The royal wedding knockoff rush is beginning and USA TODAY has an exclusive first look.
Meghan Markle's exquisite Givenchy wedding gown, widely hailed as a royal triumph as she walked down the aisle of St. George's Chapel, is likely to have a second life as a knockoff blockbuster as dressmakers rush to supply brides clamoring for copies.
On Friday, just six days after the American actress married Prince Harry at a glorious royal wedding at Windsor Castle, online direct-to-consumer bridal brand Floravere will launch its own version "inspired" by Meghan's dress — believed to be the first — and will sell it for $1,475.
That's just a fraction of the estimated cost (anywhere from about $140,000 to somewhere far north of $250,000) of Meghan's bonded silk cady stunner with the sleek silhouette, modern three-quarter sleeves and a bateau neckline framing her face and shoulders and accentuating her slender waist.
As Kensington Palace described it, "the lines of the dress extended towards the back where the train flows in soft round folds cushioned by an underskirt in triple silk organza." Her 16-foot silk tulle veil stretched out behind her, featuring flora representing the 53 countries of the Commonwealth at Meghan's request.
The Floravere design is the product of a team of designers who once worked for such boldfaced brands as Monique Lhuillier, Vera Wang, Marchesa and Amsale, says Floravere co-founder Denise Jin. The company can move fast and offer prices below $2,250 because its supply chain is more direct than that of the traditional bridal industry.
"This is yet another step in Floravere's mission to make the luxury bridal experience radically accessible," says Jin. "Their direct-to-consumer model allows them to offer incredibly high-quality wedding gowns using the same fabrics and construction as runway brands, but at a fraction of the price."
Floravere's dress is not an exact replica: For one thing, it features cap sleeves. But the brides who will wear the "inspired-by" copies don't have to follow the royal tradition of brides expected to cover arms and shoulders.