A little-known Australian designer received the royal seal of approval on Tuesday when Meghan Markle wore one of her dresses in Sydney.
Designer Karen Gee’s website crashed after the Duchess of Sussex wowed onlookers in a simple ivory shift as she greeted government officials with Prince Harry on day one of their Australian tour. Despite the pregnancy announcement Monday by Kensington Palace, the dress showed a barely visible baby bump.
“It’s an absolute honor to have Meghan wear our dress,” Gee told BAZAAR.com. “The fact that she could choose anyone in the world and she’s chosen Karen Gee on her first day is phenomenal.”
The bespoke ‘Blessed’ shift dress, which retails for $1,285, takes around one day to make and is available in ivory, ink, and black.
The royal plug sparked an online shopping frenzy and caused Gee’s website to crash several times throughout the day. The brand, which offers made-to-order pieces along with ready-to-wear in its flagship store at Sydney’s Chifley Plaza, was also flooded with calls from shoppers all wanting to emulate Markle’s debut maternity look.
“The purpose of the brand is to encourage women to feel good no matter what size and shape they are,” said Gee, a mother-of-five. “I truly believe Meghan is empowering because she is confident, backs herself—and who doesn’t love her?”
While the designer remains tight-lipped on the royal commission (even on the fabric) she did reveal the style comes with satin binding and couture zippers. It is also the brand’s policy to never ‘gift’ products in return for a celebrity plug.
Gee launched the ethically made label (it is accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia, which ensures supply chains are transparent and legally compliant) five years ago, and her body-hugging designs are often purchased and worn by local TV celebrities.
Gee’s philanthropic work may have also appealed to the Duchess.
Prior to launching the brand in 2013, Gee won the Mrs Australia Globe competition—a national pageant for women over 25 that helps raise money for charities.
On day one of Meghan and Prince Harry’s Australian tour they will also visit Taronga Zoo and the Sydney Opera House to watch a rehearsal of Spirit 2018 by the Bangarra Dance Theatre. The couple are in Sydney to launch the Invictus Games this Saturday. Their 16-day tour will also include visits to Fiji, Tonga, and New Zealand.
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