Whether you’re an avid royal watcher or not, you surely recall the moment, back in January 2020, when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle relinquished their royal duties. (They wanted to live a more private lifestyle in California.) Along with this major move, the former Duchess of Sussex also left behind the stringent standards of the monarchy’s dress codes. She swapped her previously demure royal attire for pieces that celebrated her West Coast roots — think breezy button-downs and jeans. In her continuous journey to reestablish her personal style post-royal life, Markle wore a cherry-red Carolina Herrera gown to the 2021 Salute To Freedom Gala. (The event took place in New York City on Nov. 10 and honored veterans and military families.)
Carolina Herrera’s Creative Director Wes Gordon custom-made Markle’s alluring gown, which looked very different from the red carpet dresses she used to wear as a royal. Markle’s designer number featured a plunging neckline and thigh-high leg slit, as well as a show-stopping train that dramatically billowed behind her. These daring design elements of Markle’s look (the plunge! the leg reveal!) helped to signal that the former Duchess of Sussex is now entering a more liberated era of fashion. Throughout this ongoing style evolution, you can likely expect to see Markle revel in sartorial risks and lean away from her once reserved, royal aesthetic.
With that said, Markle didn’t entirely disregard the fashion proclivities she’s known for when attending a fancy gala. She showcased her usual penchant for minimalism with a pair of sleek, crimson Giuseppe Zanotti pumps and wore subtle diamond stud earrings. Lastly, Markle pinned a poppy broach to the front of her Carolina Herrera gown, which was a poignant nod to the Remembrance Day tradition that honors fallen soldiers from past wars.
If you feel invigorated by Markle’s stunning and sultry style moment from the gala, you can find similar bold red dresses to shop below. Some are fit for more black-tie occasions, whereas others — like Chloé Krystyn’s plunging wrap dress — are versatile enough to wear in more casual celebratory settings.
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