ruled herself out of the running which translates in certain sections of the media as a virtual confession that she is designing the dress.
Designer: Christopher Bailey
Who: Bailey is the former President of legendary British fashion house Burberry. The designer is largely credited as the catalyst behind the brand’s dramatic change of fortune and subsequent transformation. Bailey officially left Burberry on the 31st March 2018 but the designer is still working as an advisor to the company and will continue to act in that capacity until the end of the year.
Signature style : urban street style with a sophisticated twist
Pros: Bailey dressed Markle on the TV show Suits. Markle has said of the clothes on the show, “I wear a lot of Burberry on the show because Rachel’s whole aesthetic is someone who comes from money and has a real classic design sensibility”.
Cons: Burberry is better known for casualwear than couture and it may be a stretch for the fashion house to create the kind of showstopper necessary to wow hard to please fashion critics on Royal Wedding day.
The gossip: Designer Henry Holland recently hinted that the British fashion house might have won the commission. He said “I would be quite excited if it was Christopher Bailey’s final bow for Burberry. I think that would be a nice thing for him to do, she’s worn for them for a long time.”
Who: Erdem Moralioglu’s star is a Canadian-Turkish fashion designer who can count the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Emma Stone Claire Foy and the Middleton sisters as fans.
Signature style: Erdem is known for his retro inspired, hyper nostalgic pieces which still manage to combine a modern twist. His latest collection took as its inspiration thirties star Adele Astaire, the sister of legendary dancer Fred Astaire. The showgirl gave up a career on the stage to marry into the British aristocracy.
Pros: Markle recently told Vanity Fair that Erdem was ‘a designer I’ve been wearing for years’ and the Suits actress wore one of the designer’s dresses to Tom Inskip and Laura Hughes-Young’s wedding in Jamaica last year.
Cons: Erdem has designed very few wedding dresses.
The gossip: Rumour has it that the designer has engaged a full-time PR manager in order to deal with the expected avalanche of inquiries that would almost certainly result from winning the royal wedding commission.
Who: Burton is the British designer currently heading up the creative team at fashion house Alexander McQueen. The brand is known the world over for its elegant garments and the fashion house famously created Kate Middleton’s wedding dress in 2011.
Signature style: dramatic, edgy designs and razor-sharp tailoring
Pros: Alexander McQueen are the Manchester United of fashion houses. When it comes to royal wedding dresses, the label has pedigree and history on its side.
Cons: Meghan Markle may decide that she wants to ‘share the love’ and use a different designer than her soon to be sister in law.
The gossip: In late February 2018 Betfair was forced to suspend betting on Alexander McQueen designing the royal Wedding dress after the brand’s odds halved overnight.