Last week a story emerged in The Daily Mail, quoting British based society designer Emilia Wickstead. According to the article, she is purported to have made the following comments regarding Meghan Markle’s Givenchy wedding dress.
“Her dress is identical to one of our dresses.”
“Apparently a lot of commentators were saying, “It’s an Emilia Wickstead dress.’”
“If you choose a simple design the fit should be perfect. Her wedding dress was quite loose.”
Everyone is entitled to have a private bitch right? And the Daily Mail article (actually a diary snippet equivalent to Page Six) didn’t remotely state the provenance of said comments. Which leads one to believe that if they did indeed issue from Wickstead, they were never intended for public consumption. Fashion loves nothing better than a good bitch but Wickstead was just unlucky that she chose the wrong circumstances in which to vent.
My mum did say that it was a good job she had a bouquet because the dress was a bit ruched at the front but she has always been uber critical. And besides, that’s what happens when you’ve been sitting in anything for the best part of an hour as opposed to a freshly steamed lookbook photograph. One of the reasons people warm the the new Duchess of Sussex is that she keeps it real.
However, unlike my mum, Wickstead, whose designs have also been worn by Kate Middleton, has faced an inordinate public backlash. Yesterday she issued, not a retraction exactly, but the following statement on Instagram which has also engendered some less than flattering comments.
As for the suggestion that Markle’s dress was “identical” to a Wickstead, well, admittedly the dresses are not dissimilar but that sort of shape for a wedding dress is hardly groundbreaking.
Even the recently unmasked Diet Prada Instagram account took Clare Waight Keller’s side posting images that ranged from archive Givenchy to sixteenth century tapestry, The Lady and the Unicorn, to make its case.
And the sixteenth century artisan responsible hardly has a litigation team on speed dial. In fashion, at least, ideas are not infinite. Go back far enough and some element of appropriation is inevitable. Following his Vetements show in January, which raised some eyebrows over some Margiela-esque Tabi boots, Demna Gvsalia told me this.
“There was a collaboration with the actual origin of the Tabi sock which comes from Japanese clothing. This was my idea of putting that kind of product in the show to underline the idea of what appropriation can mean and how we reference things today in fashion.”
You get the point, no?