Nina Kharey, Founder & Creative Director of NONIE, was aware that the new royal had few of her pieces in her closet, but that didn’t make it any less exciting to see Meghan step out with husband Prince Harry at an exhibition marking the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela on Tuesday in her design.
“She looked amazing! It’s so surreal — I couldn’t believe it was mine. I had to keep double checking,” Kharey tells PEOPLE. “It’s definitely a good feeling, especially when someone wears it so well. And she’s such a positive woman.”
The woman behind NONIE added that Meghan styled the $825 dress from the brand’s Spring/Summer 2018 collection “perfectly” with a coordinating clutch and heels, simple stud earrings and her signature messy bun.
“I have a great relationship with the Mulroneys,” says Kharey. “Jessica is an advocate of Canadian fashion, so I’m sure the team worked together on that.”
Kharey says she’s impressed with how Meghan has blended her personal fashion sense with the restrictions of royal style.
“To be thrown into the royal family and this huge role that she has, I think with the resources she has and her own knowledge of what she likes to wear and what makes her feel confident and bring out the best version of herself, she’s been able to refine that style,” says Kharey. “She knows what will feel good on her and what will look the part – I think she’s been doing amazingly well with her style and it’s just getting more refined.”
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“I think for women now in the 21st century, it’s okay to push that boundary. I don’t personally think that she’s hurting anyone by showing some shoulder,” she says. “She has Princess Diana paving the way for that as well. I think it’s actually a little refreshing that she knows herself so strongly that she’s able to confidently wear what she wants to wear.”
Kharey says she’s been so busy that she hasn’t even had time to notice if the “Meghan Markle effect” is in full swing, but she’s thrilled that the newlywed is bringing attention to Canadian designers.
“That’s what we work so hard for and then that one person believes in what you are doing, that’s all you need,” she explains. “It’s pretty amazing for us little guys.”