‘I Never Expected It To Be This Designer But What An Inspired, Modern Choice For A Wedding Dress’

Prince Harry Meghan Markle Wedding Dress Claire Waight Keller

by Lucy Morris |
Updated on

Finally…Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding has started and we now know that the bride wore British designer Clare Waight Keller, who is artistic director Givenchy. Breathe. After months and months of speculation and umpteen names being floated as possible designers – bets were on Ralph and Russo, Vera Wang and Alexander McQueen– we know who was wrong and who was right and where this royal’s sartorial loyalty lies. That said, she may surprise us with an outfit change for the upcoming reception later this evening.

The bride, Markle, who will now be known as The Duchess Of Sussex has followed the grand tradition of wearing white. No surprise, really. However, few were probably expecting the ex-Suits actress who was led down the aisle by Prince Charles (in lieu of her father Thomas Markle Snr) to wear a demure boatneck gown by Clare Waight Keller. 'I never expected it to be this designer, but what an inspired, modern choice for a wedding dress,' says Laura Antonia Jordan, Grazia's Fashion and News Editor.



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meghan markle wedding dress clare waight keller givenchy

The CEO of the British Fashion Council, Caroline Rush, told Grazia online, 'Entering into the British establishment, to choose a British designer was expected…Clare is a great talent and the dress looked incredible. [It's s]o fantastic to shine a light on a British talent at the helm of international businesses.''The choice should not have been unexpected by those of us who know Meghan', said Amanda Dishaw, Editorial Director of Meghan's Mirror, a blog that tracks the Duchess' style, 'We see it as yet another example of how Meghan will not be conforming to a mold of what people want from her, but will be molding her own way forward combining her new royal rules with her thoroughly modern sensibilities.'

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meghan markle wedding dress clare waight keller givenchy

It must be remembered that this is Meghan's second wedding, and not third wedding dress (if you count that scene in Suits) and so her gown was never going to have the frou-frou romance of a first-time bride's. 'It was so modern, clean, having no embroidery, no lace, that beautiful boat neckline. Hubert de Givenchy was the designer for Audrey Hepburn and there was something about it that reminded me of Audrey Hepburn. Meghan Markle being this modern actress and activist I feel like that tied them together somehow when I saw the dress. I thought it was perfect, simple, chic, and modern', said Elizabeth Von Der Goltz, Net-A-Porter's Global Buying Director. That said, it's not without a touch of drama. That train, she believes, adds the perfect 'princess feels'.The dress was crafted with just six seams from double bonded silk cady to create a soft sculptural silhouette while still offering a subtle lustre that would shine under the lights and cameras. The beautiful simplicity of the design is highlighted by the bateau neckline and three-quarter length sleeve. Caroline Burnstein, from Browns Brides, describes it as 'absolutely beautiful! A classic nod to all that is royal...Clare Waight Keller has also done the house of Givenchy proud!'

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meghan markle wedding dress clare waight keller givenchy

Kensington Palace has released a statement explaining that '[a]fter meeting Ms. Waight Keller in early 2018, Ms. Markle chose to work with her for her timeless and elegant aesthetic, impeccable tailoring, and relaxed demeanour. Ms. Markle also wanted to highlight the success of a leading British talent who has now served as the creative head of three globally influential fashion houses – Pringle of Scotland, Chloé, and now Givenchy.

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meghan markle wedding dress clare waight keller givenchy

'Ms. Markle and Ms. Waight Keller worked closely together on the design. The dress epitomises a timeless minimal elegance referencing the codes of the iconic House of Givenchy and showcasing the expert craftsmanship of its world-renowned Parisian couture atelier founded in 1952.'The minds behind Meghan Mirror, a style-tracking blog of the news royal's fashion choices, wasn't shocked by her wedding choice, 'The choice should not have been unexpected by those of us who know Meghan, said the minds behind Meghan Mirror, a style-tracking blog of the news royal's fashion choices, '

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meghan markle wedding dress clare waight keller givenchy

To keep the veil in place, the Duchess wore Queen Mary's diamond tiara, which was made in 1932 with a central detachable broach that dates back to 1893. It was originally a wedding gift to the Queen from the county of Lincoln. The piece is made of diamonds and platinum. 'The bandeau has eleven platinum sections which are all flexible and set throughout with diamonds', reveals Susan Rumfitt, Independent Jewellery Specialist who works on the Antiques Roadshow. As diamonds are a sign of eternal love, Rumfitt thinks her choice of jewellery is of little surprise. The bandeau and brooch were bequeathed by Queen Mary to the Queen in 1953 and worn by Princess Margaret at the age of 18 when she borrowed the tiara at the Inauguration of Queen Juliana of Netherlands in Amsterdam. Meghan accompanied this historical accessory with Cartier earrings and bracelet.

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meghan markle wedding dress clare waight keller givenchy

'When you look at Meghan face on, her hairstyle is very similar to Kate's', assessed Richard Ward, royal and celebrity hairdresser to the likes of Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, referring to the Kate Middelton's wedding day hair. As the whole look is determined by the tiara and its substantial weight, Ward thinks there was no way around her not having a half-up-half-down hairstyle. Though he admits it's not the most original style, saying 'it's not the first hair-up that we've ever seen like that and it probably won't be the last'. However, he added, 'I predicted she'd have it all up, because half up would be too similar to the Duchess of Cambridge. The chignon has been worked symmetrically all the way down the back of the head into the nape of the neck. I think it's three pony-tails: one just below the crown, one on the occipital bone and one virtually just beneath it.' Ward has only one point of correction to Serge Normant who did Markles' hair on the day: 'The last thing you want is for the tiara to slide out of place, so I would have secured it with a tiny little plait tight to the scalp behind the central diamonds, then you sew in the front of the tiara with invisible thread to anchor it.'

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meghan markle wedding dress clare waight keller givenchy

Undoubtedly, this dress like Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge's iconic white lace wedding gown designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen will launch a thousand trends. Also, unquestionably, the unscrupulous high street will be sketching out copy-cat looks right this very minute – expect to see them in stores before the end of the month! For a designer, this is the ultimate coup. It's like BC versus AD for a label to get this sort of exposure. Meghan has already proved herself to be a clotheshorse able to sell out items just by briefly wearing them – some speculate that the net value of an endorsement by her is £150 million, and that's for something as basic as a sweater or a coat let alone a wedding dress that will be shared thousands of times by social, digital and print media. Nothing will compare to the magnitude of this.

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meghan markle wedding dress clare waight keller givenchy

'Meghan has already had impact on the industry.' Rush confirms, 'She understands the soft power of fashion to communicate cultural understanding. Her selection of British designers and businesses from Huit Denim from her visit to Cardiff to Roland Mouret when she arrived at Clivedon House yesterday. Except to see more brilliant choices in the days, weeks, months and years to come.'

'I remember after Kate Middleton's wedding everyone wanted lace sleeves on their wedding gowns', recalls Elizabeth Von Der Goltz, ' I think it will definitely influence what brides wear in the future. That kind of modernity, for that modern-day working and empowered woman will definitely come across to new brides.'

However when asked how this headline-making dress will affect future brides, Burnstein surprisingly says, '[n]ot as much as you would think', she adds, 'Meghan’s look and style has always been more fashion led and I really think that it will set a "less is more" vibe to Bridal trends.' This simplicity, Burnstein admits that while Meghan's 'clean, uncluttered' choice will 'kickstart a trend back to the clean, unfussy styles'.

Meanwhile Prince Harry wore navy military regalia that the Queen gave special permission to be worn at the nuptials. As for the bridesmaids, little Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, 3, Florence van Cutsem, 3, Remi Litt, 6, Rylan Litt, 7, Ivy Mulroney, 4, and Zalie Warren, 2, looked adorable in white custom dresses by Givenchy Haute Couture Atelier in Paris with floral crowns, which is appropriate as they were acting as flower girls. Each gown, which was purposefully designed to compliment Meghan's and was cut from Ivory silk Radzmir with puff sleeves and a double silk ribbon bow. They wore Aquazurra shoes monogrammed with their initials.

The page boys, led by Prince George of Cambridge, 4, Jasper Dyer, 6, Brian Mulroney, 7, and John Mulroney, 7, wore miniature Blues and Royals frockcoats made from blue doeskin with Regimental patterning. Meanwhile, the Duchess of Cambridge wore a yellow wool silk tailored coat by Alexander McQueen and her husband Prince William (AKA the best man) look spiffy in a frockcoat uniform of the Blues and Royals, which matched Prince Harrys.

Watch: All About Meghan Markle

The whole affair, which began just after midday on Saturday 19th May wasn’t short of royal pageantry. The American actress met her Prince at the end of the aisle at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle – the seat of the British royal family. With crowds lining the streets, 2,640 members of the public watching from the grounds of Windsor and enough kitschy themed tchotchkes on sale at local tourist shops to keep the British economy afloat for years to come, the couple may have wanted an intimate affair but this was far from it.

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