What should a non-senior royal wear to present at a Live Aid-style concert supporting global vaccine equity? As dress codes go, it’s far from the easiest set of requirements. But on Saturday night, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex nailed the brief for their appearance at Global Citizen Live.
Appearing onstage hand-in-hand at the New York event to speak about Covid-19 vaccine equity, Meghan wore an embellished white Valentino mini-dress. She finished the look with black stiletto heels and her go-to Cartier and Jennifer Meyer jewellery, and wore her hair in a low ponytail.
Harry, meanwhile, kept his sharp black suit relaxed by eschewing a tie and leaving the top buttons of his dress shirt open.
The concert was the culmination of the couple’s New York City visit, their first public trip since stepping down as senior royals in 2020. With that decision, Meghan and Harry shed many of the responsibilities, titles and trappings of royal life – and the dress codes. Meghan’s mod mini-dress represented a departure from the silhouettes she embraced as a working senior royal, which usually featured defined waists and below-the-knee hemlines.
The look also marked a tonal shift from the Succession-style corporate luxe seen elsewhere on the tour. Visiting One World Trade Center, a Harlem school and the United Nations, Meghan wore wide-legged trousers and colour-blocked jackets or coats, sending a clear message that this was a work trip.
The Valentino dress, meanwhile, was altogether lighter. More hopeful and fun – more seasonally appropriate than all the coats, too. The embellishment around the neckline drew viewers’ eyes to Meghan’s face, and the dress’s boxier cut would have been more comfortable and forgiving for a postpartum woman (daughter Lilibet Diana is three months old) than anything more fitted.
The choice of designer was also consistent with the couple’s pro-vaccine equity message. Pierpaolo Piccioli, the designer at the Italian luxury fashion brand, recently introduced a hooded sweatshirt with a (V) VACCINATED print. Valentino will donate net profits from the £590 design to UNICEF, specifically the COVAX facility, “which ensures equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines by supplying doses to countries in need”, according to the brand. The hoodie has already been worn by Lady Gaga and some speculated that Meghan might wear it to Global Citizen Live.
The white dress may have been a more regal choice – but there’s always the flight home to Los Angeles…