How Meghan Markle "couldn’t have looked more sophisticated or graceful" in her red caped dress, says the designer

By Monique Jessen
March 10, 2020 10:41 AM
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When Meghan Markle attended her last evening event as a member of the royal family, she went for all-out glamour — and then some.

Wearing a dress by the British label Safiyaa to the Mountbatten Music Festival with Prince Harry on Saturday night, Meghan wore head-to-red in a striking caped dress. “It was a moment that will go down in history,” founder of the label, Daniela Karnuts tells PEOPLE from her Mayfair atelier. “It exuded power, femininity and elegance — it really emphasized her personality and what she stands for.”

On why Meghan chose this particular “Kalika” floor-length dress, a chic sculptural design which retails for $1,696 and comes complete with a detachable shoulder cape for one of her final royal engagements, the designer says the former actress knows how to leave a lasting impression: “Such an iconic look will never go out of fashion, it will always be referred to and she couldn’t have looked more sophisticated or graceful.”

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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
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Hand-stitched by one of the brand’s in-house seamstresses (of which there are 50 in London and another 50 in Istanbul), the dress made from heavy crepe is available in 50 colors and almost any size as each piece is bespoke to the customer.

“A lot of women order by WhatsApp now, because we know their measurements already,” says the designer, who founded the company in 2011 to fill a gap in the market for elegant designs that weren’t trend-driven.

Safiyaa

For Meghan, it was the second time she had worn the British brand for a momentous moment. Wearing a similar Safiyaa caped design in blue to a state dinner during the royal tour of Fiji in October 2018, it offered a first glimpse of her baby bump, having just announced the news of her pregnancy with Archie.

“For us, it was such an honor to be chosen for such incredibly important occasions for her,” says Karnuts.

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While the designer remains discreet on how Meghan discovered the brand — which has been worn by the likes of Michelle Obama, Jennifer Lopez and Gigi Hadid — she does think Meghan’s style could easily be compared to another chic American actress who married into royalty.

“She is choosing very carefully to create these moments,” Karnut says. “If you go back and look at what Grace Kelly wore, it’s never out of date and I believe this is what’s happening here. It’s a statement of confidence.”

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
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Teaming the bold dress with all red accessories — a Manolo Blahnik bejeweled red clutch bag, red Stuart Weitzman pumps and delicate red crystal earrings by Irish designer Simone Rocha — the ensemble perfectly matched Harry’s military regalia.