In the lead-up to May’s much-anticipated wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, royal fans were all abuzz over who would be the designer chosen to imagine Markle’s historic wedding gown. Perhaps slightly less talked-about was who would get the opportunity to design her reception gown—but as happens, Stella McCartney was given said opportunity, and she indisputably knocked it out of the park.
The British designer recently opened up to Elle magazine’s September issue about the commission of a lifetime, and why she thought the former Suits actress, 37, had selected her over hundreds of other designers.
“I think Meghan chose me for reasons other than just a beautiful dress—plenty of people can do that,” McCartney told Elle. “She is not a difficult client to make look beautiful.”
Instead, McCartney said, Markle’s decision likely arose for similar, if not the same, reasons that A-listers like Oprah Winfrey and Amal Clooney had tapped her to design their head-turning wedding guest outfits: because they are all strong feminists and environmental campaigners.
“And I think, obviously, I am a British designer, but I think being a woman and being a women’s woman played a part,” the designer added. “They are all women’s women. It’s a big deal.”
McCartney has been a lifelong vegetarian and an outspoken advocate for animal rights. Her clothes, she told Elle, have always been about sustainability all the way through, from materials to wages to retail. (Amal’s stunning yellow dress, for instance, was made of sustainable viscose that McCartney said took three years to develop.)
And as such, she and Markle hit it off right away after meeting to consult about the reception gown. Since then, McCartney said, the pair have become friends, with the new Duchess of Essex reaching out to request several other pieces even prior to the wedding; McCartney designed a black coat that Markle wore to Wales in January, a dress she memorably wore to the Royal Albert Hall in April and a silk blouse that she wore (also in April) for the Anzac Day service.
“She wore other pieces of mine and we had a friendship,” McCartney said. “And then she asked me to do her second wedding dress. I was honoured and I still am.”
The designer previously told the BBC that she was very aware of the fact that Markle’s stunning floor-length halter neck white dress would be one of the last moments for the Duchess to “reflect … the joy, and the human within her” before taking on a more official role in the royal family, so she took great care to really let Markle’s personality shine.
“When you come to a wedding you don’t just go, here, this is what you’re wearing,” she said. “That person has to feel like a million dollars, they need to feel like they own it. The role that she’s taken on is very austere, it’s very serious and I think there’s a great weight that she has acquired through that and I think she takes it very seriously.”
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