Meghan Markle's actress friend Janina Gavankar says no designers wanted to dress her for the royal wedding

Elise Solé

Actress Janina Gavankar, a friend of Meghan Markle’s, says that designers declined to dress her for the royal wedding.

Although Gavankar attended the wedding of Meghan and Prince Harry on Saturday wearing a tangerine-colored dress and a black fascinator, which she paired with Sigerson Morrison heels and an Yves Saint Laurent clutch, nailing down her look was a challenge.

Thank you to everyone inquiring about today’s dress! Here’s the real story,” Gavankar wrote on Instagram Sunday. “As many do for events of this kind, my stylist @NikiSchwan & I reached out to designers and showrooms. … No one was responsive. Luckily, @westerncostumecompany generously opened the doors to their private vintage archive, and we chose this 1930’s dress and 1940s hat…”

Gavankar added, “Strange to be talking fashion on a powerful day of love and union.”

Schwan, a Los Angeles-based stylist, got right to the point, writing on Instagram that day, “To be clear, we requested several designer brands & showrooms (for her to wear to the wedding) who either denied us or just ignored us. & obviously, this is not something you “shop” for, as we were committed to creating something special and unique.”

She added, “I kinda love being denied sometimes, it just forces me to work harder, smarter, more creatively & continuously think outside the box! Which is what styling is really about. This trio of women KILLED this moment, with their Royal Wedding STRUT (Squad goals for real!) and @janina is one of the single most searched names of those who attended the wedding, due to this moment & we are overwhelmed & grateful by the response to her look. (Too bad to all the brands and showrooms that denied us). Keep on keepin on y’all. Rejection is Gods protection, I always say!”

Oprah, another royal wedding guest, also had a fashion catastrophe before the ceremony: When she realized that her beige dress would “photograph too white” and therefore breach wedding etiquette, Stella McCartney’s team, which designed Meghan’s reception dress, produced a new custom gown.

“Realized Friday morning the beige dress I was planning to wear to Royal ceremony would photograph too ‘white’ for a wedding,” Oprah wrote on Instagram Saturday. “Her team did this overnite. Hat is vintage @philiptreacy been in my closet since 2005 with new feathers. OMG was this an extraordinary day!”

These style emergencies aren’t uncommon for celebs who either buy or borrow dresses for high-profile events. According to E! News, which in 2017 detailed the extensive process ahead of the 89th Academy Awards, celebs either borrow a dress from a designer’s upcoming collection or, if their star power dictates, have one custom-made. The exchange is a win-win: Stars look fabulous in hot-off-the-press looks, and brands and designers receive the publicity.

However, a royal wedding is not the Academy Awards; royals do not accept designer clothes on loan or for free, and the designers may have declined Gavankar’s request out of concern for royal protocol (and future snubs by the palace).

According to E!, before an event, stylists call in numerous dresses — often up to 50 — for clients to select. Other celebs have brand partnerships (agreements to publicly wear a certain designer’s clothing), or in some cases, they get paid by brands on a one-off basis to showcase certain looks.

Cases like Gavankar’s in which no designer offers his or her services — believe it or not, this used to happen to Kim Kardashian and Beyoncé — can be opportunities for more modest labels to shine. 

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