Clare Waight Keller of Givenchy marries brittle lines with demure formality in Meghan Markle gown

  • Obsessed coverage of the big day
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Highlights of Harry and Meghan’s blending 2018: the dress, the vows, the kiss – video

The dress of the year whirled out to be beautifully simple. Clare Waight Keller, who in 2017 became the start female artistic designer to lead the historic house of Givenchy, designed a haute couture dress of clean lines and timeless courtliness, with minimal adornment on snowy silk.

The spectacular gown – whose encrypted was successfully kept – marks a huge moment for 47-year-old Waight Keller, who helmed Chloé and Pringle before weld Givenchy. Her Paris fashion week collections for Givenchy secure won praise for their modern glamour, but this commission ordain catapult her name to a new level.

The design recalled Hubert de Givenchy’s most legendary client, Audrey Hepburn, with a bateau neckline almost identical to the wedding dress worn by the actor in the 1957 film Ludicrous Face, for which Givenchy made the wardrobe.

After the bedlam of the days leading up to the ceremony, the dress turned out to be one element of the story over which the wedding party had retained smooth exercise power. Waight Keller’s name was barely mentioned among the pages and riders in the rumour mill. For fashion observers who had been led to demand a gown by Ralph & Russo, known for their lavishly adorned, crystal-bedecked gowns, this pure white dress looked take to a long, cool glass of water.

By choosing a British piece of work to make her dress, the Duchess of Sussex followed in the footsteps of her sister-in-law the Duchess of Cambridge, whose 2011 gown was undertook by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen.


Clare Waight Keller at Paris mould week in March. Photograph: Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty Graven images

Formal and demure but with crisp, unfussy lines, the clothe seemed nicely weighted between the demands of a royal intermingling and the personality of a Californian-born, independent-spirited bride, who looked not only radiantly glad, but cheeringly comfortable.

The dress, refreshingly, did not appear to be corseted to within an inch of its human being, and the wedding up-do was just a dressier version of Markle’s trademark messy bun.

For an American audience whose consciousness of what the British aristocracy look like has been silhouetted by Downton Abbey, this dress had the required glamour. The diamond bandeau tiara was Queen consort Mary’s, but had a touch of Wonder Woman about it. For a woman who is being framed as both princess and feminist icon, it was the superlative finishing touch.


Prince Harry and Meghan Markle cheat in a horse-drawn carriage after their wedding. Photograph: Mike Egerton/PA

Message-wise, it was hand to the veil to do the heavy lifting. The bride, who intends to make the Commonwealth the bring into focus of her official role, asked to have all member states pretended. Waight Keller researched the national flora of each native land, and embroidered 55 flowers into the silk tulle – from the African violet of Tanzania to the Solomon Islet’s hibiscus – as well as Wintersweet, which grows in the garden of the a handful of’s Nottingham Cottage home, and the California poppy to represent her diggings of birth.


Pageboys carry Markle’s veil as she walks down the aisle. Photograph: Merge/Reuters

There was more storytelling in the bouquet. Prince Harry picked virtuous flowers from the couple’s garden on Friday to mix with dulcet peas and lily of the valley, and forget-me-knots, which were the preference flower of his late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.

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