Megan’s dress on show

Now, this is news that should be good for footfall.

A Giorgio Armani dress as worn by Meghan, Duchess of Sussex for the CBS television special Oprah with Meghan and Harry will go on display at the Fashion Museum Bath from 22 February. The black and white silk georgette dress has been selected as the Museum’s Dress of the Year 2021.

One of the defining pop-cultural moments of 2021, the highly anticipated two-hour television interview aired in nearly 70 countries and drew an estimated 60 million viewers worldwide. The Duchess wore a long, black triple silk georgette dress with deep front, lotus flower embroidery and matching belt from Giorgio Armani’s Spring/Summer 2022 Cruise Collection, which is still available to buy in America.

It’s well known that members of the Royal family often use outfits to send a message through their choice of style, colour or motif. It was reported that the Duchess chose a dress with a lotus flower design because of the flower’s symbolic association with rebirth, self-regeneration and spiritual enlightenment, and its ability to flourish despite seemingly challenging conditions.

Visitors to the Fashion Museum will soon be able to see a version of the famous dress for themselves when it goes on display as the final item in the headline exhibition, A History of Fashion in 100 Objects. 

Each year, the Fashion Museum invites a top name from the fashion industry to select a Dress of the Year that encapsulates the prevailing mood of fashion, represents the past year, and captures the imagination.

This year’s selectors are Dazed magazine’s Ibrahim Kamara and Gareth Wrighton. The pair’s Dress of Hope was selected as Dress of the Year 2020, and they went on to have a monumental year, with Kamara appointed Editor-in-Chief of Dazed and Wrighton appointed Art Director. Kamara was also honoured at the 2021 British Fashion Awards, winning the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator.

Ibrahim Kamara and Gareth Wrighton said: “In today’s hyper-stylised pop culture, the Dress of the Year now has the potential to also be ‘meme of the year’ and we both latched upon Meghan and Harry’s now iconic interview with Oprah as the definitive anti-establishment moment that will forever endure in the British collective consciousness.

“Meghan’s wrap dress by Armani, worn to showcase a divine pregnancy, framed the Duchess in black against the bountiful landscaping of Tyler Perry’s Hollywood garden. This look now, through sheer association with a viral television moment, is firmly engrained in our pop culture psyche.”

Rosemary Harden, Fashion Museum Manager, said: “This is a fabulous addition to the Fashion Museum collection. There are moments in history that are all about the dress and Meghan’s interview with Oprah was just such an occasion. The softly structured Armani dress with beautiful appliquéd lotus flower motif was part of a carefully curated look, guaranteed to send messages, and to imprint itself in our consciousness time and time again. Thank you to Ibrahim and Gareth for this landmark selection for the Dress of the Year Collection, and to Armani for most generously gifting the dress to the Museum.”

Councillor Dine Romero, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Communities and Culture at Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “We’re delighted that this iconic dress will be added to the Fashion Museum collection to represent a key moment of 2021. We look forward to seeing it on display at the Museum, where local residents and visitors will be able to admire it up-close.”