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Emilia Wickstead’s Royal Wedding Dress Drama Just Got Messier

The beef, explained.

London-based fashion designer Emilia Wickstead in May.
Photo: Zak Kaczmarek/Getty Images

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Fashion designer drama, in general, is very stupid. Usually it’s Karl Lagerfeld saying something horrific about plus-size women or Muslim migrants, or the creative director of Vetements calling reports about its poor sales “wannabe journalism.” Unlike most instances, however, this one involves a posh, royally beloved designer who isn’t often quoted in tabloids for saying rude things about famous people, and it sure is messy. Let’s dive in!

Due to a gossip column in the Daily Mail last week, Emilia Wickstead has been under fire for not only criticizing Meghan Markle’s wedding dress and “messy bun” hairstyle but claiming that the house of Givenchy copied one of her designs. And then there’s the latest intel: The fashion knockoff watchdogs Diet Prada have accused Wickstead of doing the very same thing.

But first, the basics:

Who is Emilia Wickstead?

Emilia Wickstead is a London-based, New Zealand-born fashion designer known for pretty, feminine dresses, often in pastel shades. Though certainly not all of her designs are particularly modest, she’s a favorite of Kate Middleton and her designs have also been worn by Markle.

Kate Middleton in Emilia Wickstead on a 2017 visit to Germany.
Photo: Karwai Tang/WireImage/Getty Images

Why are we talking about her?

Though Wickstead was named as a possible designer of the royal wedding dress, that job ultimately went to Clare Waight Keller and the house of Givenchy, who created Markle’s minimalist, six-seam gown with a boat neck and three-quarter sleeves.

That may be why, according to the Daily Mail last week, Wickstead expressed some saltiness about the dress the now-Duchess of Sussex went with. “Her dress is identical to one of our dresses,” Wickstead reportedly said. “Apparently a lot of commenters were saying, ‘It’s an Emilia Wickstead dress.’”

She also criticized the fit of the Givenchy dress (“If you choose a simple design the fit should be perfect. Her wedding dress was quite loose.”) as well as Markle’s tendrils (“I was like, ‘Hold the wisps [of her hair] back — it’s a Royal Wedding for God’s sake.’”). Yikes!

Meghan Markle in Givenchy on her wedding day.
Photo: Andrew Matthews/Getty Images

Hang on, how much should we believe those quotes?

Indeed, it seems like a very bad idea for a designer with a relationship with the wife of the future king of the British Commonwealth to publicly criticize not only a royal bride but a fellow fashion designer as well.

So it’s no surprise that over the weekend, Wickstead posted a statement to her Instagram expressing that she was “extremely saddened by commentary that has appeared in the press and on-line over the past few days,” adding that she had the “utmost admiration and respect” for Markle and that the bride looked “absolutely beautiful.”

She also said she did not believe Markle’s dress was a copy of her own, and that Clare Waight Keller and Givenchy was “a huge source of inspiration to me.”

Plus, there’s always the fact that the Daily Mail isn’t exactly the most trusted source on royal wedding gossip (remember that “exclusive” look at Markle’s “heavily beaded” Ralph & Russo wedding dress?) The comments appeared in the gossip column of journalist Sebastian Shakespeare (a real name!), just above a story about the wife of Prince Philip’s godson wearing a £541 oversize hat to protect her infant from the sun.

What’s this about Emilia Wickstead copying someone else?

Ah, yes: Though one would assume that once Wickstead claimed she never criticized anyone’s dress or hair or tailoring, the drama would fade away into the annals of St. George’s Chapel — it didn’t!

On Monday, Diet Prada, the Instagram watchdogs of fashion knockoffs, posted a side-by-side image of a pastel pink dress from Wickstead’s spring 2018 collection and a blazer from a 1950s collection by French designer Jacques Fath.

“So, according to @emiliawickstead ... it’s apparently not possible for other designers to reference vintage archives (even of the legacy houses they’re employed by), but it’s totally cool for her to do so herself,” the caption read.

It continued: “Here, Wickstead swipes an ultra-specific box-pleated bust cupped brassiere/bow adorned tailoring detail for her SS18 collection from a 1950s Jacques Fath look. Shall we say, lesson learned? Lol”

Wickstead has not yet responded, but it’s safe to assume that like all the best, messiest drama in the celebrity-adjacent fashion world, it’ll probably happen on Instagram.