From pastel scatter cushions to the blooming floral displays, the Duchess of Sussex’s charity clothing launch was the epitome of an ‘Instagram-worthy’ event, experts have revealed.
Meghan Markle, 37, welcomed journalists and fashion insiders to the stylishly decorated rooftop of John Lewis’ flagship London store yesterday to officially unveil her five-piece Smart Set collection, which will benefit the Smart Works charity.
While royal engagements can be prone to feeling formal and staid, it appears image-conscious Meghan was keen to put her own stamp on proceedings, with hints of her signature laid-back California girl style evident in everything from the decor to the setting.
‘The event feels very casual, informal and toned down,’ Michal Kowalski, Lead Designer and Floral Engineer at Blooming Haus noted. Several added it appeared to be tailored for social media.
The aesthetic echoes another milestone event for the Duchess – the Kensington Palace launch of her Grenfell Tower charity cookbook Together in September last year, where similarly low-key – yet camera ready – touches abounded.
With the help of experts in fashion, flowers and events, FEMAIL breaks down exactly what went into making the Smart Set launch…
Contemporary and unstuffy: Anna McGregor, Director and Event Stylist at LAMP, praised the choice of the John Lewis rooftop as the setting for the launch
Big reveal: Meghan Markle, 37, welcomed journalists and fashion insiders to the stylishly decorated rooftop of John Lewis’ flagship London store to unveil her Smart Set collection
Natural fit: The Duchess, who used to run her own lifestyle blog, made sure her aesthetic was on show at the launch. Pictured, the royal waving to guests on her arrival yesterday
The event took place on the rooftop of the John Lewis flagship store in central London.
Rows of white foldaway chairs were laid out facing a raised stage where Meghan spoke alongside representatives of the four brands taking part in the Smart Set Collection: Jigsaw, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Misha Nonoo.
A vine garland with drop lights was strung across the seating area and a vase of flowers was placed on the table in front of the speakers.
‘This is a really smart set up for a clothing launch,’ said Anna McGregor, Director and Event Stylist at LAMP. ‘It is concise but stylish letting the clothing be the main focus.
She continued: ‘The rooftop setting tells you the brand is contemporary and unstuffy. It places it within its context of the city of London which also reflects the chosen brands.
‘A roof top, especially on a sunny evening as they were so lucky to get, is fun – it’s exciting and engaging and a great backdrop for this launch.’
Michal Kowalski, Lead Designer and Floral Engineer at Blooming Haus, added: ‘The fact it was organised outdoors adds to the informal and relaxed ambiance.’
Relaxed: Guests snapped photos of the £19.50 Marks & Spencer dress styled with crisp white trainers. Anna McGregor said the pairing made the dress ‘look much more current’
Professional: Stylists noted the launch had the feel of a professional Fashion Week event. Rochelle White said Meghan is ‘definitely aware’ of how she wants the brand to be received
Guests at the event could view the collection in person, with mannequins dressed in the design. Of particular note was the mannequin wearing the £19.50 dress from M&S, which was styled with crisp white trainers in a nod to current fashion.
‘I think that Meghan is very aware of how shoppers/consumers wear their fashion,’ celebrity stylist Rochelle White said.
GORGEOUS GOODIE BAG
As with any upmarket fashion launch, Meghan’s guest took home a goody bag worth £100, which included a Bobbi Brown lip tint, a cleanser, a S’well reusable water bottle and a leather card wallet on a strap, Hello reported.
Anna McGregor, Director and Event Stylist at LAMP, said goodie bags allow a brand to give more information to guests, as well as encourage posting on social media.
‘It’s also a good place to add in details of a hashtag that is being used and any information that allows guests to follow up after the event so the engagement doesn’t stop at the end of the event,’ although this does not appear to have been done for this particular event.
Anna McGregor agreed: ‘The styling of classic business clothing with trainers makes the look much more current.’
She noted the overall presentation is ‘exactly as you would expect’ for a capsule clothing launch from a full-time designer.
‘The styling is exactly as you would expect for a capsule clothing launch. An edit of the collection is present on a rail for guests to view and touch, together with brand imagery.
‘The placement of the rail and other items creates a backdrop for photographs and encourages interaction.’
Rochelle added: ‘She has taken the time to create a launch event that is very much inline with many fashion brands around fashion week.
‘She is definitely aware of how she wants her brand/ collection to be perspectives and known.’
However Susie Hasler, 36, who runs Styled By Susie, specialising in styling women whose body shapes have changed due to having children or the menopause, disagreed, and felt Meghan could have styled it to look more contemporary.
‘I would love to see them style the suit in a more contemporary way, such as adding a pair of loafers or brogues to the look,’ she said. ‘With the white blouse and heels, it looks like a 90s style office suit.’
Women’s stylist Caroline Wolf of the capsulewardrobecollection.com, agreed: ‘White won’t look good come Autumn and I’d have preferred to see one of the new square-toed shoes worn at a practical height for work.’
Photo ready: Several experts said a flower installation like the one above have become increasingly popular at events as they encourage guests to interact with the setting
In one corner of the John Lewis rooftop is this cute seating area, complete with a large faux floral display. While this was not put in by the Duchess and her team, it certainly fits in with the rest of the aesthetic.
‘These are becoming more popular in fashion and launch events,’ said Michal Kowalski.
‘Companies are looking for focal points that are Insta-friendly, where influencers and guests can take pictures in front of and share them with their community.’
Sherree Francis, luxury florist www.sherreefrancis.com, added: ‘I have noticed an increase of flowers being used for events where perhaps in the past the event organisers may not have thought of using flowers.
‘I think Instagram has given people more ideas inspiration and they are not necessarily only interested in making sure that the event is “insta friendly”.’
Creating a focal point: Inside the cabin, one wall was dedicated to informal Polaroid shots. Michal said they give the event a ‘ready-made’ aesthetic that keep things relaxed
Inside the cabin, one wall was dedicated to informal Polaroid shots.
Michal Kowalski said: ‘Photo walls (polaroid in particular) are indeed quite popular. They also give a focal and interest point and attract the attention of the guests.
‘They provide a “ready-made” aesthetic background which will encourage the guests to take more photos and share them across their channels.’