It’s the kind of publicity that many global fashion brands would have paid for if they could; dressing Prince Harry’s bride-to-be Meghan Markle for their first television interview as a couple, just hours after they announced their engagement to the world.
But rather than a household name, the American actress chose a bottle green dress by under-the-radar Italian label P.A.R.O.S.H for her first big appearance, inadvertently giving the vintage-inspired line what was likely the greatest PR boost in its 25 year history.
“It was totally insane, an amazing surprise,” founder Paolo Rossello tells The Telegraph, explaining that he had absolutely no idea that Markle had bought a dress from his company. “We were astonished to see Meghan with our bow detail dress. It was a dream.”
The frenzy that Rossello and his team have subsequently experienced in the last 24 hours has, unsurprisingly, been unprecedented and is entirely comparable to that which the British brand Issa were overwhelmed by when the Duchess of Cambridge wore their blue silk ‘Sapphire London’ dress for her own engagement interview back in 2010. For Issa, overall sales doubled following Middleton’s initial appearance, after an immediate sell-out of the style in question.
For Rossello? “The dress was sold out in less than one hour in all shops and online,” he confirms.
Still Dreaming with you @meghanmarkle 😍💥! Thanks for choosing us for such an important day ... we wish you all our bests !!! #royalengagement #meghanmarkle #wering @parosh_official #bowdress #fw1718collection #instorenow or #shopus 🛒 shop.parosh.com (this dress is sold out but we are working hard to restock it asap😊)
A post shared by P.A.R.O.S.H. (@parosh_official) on Nov 28, 2017 at 12:38am PST
The ‘Meghan effect’ was already a verified phenomenon before this, as several styles that Markle has been wearing since she confirmed her relationship with the prince last year have gone on to sell out, causing a rush of media and social media coverage. A plain white shirt by the New York designer (and Markle’s friend) Misha Nonoo was perhaps one of the greatest recent examples; despite its $185 price tag, the shirt became a global hit once fans cottoned on to the style’s name ‘The Husband Shirt’ - and the message it implied was that an engagement was imminent.
Similarly, despite being priced at £489, Markle’s engagement dress likely appealed so strongly to fans because of its simplicity. “It’s a Parosh iconic dress enriched with bow for this season, but suitable for any occasion,” Rossello says. “I thought Meghan looked very sophisticated matching it with high heeled shoes and white coat -it was very feminine.”
Rossello says that this ethos, and the constant evolution of seemingly simple designs, has always been key to his business. “The concept is to create simple clothing pieces enriched with special details that give a pinch of femininity to every look,” he explains. “I’m inspired by vintage prints, silhouettes and shapes, but mixing them with the new.”
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Earlier this year, Issa founder Daniella Helayel detailed how the Duchess’ wearing of her Sapphire London dress at her engagement ultimately contributed to the downfall of her relatively-young business. She struggled to fulfil the sky-high demand for that particular design and the rest of her label suffered as a result. Rossello, however, has a different outlook and many more years of production experience to help cope with the new interest.
Fans still wanting to get their hands on Markle’s dress can rejoice; “Yes we are reissuing it, hopefully within a week” Rossello confirms. The only difference? “It will now have the name of ‘The Meghan’.”