How To Avoid a Baggy, Wrinkled Dress; Distracting Flyaways; and Barely-There Makeup on Your Wedding Day
By Gigi Anders and Victoria Stiles
Last Saturday, at 11:45 a.m. local English time, Meghan Markle emerged from a Merlot red vintage Rolls-Royce Phantom IV to marry Prince Harry in Windsor Castle. What a dream! We longed for her to have and impart That Magic Moment. That singular kind of moment where you literally gasp, stunned by the glorious vision of royal bridal beauty.
We got “Working Girl” instead. There’s a scene in that movie where Cyn, (Joan Cusack), beholds her friend Tess (Melanie Griffith) dressed in her boss’s black cocktail dress, and remarks, “It needs some bows or something!”
There’s elegance and charm to simplicity – witness the impeccable (and bow-less) Stella McCartney silk crepe backless white halter dress Meghan wore to her wedding reception – where the right color, silhouette, and fabric choice can and did make all the difference in the world. This springtime-appropriate dress had a lush lightness, fluid movement, and rich youthfulness with a refined touch of sexy that flattered the new Duchess from every angle. With Meagan’s hair now turned into An Actual Hairstyle and fresh makeup applied and fine-tuned, she was a total rock star.
“The after-ceremony/first public kiss image was impeccable,” says Victoria, More Lovely’s Makeup Artistry Advisor. She’s styled more than 500 brides’ hair and makeup throughout her celebrity career. “Hair was softened and fixed the way it should be – perfectly piecey. Makeup was lovely. The eyes were darker and lined, there was more color on the cheeks, and the lips popped.”
Victoria notes that during the newly-married couple’s five-mile horse drawncarriage ride through the town of Windsor, sunlight bounced on to Meghan’s face as if from an anti-glare whiteboard used in professional photography.Except in this case, Meghan was wearing her own whiteboard.
“What I was seeing was the reflection off of the mounds of heavy white drapery from her dress,” Victoria says. “That thing had so much fabric it was actually helping to light her face.”
And about The Dress. Katy Perry told Entertainment Tonight, “I would have done one more fitting.” Personally, we would have skipped that fitting and gone Alice Temperley (feminine and BoHo but Queen-approvable), Charlie Brear (delicateand luxe), Elie Saab (couture opulence fit for a town or country royal),or Phillipa Lepley (bespoke wistful timelessness).
“The Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy silhouette was okay but the silk cady [slightly fulled silk fabric] with a triple silk organza underskirt was far too heavy and stiff,” says Victoria. “It almost swallowed Meghan’s tiny frame. Something needed to happen here to lighten it up a bit because it leaned matronly. Either the baggy sleeves should have been shortened and tightened, or been sheer. Or the entire fabric needed to be easier, finer, or lacier. This dress also wrinkled in the midriff from sitting in the car. I’m surprised they didn’t rehearse that.”
It might have looked fabulous in person, but since most of us saw it on TV and online, The Dress did not translate. It had no focal point. It was too simple and blobby. It looked confining, like a straightjacket. In such a grand chapel as Windsor, you need a grand and seasonally appropriate dress.
Had she been lured out of styling retirement, designer and former stylist to the stars Rachel Zoe would have undoubtedly chosen something cooler, more romantic, and ethereal for the bride -- and it wouldn’t have cost a reported $340,000, a figure that makes Vera Wang look like Filene’s Basement.
When we saw random strands tucked behind Meghan’s ears and one stray clinging to the left side of her shiny forehead, we were confused. Strays is not a style. Indeed, note Meghan’s bun evolution: This week, it was controlled, sleek, and shiny for her first royal outing as a Duchess.
“I love that she chose to go up for the ceremony,” says Victoria. “But since she did go up, I wish it was styled cleaner. Throughout the ceremony she kept swiping the piece on her left side behind her ear. It was distracting to her I'm sure, as well as to me, the viewer. There was also one single strand stuck across her forehead. I wanted to jump into my TV to fix it.”
As for the makeup, we weren’t into it. Meghan’s makeup artist Daniel Martin, a Dior brand ambassador, is a bonafide celebrity artist, experienced with magazine covers and red carpets, where the makeup has to last about two hours, max. But bridal expertise is a different skill set.
“As the center of attention, Meghan had to be bullet-proof from the moment she left her room to her arrival at the ceremony site,” Victoria says. “During that car ride, she couldn’t touch her face or her lips because she’s being photographed the entire time. She needed more coverage and color to withstand that ride. Even with the A.C. blasting, the skin absorbs the makeup and brides arenervous.”
After the ceremony, it was clear Meghan had been cleaned up and touched up, which is why she looked fresher and so much more radiant in the carriage. Had Meghan worked with Gucci Westman or Fiona Stiles (no relation to Victoria), both of whom are wedding day vets, it would have been a different story.
So. What have we learned?
1.) Choose a wedding dress that trulyflatters your figure from every angle. Steer clear of heavy, old-making fabrics, even if you’re skinny. Practice sitting in your dress for a while to see if or how much it crinkles. Remember that the dress may look right in person but wrong in pictures, and vice-versa. Always select flowy fabrics withlightness and movement.
3.) Wedding day makeup has to go the longest distance. Be sure you schedule time to get touched up once you get shiny and your cheeks and lips start disappearing. Freckles are cute but they’re really sun damage. No babies are born with them. It’s fine to be proud of your sun spots, but keep your complexion otherwise smooth and flawless with the right foundation and powder. You can still be yourself and be “natural.”
In the immortal words of Mama Cubana: “ʽNaturalʼ ees how joo look when joo first wake up. Dat needs to be addressed eef joo plan to go outside.”