Meghan Markle made quite the statement as she arrived at close friend Misha Nonoo’s wedding, breaking away from tradition by wearing a black gown that cost a staggering $13,500.
The Duchess of Sussex, 38, was seen wearing a sheer puff-sleeve embroidered tulle gown by Valentino as she arrived at the Villa Aurelia alongside Prince Harry, 35, for their friend’s wedding this evening.
To complement the gown, Meghan wore her dark hair pinned up in a low chiffon bun with loose tendrils curling around her chin, revealing glittering gold earrings. However, although her beauty look was certainly stunning, it was the choice of dress that stole the show – and not for entirely positive reasons.
Stylist Lucas Armitage told FEMAIL that Meghan’s choice to wear black was ‘shocking’, explaining: ‘Wedding guests usually shun black in favor of a more complimentary color to pair with white…
‘Meghan isn’t one for playing by etiquette as we well know but even for her this is fairly shocking.’
Meghan Markle, 38, broke away from tradition and donned black to close friend Misha Nonoo’s wedding, a move stylist Lucas Armitage branded as ‘fairly shocking’
The Valentino dress chosen by Meghan for the occasion cost a staggering $13,500, with the price in the UK set slightly lower at £8,900, likely as a result of differing import duties
Meghan’s dress featured a sheer long-sleeved top with a spaghetti strap lining underneath, and the overlay had metallic embellishments across much of the design
The Valentino dress is completely sheer, and features puffed three-quarter sleeves, as well as a built-in slip to protect the wearer’s modesty
It may well be that Meghan was taking style cues from the opposite side of the pond, where it is seen as being far more acceptable to wear black to a wedding ceremony, particularly if the event takes place in the evening, as Misha and Mikey’s nuptials are.
In fact, model Karlie Kloss, who is based in New York and is married to Joshua Kushner, one of groom Mikey Hess’s best friends, also opted for a black gown for the event, wowing in a chic sleeveless number as she arrived at the event.
Roman Abramovich’s ex Dasha Zhukova – who is now engaged to billionaire shipping heir Stavros Niarchos III – was also pictured arriving at the ceremony in a black dress.
However, coupled with the extravagant price of Meghan’s gown, it is easy to see why the outfit choice has been branded so ‘shocking’ by British experts – with black seen as being much more taboo when it comes to wedding guest dresses.
Stylist Lucas noted that the Duchess looked particularly ‘on trend’ in the ensemble, and he added that she appeared to be channeling a particularly popular trend from couture catwalks, which many people have yet to implement in their wardrobes.
He explained: ‘Black sheer garments have been seen all over catwalk for the season ahead so Meghan is riding the crest of the trend wave early.
‘The slightly OTT jewelry is also tapping into the eclectic accessory trend we are seeing coming through.
‘Proving she isn’t a slave to fashion Meghan perfectly distills the catwalk into her own brand of on trend chic.’
Interestingly, the price of the gown actually differs depending on where it was purchased; in the US, the dress costs a whopping $13,500, while the same website – fashion e-tailer Modesens – offers it to British customers for £8,900, likely as a result of increased import duties for customers who are further afield.
Meghan’s dress features sequin embellishments across the sheer overlay, with the silver elements arranged in elegant wavy lines down the length of the dress
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex beamed as they arrived at the decadent wedding venue in Rome earlier today
The Duchess was seen beaming as she entered the wedding venue in her floor length black gown
The Duchess turned to walk into the wedding venue, revealing the delicate detailing on the back of her gown
The dress, which is made from embellished tulle with sequin embellishments, would certainly not have been out of place on a Hollywood carpet – which, given the A-list guest list at the wedding – is not a world away from the arrivals area at the event.
Meghan’s choice of gown also had a rather risque element to it courtesy of the completely sheer overlay, which is coupled with a built-in spaghetti strap slip to protect the wearer’s modesty.
To complete her controversial look for the ceremony, Meghan added a small red box clutch, and wore a pair of gold feather-shaped earrings, which were on full display thanks to her chic updo.
Interestingly, stylist Susie Hasler, of Styled By Susie, suggested that Meghan may have worn the black dress in order to ‘redirect the spotlight’ from herself and ensure that all eyes remained on the bride and groom.
‘Wearing black is the perfect way for Meghan to redirect the spotlight away from her, so she doesn’t get accused of stealing the bride’s thunder.
Black is a clever color to use so that she can merge into the background,’ she told FEMAIL, adding: ‘A lot of my clients use it so they can hide away.
‘If the Duchess had turned up in a bright red dress, for example, she would have been accused of attention-grabbing. Black is a good choice for being unassuming.’
Susie also noted that black has become much more acceptable as a color choice for weddings, explaining that, provided guests don’t opt for white, they can ‘wear anything’ they like.
‘Meghan’s choice ticks a number of fashion boxes, including sitting well with her classic, timeless style,’ she concluded.
The notion that Meghan would want to ensure all focus was on the bride for the evening is certainly in keeping with the ladies’ close friendship. Misha and the Duchess of Sussex are known to have been friends for years, and it is believed that the designer was the one who set Harry and Meghan up on their first date.
Matching: Meghan was not the only one who wore black to the ceremony – both Karlie Kloss (left) and Dasha Zhukova (center) donned dark gowns for the wedding
The Duchess of Sussex swept her hair back into a neat bun revealing glittering gold stud earrings
Prince Harry, 25, appeared overjoyed to be attending the wedding for Misha, who is rumoured to have been the matchmaker between he and Meghan
Whatever the reason for her choice, it’s likely that the dress’s sky-high price tag will not sit well with critics of the Duchess of Sussex’s spending habits.
Earlier this year, she came under heavy criticism over a New York-based baby shower that was held in her honor, with the total cost of the multi-day trip, including the private jet travel to and from the Big Apple, coming in at an estimated $500,000.
Since then, Meghan and Prince Harry, who are both outspoken environmentalists, have come under fire for their use of private jets as a preferred mode of transport, although they are understood to have flown on a commercial flight in order to get to Rome for the wedding.
Meghan and Misha have been friends for years, with the clothing designer rumored to have been the one to introduce the royal couple
It is not the first time that Meghan’s wardrobe costs have raised eyebrows either.
The outfit is actually reminiscent of several worn by the Duchess of Sussex, and may be a nod to her engagement photoshoot with Prince Harry, in which she wowed in a one-of-a-kind sheer couture dress worth a whopping £56,000 ($75,000).
And more recently she donned a stunning £3,454 ($4,300) mid-length black gown by designer Jason Wu for the European premiere of the Lion King, which featured a sheer panel across the top of the bodice and sleeves.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived in the Italian capital on Thursday to attend the nuptials of designer friend, who is rumored to have set-up the royals’ first blind date in July 2016.
Meanwhile, blushing bride Misha, who designed her own wedding dress, arrived at the venue shortly before Prince Harry and Meghan, riding in a golf buggy through the gates of the villa alongside close friend Princess Eugenie.
Around 200 guests wearing black tie or gowns will attend the grand property in the west of Roman property close to the Vatican, which has a giant terrace, ball room and dining room served with Michelin-star quality food from its kitchen.
The Villa Aurelia, one of the most prestigious wedding venues in all of Italy, is available for rent for around £20,000 ($24,700) per day not including food, wine or flowers.