When the future Duchess of Sussex stepped out to wed Prince Harry, her bridal look was undeniably simple, classic, and timelessly elegant. The feminine exposure of her collarbones left plenty to the imagination, while the long sleeves kept the modesty level up to Queen Elizabeth II’s dress code.
The simplicity of Meghan Markle’s dress gave the impression that it was likely an economical choice, but that could not be further from the truth. Follow along to learn the real reasons why her dress is estimated to cost way more than $200,000.
1. It was designed by British designer Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy
- Keller has also designed for Chloe and Pringle of Scotland.
Clare Waight Keller’s resume speaks for itself. The British designer received a bachelor’s in fashion from Ravensbourne College of Art, followed up by a graduate degree in knitwear from the Royal College of Art. Her career is ornamented with employment at some of the most renowned fashion houses in the world — Pringle of Scotland, Chloe, and Givenchy.
Markle’s choice to use Keller hinged greatly on supporting an accomplished British designer, in addition to a successful and strong woman. Keller has achieved huge successes in her career all while balancing being motherhood and marriage.
Next: The cost of the Midas touch
2. The haute couture touch isn’t cheap
- According to French law, only select fashion houses are permitted to use the term haute couture.
Haute couture, which means high-sewing, is expensive for numerous reasons. Legally speaking, haute couture cannot be sewn into any label. Instead, fashion houses are regulated by the French Ministry of Industry and the Fédération Française de la Couture and must all bow down to very strict rules and regulations.
Next: The rules for being couture.
3. Every piece of the dress was made-to-measure
- Markle had eight wedding dress fittings prior to the big day.
One of the requirements of haute couture is making sure every piece of clothing is made-to-measure, requiring more than one personal fitting. Secondly, the design house is required to have a staff of at least 20 individuals working full-time in Paris. Furthermore, each house must produce two full lines per year that encompass both evening wear and day wear. The overhead associated with these requirements alone immediately drive up the price point of every piece.
Next: The details of Markle’s wedding day look
4. The attention to detail for Markle’s look
- It took 3,900 hours to make Markle’s dress, according to The Cut.
Many viewers argued that Markle’s dress was either too plain Jane or absolutely perfect. However, the common denominator was that her wedding dress lacked the detail associated with a princess gown. In comparison to Kate Middleton’s dress, this is true. However, every detail and every seam stitched was carried out precisely for Markle’s body.
Next: The material of the dress is quite pricey.
5. The triple silk organza
- The triple silk organza that made up the underskirt of Markle’s dress was very expensive.
The cost of wedding dresses, much less the fabrics used, never cease to amaze. In Markle’s case, the triple silk organza that created the underskirt of her wedding dress immediately drove up the cost. For reference, the least expensive silk organza runs a minimum of $15 per yard. Dawn Del Russo, the founder of Bella Dawn, told Time, “Haute couture gowns like this can be priced as high as $340,000. Safe to say her couture designer gown that will be marked in history is in the hundreds of thousands.”
Next: What about her veil?
6. Her veil was made of silk tulle with hand-embroidered flower
- The 16-foot veil was hand-embroidered.
Markle’s veil was an equally popular topic of conversation. Handcrafted out of silk tulle, the veil depicted every flower from all 53 countries of the British Commonwealth. The craftswomanship that went into creating this 16-foot veil required every seamstress to repeatedly wash their hands every half hour.
Next: How does Middleton’s dress compare?
7. Her dress was more expensive than Kate Middleton’s
- Kate Middleton’s dress cost an estimated $330,000.
Despite the intricate detail found on the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding gown, it appears to be a toss-up as to whose was more expensive. Although no hard numbers have been provided, Middleton’s dress, designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, was estimated to cost over $330,000. Markle’s, on the other hand, is estimated to have cost closer to $500,000.
Next: What about the second dress?
8. The reception dress
- Stella McCartney designed the reception dress.
Rumors of exactly which designer would be taking on Markle’s wedding gown flew around for months with Stella McCartney being the lead contender. While viewers were surprised to learn McCartney didn’t lead the initial charge, they were delighted to learn she did design Markle’s second dress. The Duchess slipped into the high-neck silk crepe halter before heading off for her evening reception. The cost, however, is still unknown.