All the Hidden Messages in Meghan Markle's Baby Debut Dress
The Duchess of Sussex's Wales Bonner trench is loaded with symbolism.
The moment has arrived: Baby Sussex has made his official public debut!
The newborn and his radiant (and surely very tired) parents, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, stood in Windsor Castle for Baby Sussex’s first public foray into royal life (of which there will be many, many more in the years to come).
Markle’s appearance marked a major milestone as well: her first public outing as a mom. The Duchess of Sussex cradled the baby boy in a sleeveless white dress tied at the waist, her dark locks worn down in relaxed waves, a pair of neutral Manolo Blahnik suede pumps ($665; saksfifthavenue.com) on her feet, along with a Jennifer Meyer Jewelry necklace ($750; net-a-porter.com).
Initial reports said that her dress was designed by Clare Waight Keller of Givenchy, which would be a callback to her wedding gown. However, the dress is actually by 4-year-old British label Wales Bonner, the brand confirmed to InStyle. Meghan has worn British designers like Victoria Beckham and Barbour before, but opting for a black British designer is a significant signal that as Meghan is proudly fusing her own identity into her role with the royal family.
Grace Wales Bonner, the designer behind the label, is also the winner of the 2019 BFC/Vogue Fashion Prize — meaning Markle is keeping up with the hottest fashion industry news. "Wales Bonner is one of the most promising creatives in the world right now,” said Caroline Rush, chief executive officer of the British Fashion Council, told WWD.
The look seems to be a bit of a departure from royal motherhood debuts of years past. Meghan's white dress is a little less conservative than what Kate Middleton and Princess Diana wore when debuting their children. And as some people have pointed out, Meghan's dress seems to emphasize the fact that her stomach hasn't become flat immediately after giving birth — rather skimming over her stomach like an empire waist dress might — perhaps giving people a more realistic look at postpartum bodies.
The trench dress is a familiar look for the duchess — she once wore a sleeveless trench dress by Canadian brand NONIE to visit Canada House in London with Prince Harry. She also wore a sleeveless white coat dress while visiting students and professionals in Wellington, New Zealand’s film and creative industries center last year.
The white coat seems to be a reoccurring theme for big milestones for the Duchess of Sussex. She also wore a white Line the Label wrap coat during the press conference announcing her engagement to Prince Harry.
When Kate Middleton welcomed Prince George in 2013, she greeted the public in a fittingly baby blue polka dot empire waist Jenny Packham dress hitting above the knee. Her hair still looked every bit its perfect self. She paired the casual dress with a set of comfortable (though notoriously unapproved by the Queen) white wedges.
When Princess Diana welcomed her firstborn, William, in 1982, she also wore polka dots, in the form of an emerald green muumuu with a white pussy bow tied around the collar.
Meghan and Harry, of course, broke royal tradition by deciding not to stand for a royal photo opp outside the hospital. In a statement released by Buckingham Palace, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said that they would only be sharing the news “once they have had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family.”
Thus far, at least, Meghan seems to be bucking tradition when it comes to motherhood.