Wednesday 19 December 2018

This Irish designer's Meghan Markle-inspired dress is a runaway hit

The Duchess of Sussex arrives at Edes House, West Street, Chichester, as part of her first joint official visit to Sussex with the Duke of Sussex
The Duchess of Sussex arrives at Edes House, West Street, Chichester, as part of her first joint official visit to Sussex with the Duke of Sussex
The Duchess of Sussex during a visit to the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, East Sussex, as part of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's joint official visit to Sussex
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex at The Joff, Peacehaven Youth Centre, East Sussex, as part of their first joint official visit to Sussex
The Duchess Sussex meets young people during a visit to the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday July 14, 2018. See PA story SPORT Wimbledon. Photo credit should read: Nina Massey/PA Wire
The 'Meghan' dress, €299 by Helen McAlinden
The 'Meghan' dress, €299 by Helen McAlinden
Meghan Markle wearing Ralph Lauren at Wimbledon
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrive at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, East Sussex, as part of their first joint official visit to Sussex
Meghan Markle
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (R) and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend day twelve of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 14, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

Meghan Markle's elegant personal style is infiltrating the Irish market.

Britain's Duchess of Sussex has soared to the top of international best dressed lists over the last 12 months, scoring fashion hit after hit since announcing her engagement to husband Prince Harry last November. And it's this tour de couture she has become synonymous with that inspired a leading Irish designer to pay homage to the former actress in her autumn/winter collection.

Helen McAlinden, a Dublin-based designer who has been running her eponymous label for 17 years, recently launched the 'Meghan' dress, a teal midi dress with contrasting navy wrap detail and a modest neckline.

"We think Meghan is our style, it's a very clean type of dressing that is very much the Helen McAlinden woman," she told Independent.ie Style. "It's almost sold out. Our dresses go quickly, but this one has gone very quickly."

The 'Meghan' dress, €299 by Helen McAlinden
The 'Meghan' dress, €299 by Helen McAlinden

What is it about the duchess that exudes that famous Markle Sparkle?

"Meghan’s style is contemporary, accessible  - it's very simple and very clean. It’s kind of effortlessly expensive," she says. To get that look, the clothing doesn’t have to be expensive, just cut in a clever and simple way. You need good tailoring and knowing what works for your body shape

"People have to know what works for them."

"She wore a yellow dress a few weeks back and it was absolutely great. There's nothing fussy about how she dresses. I think she has that very nice, clean American xxx look which is completely different with what one normally associates with the royal family."

While her Givenchy wedding gown continues to polarise opinion, Helen was captivated by its simplicity.

"Her wedding dress was really reflective of that clean, elegant simplicity. I thought it was absolutely lovely. Everything she wears is so simply - she wore a tea dress to a wedding and that didn't work, but everything else she looks great in."

Meghan Markle wearing Ralph Lauren at Wimbledon
Meghan Markle wearing Ralph Lauren at Wimbledon

Another big hit this season is the 'Caroline dress', a design which Team McAlinden have "reinvented two or three times" due to popularity.

"We’re still into athleisure like trainers and leggings, but now there is more of a move towards clean, simple tailoring," Helen says.

"Meghan, Caroline and Vivenne are similar in that sort of very simple, pared back and easy to wear.

"All our fabrics have a bit of stretch in them, they look bodycon, but they're not too fitted.  We got so used to athleisure, we need our clothes to be comfortable - nobody wants to feel restricted."

Meghan Markle during her Dublin visit
Meghan Markle during her Dublin visit

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