Elegance and a touch of royal rebellion: the meaning behind Meghan Markle's first post-honeymoon look
When Meghan Markle made her first public appearance mere days after her wedding, it seemed that her wardrobe had been quickly 'duchessified'.
Gone were the bare arms and legs and messy bun she'd favoured pre-marriage, replaced with tights, a demure dress and sleek updo for a garden party celebrating her father-in-law Prince Charles' 70th birthday.
One honeymoon later, the duchess appeared at her first Trooping the Colour on Saturday in a look which confirmed that her royal look, in case we were in any doubt, will be compiled on her own terms. Her's is a 21st century take on elegance which looks as pristine as is expected in her new royal role, but which also pushes some of the unspoken rules of the regal dress code.
Most notable is how Meghan's pale pink top dips off her shoulders in an exaggerated version of the bateau neckline which Givenchy's Clare Waight Keller used to timelessly sophisticated effect on her bridal gown. The cut looks chic but reveals more decolletage than the Buckingham Palace balcony has likely ever seen.
The origins of Meghan's co-ordinating top and skirt are also interesting; the outfit is by Carolina Herrera, the Queen of American fashion who made her name making poised but glamorous clothes for monied women, often combining ease with flair- a crisp, popped-collar white shirt and decorative skirt is a signature personal look.
The duchess wore a black and white tulle ballgown by Herrera for a feature with Vanity Fair in September 2017 when she publicly declared her love for Harry for the first time.
Herrera recently stepped back from creative director duties at her label, so it's likely that the duchess's blush pink, button-detailed look is a custom-design by Wes Gordon, the 31 year-old who taken over at the helm of Herrera after establishing a quiet reputation for his modern take on Park Avenue Princess dressing with his eponymous label.
While the Duchess of Cambridge mostly prefers to stick with British designers, especially for events like Trooping the Colour (she wore a new Alexander McQueen dress for this year's ceremony), Meghan's decision to wear American indicates a determination to stay loyal to designers from her homeland. For her wedding, she asked Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia, Gordon's contemporaries and creative directors at Oscar de la Renta, to make her mother Doria Ragland's outfit.
There was no messy bun on display at Trooping the Colour, but Meghan did wear her hair down and slightly tousled so that it fluttered in the breeze and looked far more carefree than the highly coiffed look she sported at her last appearence. She topped her relaxed blow dry with a straw saucer hat by Phillip Treacy.
The Duchess of Sussex's Herrera co-ord came in a similar subtle blush hue to the Goat style she wore for Prince Charles' garden party; the shade is flattering against her dark skin tone and chimes with minimalist approach she appears to favour, mostly opting for neutrals over the bright, eye-catching colours loved by the Queen.
Next Thursday, the duchess will accompany the Queen on a visit to Cheshire, their first joint engagement. In the visits which she carried out with Harry before their wedding, Meghan wore trousers, relaxed trench coats, M&S jumpers and laidback dresses from a mix of British, Canadian and American labels. It will be a litmus test for how far she plans to push her overhaul of royal style rules.