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Ralph & Russo named Royal Wedding Dress Designer by Daily Mail

By Vivian Hendriksz

May 7, 2018

London - The internet has been abuzz since London-based couture house Ralph & Russo was tipped as the Royal Wedding Dress designer for Meghan Markle's and Prince Harry's upcoming wedding at St George's Chapel in Windsor on May 19.

Speculation concerning which fashion house had been tasked to design the wedding gown previously ranged from British designer Erdem Moralioglu to Alexander McQueen and heritage fashion house Burberry. However, the Daily Mail published a front-page exclusive on Saturday, stating Ralph & Russo were creating the wedding gown Markle is set to wear during the ceremony. The tabloid cited unnamed sources that the gown will cost 100,000 pounds (135,000 USD) and will be paid for by Prince Harry and the royal family.

British haute couture label Ralph & Russo tipped as Royal Wedding Dress designer

According to the report, the gown will be "hand-stitched and heavily beaded" and Prince Harry has chosen to follow tradition by not seeing the dress until the actual wedding day. Markle will likely change into a different dress for the black-tie wedding celebration at Frogmore House, following the reception. Former Creative Director at Burberry, Christopher Bailey, is among the names listed as the designer behind Markle's second wedding dress.

Ralph & Russo, the couture house established by Australians Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo, have repeatedly declined to comment on speculation that they are the Royal Wedding Dress designers. The London-based couture house was previously named as one of the fashion houses likely to design Markle's wedding dress after the actress wore a black dress with gold leaf adornment from Ralph & Russo's Fall 2017 Haute Couture collection for her official engagement portraits with Prince Harry last year.

In addition to the report from the Daily Mail, Prince Harry was also seen leaving Ralph & Russo's offices in London Chelsea last month and part of the haute couture atelier visited the Royal School of Needlework last week and reviewed embroidery portfolios by RSN Degree students. Previously, students from the RSN helped Sarah Burton, creative director at Alexander McQueen, the team put the finishing touches on Kate Middleton's wedding gown leading up to her wedding to Prince William, which further suggest that Ralph & Russo are designing Markle's dress.

Ralph & Russo employ approximately 150 artisans, embroiderers, and dressmakers, who are based out of its atelier in Mayfair. The London-based couture house is best known for its bespoke gowns and boasts a 1,000 strong client list that includes the likes of Beyonce, Fan Bingbing, and Angelina Jolie. Founded in 2007 by the recently engaged Ralph and Russo, the couture house operates under a strict privacy policy, signing non-disclosure agreements with its influential clients. In December 2013, Ralph & Russo was accepted into the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, becoming the first British label since 1915 to be admitted into the official schedule of Paris Haute Coutre Week.

Ralph & Russo expanded into ready-to-wear last year after launching a boutique in Harrods in 2014. The couture house has also diversified its product offering by offering handbags and accessories and aims to expand into shoes and ready-to-wear menswear in the future. The haute couture house can spend up to six weeks, with 30 artisans working on a single dress, while a more elaborately embellished and embroidered gown, such as a bridal gown from their Spring/Summer 2016 collection, can take more than 60 artisans 6000 hours to create.

Photos: Ralph & Russo Lookbook, Spring 2018