You can tell a lot about a future royal by the gown she chooses for her official engagement portrait. When the photographs of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were released this morning, Markle wore a long dress with a sheer embellished top by British designers Ralph and Russo.
The label, founded by Australians Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo (who are romantic as well as business partners), specializes in the kind of unabashedly sparkly red carpet-ready gowns usually found in Hollywood, not the British capital. The label keeps its bespoke designs exclusive by selling just one version of each garment per country.
They've dressed Angelina Jolie (she wore a Ralph and Russo suit to collect her honorary damehood from the Queen) and Gwyneth Paltrow, who wore a Ralph & Russo gown to the 2015 Oscars. In 2013, Beyoncé commissioned several Ralph and Russo outfits for her Mrs Carter world tour. Four years ago, the designers joined the the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, fashion's most exclusive club, becoming the first British brand since 1915 to officially join Paris Haute Couture Week.
BUT BACK TO MEGHAN.
As an actress, Markle clearly understands instinctively the power of a great dress when you're posing in the glare of the international spotlight. She's also unafraid to wear a ballgown for a daytime photo shoot. These photos are going to be beamed to billions of eyeballs and shared repeatedly over the coming years—and Markle clearly didn't want to choose something safe or conservative.
But proving the she understands that more is not always better, Markle's only visible jewelry was her engagement ring. Why embellish when you've got the only statement piece that truly matters?
Just as when she chose ripped jeans for her first official outing with the Prince at this summer's Invictus Games, Markle is sending a signal that her royal persona will not necessarily be demure and by-the-book. It's worth noting that unlike her future sister-in-law Kate, Markle is not in line to become the Queen of England. She has a bit more freedom to make unconventional, even sexy choices.
Markle's Ralph and Russo gown isn't available for purchase, but here are two similar looks. They might be better suited to a New Year's Eve party than an afternoon with your main squeeze, but how you wear these dresses is up to you—if Meghan Markle has taught us anything, it's to follow your bliss.
Left: Sleeveless Sequin Tulle Cocktail Dress, $8990
Right: , Embroidered-Bodice Gown, $318
*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com
*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors