It’s been quite a year for Clare Waight Keller. In the past 12 months, the British designer has unveiled her first collection as creative director for storied fashion house Givenchy, created what will surely prove to be the most talked-about dress of the year in Meghan Markle’s wedding gown and has now debuted her second couture collection for the French brand. It seems, too, that Waight Keller forged a strong bond with the new Duchess of Sussex in those wedding planning days: for a string of high profile royal events in the weeks following the ceremony, including an outing with the Queen and her debut at Royal Ascot, Meghan has defaulted back to bespoke Givenchy. It all points to one conclusion: that in Waight Keller, the Duchess has found her go-to tailor (just as Kate Middleton relies on her wedding dress designer, McQueen's Sarah Burton, for royal events).
Waight Keller's latest couture collection, revealed in Paris on Sunday and billed as a tribute to founder Hubert de Givenchy, who passed away earlier this year, was a celebration of the house's heritage. A tribute to Givenchy, of course, wouldn't be complete without a nod towards his favourite muse, Audrey Hepburn, which came in the form of a Holly Golightly-style black slip dress, complete with rounded neckline and cutaway back (made famous thanks to that ubiquitous film still), and a finale set to the tune of Moon River. However, this was a modern re-working, not just a simple step back through Givenchy’s considerable archives. With its clean lines, bold use of texture and sculptural shapes, the collection felt fresh and – yes – fit for a Duchess ready to re-write the rules on royal style. Below, you'll find the looks that would slot seamlessly into Meghan's new regal wardrobe...
The extreme cape dress
We've seen Meghan wear the cape dress before: first a Stella McCartney style for the Queen's birthday concert, and then custom Givenchy for her first royal engagement with Her Majesty. With its sweeping train and exaggerated shoulders, this would be a powerful eveningwear look (next year's BAFTAs, perhaps?)
The statement skirt
This embellished skirt in slate grey would neatly slot into Meghan's working wardrobe, and though the draped blouse and scattered necklace of the catwalk look is exquisite, we can just as easily see the Duchess pairing it with a high street buy (M&S jumper, anyone?)
The Breakfast at Tiffany's LBD
The velvet cowl is probably a little too directional for your average royal meet-and-greet, but it's not hard to picture Meghan wearing a pared-back version of Waight Keller's Hepburn-referencing finale look, complete with the now-iconic back detailing.
The classic trench
Meghan clearly knows the power of a good coat: think back to some of her most striking looks (wedding dress aside, of course) and you'll find that they're all built around great outerwear. This beige trench is an undisputed classic which could be re-worn for years to come.
The power jacket
For royal engagements, Meghan has embraced clean lines and simple, structured tailoring, and one of her most striking looks to date was a McQueen tux, worn for a charity gala earlier this year. Should she opt for a non-traditional approach to eveningwear again, this sequinned jacket and tailored trousers combo would do the trick.
The colour pop
Since she officially became Duchess of Sussex, Meghan has tended towards neutral tones on the blush-pink end of the spectrum (a subtle way of ensuring her outfits always complement the Queen's, some have speculated). Still, we'd love to see her inject some brighter hues into her new royal wardrobe, and this half-and-half colour-block style presents the happiest of mediums.
The evening showstopper
What better way to make a statement at a Buckingham Palace ball or diplomatic reception than with this one-shouldered number, featuring a shimmering fringed skirt and a more sober body in black velvet? Just add a heirloom tiara...