Meghan Markle’s New Stylist Can Tell Us A Lot About Her Next Move – And What It Means

Jamie Mizrahi also dresses Jennifer Lawrence, Nicole Richie and Riley Keough.

Meghan Markle

by Natalie Hammond |
Updated on

Meghan Markle’s wardrobe has already gone through several ‘eras’, perhaps most notably ‘Duchess’, ‘Montecito power player’ and this year’s ‘polo wife’. But with the launch of American Riviera Orchard, Markle’s brand with a tantalising insignia logo whose inaugural product is an artisan batch of strawberry jam - not to mention the announcement that she’s going to be making a return to TV, with a non-fiction series dedicated to celebrating the ‘joys of cooking, gardening, entertaining, and friendship’, according to Deadline - it’s her next era that might be her most interesting yet. And the woman who’s reportedly just been hired to usher her into this chapter, to essentially give her a lifestyle-guru glow-up to rival Gwynnie’s? Jamie Mizrahi.

Jamie Mizrahi
Jamie Mizrahi ©Getty

From America’s number-one thirst trap, Jeremy Allen White, to the actor quietly emerging as best dressed woman in (and pap-shot queen of) New York City, Oscar-winning Jennifer Lawrence, Mizrahi’s current roster of clients reads like a who’s who of who looks good in Hollywood. She’s an obvious choice for Markle, whose wardrobe, understandably, has been through something of an identity crisis because of her CV. Markle’s role as a series regular on Suits, the fast-taking legal drama where she played whip-smart paralegal Rachel Zane, then as a senior member of royal family in what might be the most unusual career pivot on the planet, as unbelievable you might say as a reality television star becoming President, means that she essentially switched from dressing for the red carpet to Royal Ascot, ditching the cocktail dresses for tights-at-all-times and fascinators.

Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle attends the Royal Salute Polo Challenge ©Getty

Arriving in Montecito, Markle’s wardrobe immediately underwent something of a vibe shift, moving away from the formal dress coats, boxy leather handbags and stiletto-heeled suede pumps towards something that, if you had to put a name on it for a mood board, is more like ‘Californian CEO’, with a lot of expensive creamy shades courtesy of high-end designers that she couldn’t necessarily wear on repeat as the Duchess (Valentino, Ralph Lauren, Carolina Herrera, Loro Piana etc). Four years later - post the most incendiary television interview of this century (Oprah), and also post the most toe-curling autobiography of all time (Spare) - and she’s poised for another reinvention, this time as the founder of American Riviera Orchard, which, despite having a name that doesn’t have anywhere near the promise of woo-woo health, wealth and happiness as Goop, could absolutely have the power to position her as the next lifestyle mogul of the West Coast.

Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle in Abuja, Nigeria, wearing a dress from Heidi Merrick ©Getty

So what could we glean from her wardrobe on last weekend's three-day visit to Nigeria? Despite being dubbed a 'royal' tour, Markle's wardrobe reflected the fact that she's no longer a working member of The Firm (note the strapless neckline of her white column dress by St Agni) - and that, instead, she's continuing to forge her own path. Her suitcase was divided between luxury resortwear labels like Johanna Ortiz, American classics like Carolina Herrera, Californian contemporaries like Heidi Merrick - and choice pieces of jewellery belonging to the late Princess Diana (a gold cross that was a gift from Prince Harry). And from the crisp white tailoring to a ruffled-hem tomato red sundress to a sunshine-yellow sleeveless gown (a rewear from Carolina Herrera), all of which was worn with her signature mix-and-match gold jewellery, it's hard to think of a time when she's looked more comfortable in what she's wearing.

Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle in Lagos, Nigeria, wearing Carolina Herrera ©Getty

Mizrahi, who so far has not commented on the rumoured appointment, is practised in the art of taking a celebrity’s wardrobe and giving it a very specific USP. Exhibit A: Adele, who she’s been styling for the past few years. With the singer’s blockbuster residency in Las Vegas, Mizrahi had her work cut out for her. How do you captivate the audience, night after night, with looks that are spectacular but also capture your client’s personal style? How?! By finding a winning formula and sticking to it religiously. Adele wore a long black gown for 34 performances, from a sequined column that twinkled under the stage lights (Valentino) to velvet corset wizardry (Vivienne Westwood), 17 of which were actually custom-made for the singer. If that isn’t the definition of signature style - an often-elusive concept in the world of celebrity - I don’t know what is, frankly.

Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle in Abuja, Nigeria, wearing St Agni ©Getty

Mizrahi has worked a similar kind of magic with other clients, giving each a look that’s specifically engineered, distilling their essence, as it were, into clothes that feel like the best version of them. For Nicole Richie, it’s the kind of delicious boho glam that feels as 2024 as it does 2004 (in a great way), with plenty of voluminous gold pleats and ‘challenging’ shades like chartreuse thrown in for good measure. Jennifer Lawrence’s mood board, meanwhile, must have centred around the minimalist’s ultimate icon Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, with the kind of effortlessly cool off-duty looks that incorporate oversized leather blazers that look vintage (they’re not, they’re Bottega!), lived-in denim and lots of The Row, as well as some lo-fi references to keep the people happy like Vans.

Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle speaking at 'Keynote: Breaking Barriers, Shaping Narratives: How Women Lead On and Off the Screen' ©Getty

At this critical juncture for the Duchess - and with method dressing practically a prerequisite whenever a celebrity is promoting something (see, Zendaya for Challengers, Cynthia Erivo for Wicked, Margot Robbie for Barbie) - Markle has made a very savvy choice as she prepares to embody American Riviera Orchard.

There’s likely a lot she wants to keep from her existing look. After all, Markle’s no stranger to sending a certain kind of message with her clothes - and she’s also friendly with key fashion industry players like Clare Waight Keller, who designed her wedding dress under her tenure as creative director of Givenchy. In fact, for a recent lunch with the designer at Cipriani, Markle wore an outfit that some would consider a snapshot of her current wardrobe: a turtleneck, a high-waisted pair of trousers, aviator shades and a luxuriously soft cashmere wrap coat by Max Mara. It’s the kind of soft power serve belonging to the business elite who no longer believe in pencil skirts and Spanx. Of course, ‘founder’ is just one side of her public-facing personality. The other is going to high society events like polo matches, where, presumably, she’ll be brushing shoulders with her future customer base. Presenting her husband, Prince Harry, with a trophy, she wore an ivory sundress with a keyhole cut-out at the waist. Interestingly, it wasn’t from a luxury designer label that commands a four-figure price tag but a contemporary brand based in LA, Heidi Merrick.

Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle attends Invictus Games One Year To Go

In actual fact, Markle practically owns a capsule wardrobe from Heidi Merrick, including a pair of sunglasses that she’s been wearing on repeat in Nigeria, a georgette blouse and a silk blazer. (Merrick confirmed via email that the polo match dress completely sold out after it was seen on Markle.) Could she be giving her fans a taste of the kind of brands she could potentially be stocking at American Riviera Orchard (Goop carries a range of different designers, as well as its in-house offering, G. Label by Goop)? Possibly. As a brand that’s native to California - Merrick was born and raised in Santa Barbara - it certainly ticks a lot of the boxes you’d expect. Another could be Malibu’s Bleusalt, from which she owns several basics, including a long crew-neck dress made from 95% TENCEL™. Both sit in the ‘contemporary’ bracket as opposed to luxury, with prices generally sitting below the £500 mark, as does St Agni, based in Byron Bay, Australia, which she recently wore to put a very good spin on the LBD.

While we wait for more information about the brand's product range besides jam, we have one big question...Will Mizrahi finally - finally! - be able to tempt her rumoured client out of skinny jeans? Time will tell.

Shop: Meghan Markle's Quiet Luxury Essentials

Natalie Hammond is Grazia’s Senior Fashion News Editor. She loves winter, hates summer and can often be found writing about the weather (and what on earth to wear).

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us