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Meghan Markel’s wedding dress subject of intellectual property design dispute

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Following May’s hugely successful royal wedding in which US actress Meghan Markle married Prince Harry, sixth in the line of succession to the British throne, a row has broken out over the design of Markle’s dress.

The dress, widely regarded as a classic, understated design featured a 16 foot long veil with 53 flowers embroidered upon it to represent the 53 member countries of the Commonwealth, was designed by British designer Clare Waight Keller, on behalf of legendary French fashion house Givenchy. However, New Zealand designer Emilia Wickstead – who is the Duchess of Cambridge’s favourite designer - had said the stunning gown, which has been estimated to have cost anything from £200,000 to £380,000, was identical to one of her own designs that retail for around £7,000.

Wickstead’s claims, made on social media, caused outrage in the fashion community and even resulted in the London based designers Twitter account being suspended. Wickstead had said that "Apparently a lot of commentators were saying 'It's an Emilia Wickstead dress." She also criticised Markle’s dress and hair, saying "If you choose a simple design the fit should be perfect. Her wedding dress was quite loose…I was like, hold the wisps back — it's a royal wedding for God's sake"

It will be interesting to see if the furore will result in any formal action, which could include a potential claim for Intellectual Property (IP) infringement.

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