Wedding fever truly gripped the nation at the end of May, with the Royal nuptials causing frissons of excitement across the nation. It was happy news all round – according to The Guardian, the UK’s economy is forecasted a £80 million boost thanks to the Harry and Meghan effect. Britain’s heritage is already a huge draw in attracting tourists from overseas, but Meghan’s American roots are likely to prove an added plus, with figures from Visit Britain suggesting that as many as 50,000 US tourists were joining the crowds lining the streets in Windsor.
The further good news, of course, is that there was a philanthropic economic benefit resulting from the Royal wedding. Instead of gifts, Harry and Meghan requested donations be made to seven charities whose work they are passionate about. Most of the charities are fairly small, so the high profile occasion allowed a light to be shone on their work that perhaps might not be otherwise.
The British luxury industry is also predicted to see an economic uplift. Just as “the Kate effect” sees dresses worn by the Duchess sell out in hours, Meghan has inspired similar spending patterns. The Strathberry handbag she sported on a public engagement in Edinburgh sold out in just 10 minutes, while the white belted Line The Label coat she wore when the couple first announced their engagement resulted in such high demand that the brand’s website crashed (they have since re-named the coat “the Meghan” as a tribute). Brand valuation consultancy firm Brand Finance has estimated the economic benefit of “the Kate effect” (i.e. the uplift to fashion and other brands that she has worn, used or otherwise endorsed) in 2015 was over £150 million. “The Meghan effect” is likely to be even higher, due to the actress’ popularity not just in the UK, but in the US and Canada as well. According to Walpole, British luxury is still a huge selling point in the States, and a recent member survey revealed 71% of respondents agreed that “Britishness” is more important in the luxury industry than in any other sector. Brands that promote their own take on Britishness are more appealing and, if Brand Finance’s figures are anything to go by, it creates a bigger impact if the brand is worn by a Royal rather than by a “regular” celebrity.
So, on May 19th, while the focus was very much on HRH Prince Harry and his beautiful bride together as a couple, we also had our eyes glued on the bride – and what she was wearing! The rings. The shoes. And most importantly – the dress! With that in mind – and with a wedding of one of our own upcoming at The Luxury Channel – we thought we’d create a definitive go-to list inspired by the Royal Wedding. If nothing else, we hope this serves as inspiration if you’re planning a big day of your own!
She’s been walking tall in the shoe world for a few years now, so we’re thinking one of the stunning styles from Lucy Choi London. Meghan is a well-known fan of the shoes made by Lucy’s uncle – Jimmy Choo, natch – but we’re thinking it won’t be long before she opts for something designed by his niece. Lucy’s signature styles are classic, comfortable but ultimately add a little bit of fun to the occasion – which is exactly the sort of thing you’ll be seeking for your wedding day.
Whilst Meghan’s wedding band was as bespoke as her engagement ring, there are several sparklers that are simply too irresistible to pass over. Boodles have a range of romantically named rings, including the Kiss, Cupid and Harmony suites, which are not only beautiful examples of craftsmanship, but also meaningful tokens of matrimony. The Kiss rings, for instance, comprise a central diamond dramatically overlaid with a row of diamonds, creating a criss-cross effect – symbolic of how newly weds’ arms intertwine around each other. Another of our favourites from Boodles is the Three Stone Ring set, where three spectacular diamonds represent the married couple’s past, present and future together.
Boucheron is celebrating its 160th anniversary this year, but it’s a sparkling creation from a little more recently in its history (1968, to be precise) that we’re eyeing up. The captivating designs of the Maison’s Serpent Bohème rings symbolise eternity and have become well-established classics over the last half century, attracting women of character and firing their femininity. Meanwhile, the Quatre Radiant Edition rings, with pavé diamond settings, bring two different bands together – much like the joining of two people in matrimony.
Another diamond Maison celebrating an anniversary this year is De Beers, with 130 years of history to their name. The beautiful Aura Princess-cut solitaire ring is one of their latest releases, evoking the inner strength and outward confidence of a woman. The exceptional fancy-cut centre diamond of the ring exemplifies De Beers’ approach to solitaires, with hand-selection techniques ensuring only those diamonds with peerless Fire, Life and Brilliance are chosen. The perfect ring for anyone planning to pop the question this year!
Since she’s joined one of Europe’s oldest and noblest families, perhaps Meghan may be inspired by the creations of Stone Paris; the Parisian founder of which comes from a family of high nobility whose origins date back to the 15th century. One of the brand’s newest collections – the Favorite collection – was inspired by the sumptuous lifestyle of 17th century French Royalty, and is specifically named after King Louis XIV’s history-making mistresses, such as the beautiful Madame de Montespan and the clever Madame de Maintenon. Central characters in the life of the court, the “favorite” had a privileged and envied status, and the Favorite collection of rings is just as enviable.
When it comes to wedding dresses, we love anything designed by Ralph & Russo (especially since the Suits star wore one of their gowns for her official engagement pictures). Opt for something in a similar vein to Tamara Ralph’s SS18 couture bridal gown – created in off-white, the double duchess gown features a draped bodice and oval ruching, accompanied by an off-white tulle veil edged with embellished cord lace. Resonant of traditional Asian decoration, the silk satin duchesse fabric is encrusted with 3000 handcrafted 3D Swarovski jewelled leaves and 40,000 pearls. In total, over 200,000 Swarovski crystals were used for this magnificent creation, which took 30 specialist artisans over 2000 hours to make.
For an equally modern take on the bridal gown (and for something that could quite conceivably be worn post-wedding), a dress by London-based label Galvan could be a stylish choice. Best known for elegant evening dresses that boast clean lines and sleek fits, the brand has recently branched out into bridal territory in response to the rise in demand for straightforward wedding dresses that eschew the traditional meringue of old. Lord Edward Spencer-Churchill of Blenheim Palace is getting married this year too and rumour has it that Galvan will be the designer of choice for his fiancé.
With recent snaps emerging of Meghan on holiday in Italy a month after her first date with Harry, perhaps it won’t be long before she’ll stun the world with a wardrobe comprising a little Italian chic. Le Spose di Gio represents the understated elegance and sophisticated minimalism for which the Italians are so famous. Set up by sisters Giovanna and Marisa De Capitani in 1975, their backgrounds in haute couture and design has seen the company grow in both size and worldwide regard, with ateliers both across Italy, and in London. Their gorgeous gowns enhance that bride without transforming her, with chicly designed dresses available in a palette of colours. This means that Le Spose di Gio can create dresses not just for the bride, but also for her bridesmaids. Perhaps we’ll see Meghan’s closest friends – fashion stylist Jessica Mulroney, Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra, tennis ace Serena Williams and maybe even the Duchess of Cambridge – in similar floating Italian creations too. Watch this space…