Meghan Markle & Other Iconic Brides of 2018

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Some famous women seem to be really focused on their appearance. They celebrate their beauty, flaunting the best looks and fashion that money can buy, and giving us ideas on how to spend money.

But then there are others… those who are not just mannequins for fancy and expensive products. Some celebrities seem to speak directly to our hearts, maybe reminding us that everybody can be vulnerable, sharing a difficult choice, or inspiring us to be our best selves. A mere mention of their name brings a smile to our faces. Their charisma, grace, and sense of purpose in life remind us that we, too, can be charming and successful. No matter their body type, they make us feel better about our bodies.

When it comes to fashion, they inspire us to do more than just spend money and play dress-up for a party.

We’ve talked about latest trends in celebrity bridal fashion. Here, let’s talk about the most iconic celebrity brides. Let’s talk about wedding dresses that were more than just fancy and expensive garments.

Three iconic wedding dresses of 2018.

#1. Meghan Markle.

 Meghan’s meteoric rise happened right before our eyes: she went from a struggling actress, to a Suits character, to the aspirational girl next door, to the modern-day Cinderella who has graced and elevated Prince Harry with her presence.

Meghan casual via Zerchoo.jpg

Image via Zerchoo.com

What is it that makes Meghan a true icon? Perhaps it’s the determination in her pursuit of a better world. Her values guide her in her search for better opportunities for disadvantaged women, and her celebrity status gives her a platform to make a bigger difference for the causes that she cares about.

Although people pay a lot of attention to what she wears, and although many women try to emulate her style… her clothing isn’t really the first thing that you’d notice about Meghan.

It’s her thoughtful and solicitous eyes. It’s the way she’s focused on what’s in front of her. Like a true modern-day royal, her role is not about her. She brings her warm smile and visibility to important causes.

There’s another reason why her sense of fashion does not jump out at you… her wardrobe does not shout. Ever-graceful in her cozy, minimalist and practical style, Meghan favors earthy colors, sustainable fabrics and comfortable fit.

But there is more to her fashion choices. Social justice and sustainability agenda seems to be at the forefront of her purchasing decisions. She researches her brands and favors lesser-known companies with a conscience. Her public appearances often feature clothes made by brands that pay fair living wage and support women, smaller labels with minimal ecological footprint, or vegan and cruelty-free designers.

And people notice. The designers and brands she showcases achieve stellar sales.

So… on a day when a fashion icon becomes royalty, when millions of people tune in to watch, and when her choice of dress makes headlines… what kind of dress do you think she would wear?

Do you think it would be something conservative? Intricate and expensive-looking? Big and dramatic?

meghan Markle via People.com

Image via People.com

None of the above. Three words describe both dresses: minimalist, even restrained, and dignified.

Meghan does not need a single embellishment to make a statement. Together with her unassuming stud earrings, small bouquet, and her signature natural makeup, Meghan’s look is based on very deliberate choices. The sparkling white of the dress is enough to fill up the grand salle with old Hollywood glamour.

Meghan’s style here is more than minimalist. You can almost hear the rustle of this curve-hugging liquid satin with Meghan’s every step, but you wouldn’t describe the dress as cute, romantic, or warm. Anything but playful, it is a silhouette carved out of snow – soft but icy, feminine but distant. It makes her warm smile stand out. Like a delicate flower, it’s an early sign of spring among the chilly formality of the royal court.

But when a commoner, an ‘ethnically ambiguous’ person, and a woman with strong sense of social justice, walks down the aisle alone to marry into the old-fashioned institution of the royal family, she can either curtsy and try to blend in, or begin to stake her individualism and create a foundation for even greater success of her charity work. So let’s talk about how, in complete silence of the processional, Meghan’s dress introduced her as a force to be reckoned with. Let’s talk about the real statement that this dress makes. Let’s talk about about what makes it so inspirational.

In one word: Strength.

There’s nothing vulnerable about the dress. No sweetheart neckline, no exposed chest, no lace, no florals, no cutouts. The sculptural qualities give support, yet you’d have to search for a single seam. It’s unequivocally solid and strong. Speaking for a woman who stands tall (notice how the dress elongates the body and draws the eyes up to the face). A woman who knows her worth. A woman who will stand up for her opinions, her values, and for the world she wants to live in.

#2. Princess Eugenie.

Our next iconic celebrity is also royal. #9 in line to the British throne, Princess Eugenie chose a wedding dress that told a very personal story, raised awareness of a health issue, and invited self-acceptance.

When a kid develops severe scoliosis (condition that affects girls more often than boys), their spine develops this unnatural curve that may interfere with breathing, cause a lot of pain, and severely reduce the lifestyle choices that are open to most other kids. Surgery is often the only hope to alleviate the issue. It cuts open the back to insert bone material and metal rods that will hold the body straight.

hbz-princess-eugenie-via Harper's Bazaar.jpg

Image via Harper’s Bazaar

That’s how Princess Eugenie came to have a big scar on her back.  And on her wedding day, her dress, updo, and conspicuous absence of veil bared her scar for the whole world to see.

Many young kids struggle with health issues that may affect them for the rest of their lives, isolating them from their peers. A beautiful, high-profile bride, whose appearance helped normalize their experience and break down the barriers, sent a strong message of acceptance.

But there’s more. We all have scars that we try to hide. Physical or emotional, scars are living proof that we were, are, and will be vulnerable. They become part of the fabric of our daily life, reminding us that we are, in many ways, at the mercy of other people or circumstances.

That’s not an easy thought to reconcile with. Certainly on our wedding day, we want to appear perfect and feel in control.

Not Princess Eugenie. She allowed the scar to also weave itself into the fabric of the dress. The wide lapel folds of the complex layered V-neckline seem to find their continuation in the scar.

What you resist, persists. Accept and embrace, and you will win.

Some celebrities use their blogs and twitter feeds to post platitudes like ‘Be yourself’. Those are great (in fact, we have some great quotes about self-love), but I’m struck by the thought that on her wedding day, Eugenie shared the most poignant message of self-acceptance and self-love.

#3. Anna Wintour’s daughter.

Let’s stay with the royalty theme. Who’s the reigning queen of the fashion world and the ultimate arbiter of all things style?

Anna Wintour Queen via Jakarta Post

Image via The Jakarta Post

Designers fear her verdict and re-do entire collections to earn her approval. Recently, Queen Elizabeth bestowed on her the exclusive title of Dame Anna – the female equivalent of knighthood – for her services to fashion and journalism. As editor-in-chief of Vogue since 1988, she has innovated and fostered the fashion industry to remain relevant in the pop culture. Certainly anyone interested in fashion would want to hear what Anna Wintour has to say.

Oh, right, Anna Wintour did not get married. But her daughter Bee Shaffer did. And her fiancé is… the son of the former editor-in-chief of the Italian edition of Vogue. We can imagine the scrutiny Bee must deal with when it comes to her fashion choices.

Bee Shaffer Anna Wintour via Twitter.com.jpg

Image via Twitter.com

You may not have heard of Bee. Although she is a regular Met Gala guest, she uses a different last name, tends to stay out of Ms. Wintour’s limelight, and works hard to earn her own name in the journalism and entertainment business – as a segment producer with Seth Meyers’ ‘Late Night with Seth Meyers’.

So, what would think Anna Wintour’s daughter would wear for her wedding to another heir in the world of fashion?

It is well-known that Anna Wintour abhors black… but we already had a sense that black wedding dress wouldn’t be fashionable.

What other fashion guidance is there? Ms. Wintour has been quoted to say: “Create your own individual style. I’m not interested in … a head-to-toe label look that’s straight off the runway. I’m interested in a girl who puts herself together in an original independent way.”

So, what did the dress look like?

Actually, we don’t have the full information. There were two wedding celebrations – one in New York, another in Italy. And the reigning queen of the celebrity world put a strict social media & photography ban on her daughter’s first wedding celebration. When Anna Wintour says you leave your phone at home, I guess you leave your phone at home.

So there seem to be no photographs out there. I hope it’s not because she did not approve her daughter’s dress choice.

bee-shaffer-Harper's Bazaar

Picture via Harper’s Bazaar

We do know something, though. This is the picture from the second ceremony, held in Italy.

Let’s unpack Bee’s monochrome, matte and earthy look from the ground up. Open summery sandals in plain view under the ankle-length skirt. Breezy pleated skirt. Wide empire waist band. Sheer elbow-length bell sleeves. Conservative V-neckline and a large golden cross. A prominent waist-long lace veil with embroidered lilies… worn in a way reminiscent of… wait a minute…

A nun!

So, what does this Virgin Mary image – with her veil and lilies, downcast eyes and crucifix, open sandals and simple habit – have to do with a wedding celebration?

If you’re not into Catholic religion, or if you’re not a big fan of the way church tends to treat women… then perhaps not much, and that’s okay.

Because, really, it doesn’t have to be about the church and its teachings. It’s a private person making a statement about her marriage by evoking a symbol. It just so happens that a religious figure is the most readily available representation of that symbol.

Let’s start by what this symbol is not. There is no hint of glamour and luxuriousness. No sparkle, no drama, low heels, simple makeup, hair combed back in a bun. Bee’s bridal look is completely contrary to our current bridal trends… in a way that gives one a pause.

For her, a wedding is not an occasion for flamboyant, revealing looks. It’s not the time to be a princess and expect that all your wishes will come true.

Humility.jpgIt’s a day to make a promise… to yourself, to your beloved, and to whatever higher power (if any) you believe to be above you. You’re not promising to be forever beautiful, glamorous, and fun. You’re promising to forever hold each other up. You’re promising devotion. That palpable, but unspoken, willingness to put your spouse’s needs first. Not for the sake of self-denial and sacrifice. But because, with the right person, this is the only way to build something that will give your lives meaning.

“Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth, or power. Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter.” ~ Harold Kushner.

What an original, unique, thought-provoking and certainly memorable vision for a bride.

What do you think? Is there another 2018 bride whose style left a lasting impression on you? Let us know in the comments!

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