The Wedding Dress: Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy
Ms. Meghan Markle’s wedding dress has been designed by the acclaimed British designer, Clare Waight Keller. Ms. Waight Keller last year became the first female Artistic Director at the historic French fashion house Givenchy.
After 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.
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.
True to the heritage of the house, the pure lines of the dress are achieved using six meticulously placed seams. The focus of the dress is the graphic open bateau neckline that gracefully frames the shoulders and emphasises the slender sculpted waist. The lines of the dress extend towards the back where the train flows in soft round folds cushioned by an underskirt in triple silk organza. The slim three-quarter sleeves add a note of refined modernity.
Following extensive research by Ms. Waight Keller in fabric mills throughout Europe, an exclusive double bonded silk cady was developed. Perfect for the round sculptural look required, the silk cady has a soft matt lustre whilst the bonding process and pure white colour chosen by Ms. Markle and Ms. Waight Keller bring a fresh modernity to the dress.
Ms. Markle expressed the wish of having all 53 countries of the Commonwealth with her on her journey through the ceremony. Ms. Waight Keller designed a veil representing the distinctive flora of each Commonwealth country united in one spectacular floral composition.
The Commonwealth family of nations – of which Her Majesty The Queen is Head –will be a central part of Prince Harry’s and Ms. Markle’s official work following His Royal Highness’s appointment as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador. Ms. Markle wanted to express her gratitude for the opportunity to support the work of the Commonwealth by incorporating references to its members into the design of her wedding dress.
Significant time was spent researching the flora of each Commonwealth country and much care was taken by Ms. Waight Keller to ensure that every flower is unique.
The veil is five meters long and made from silk tulle with a trim of hand-embroidered flowers in silk threads and organza.
Each flower was worked flat, in three dimensions to create a unique and delicate design. The workers spent hundreds of hours meticulously sewing and washing their hands every thirty minutes to keep the tulle and threads pristine.
In addition to the flora of the Commonwealth, Ms. Markle also selected two personal favourites:
Wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox), which grows in the grounds of Kensington Palace in front of Nottingham Cottage, and the California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) the State flower from Ms. Markle’s place of birth, California.
Symmetrically placed at the very front of the veil, crops of wheat are delicately embroidered and blend into the flora, to symbolise love and charity
In 2016, Meghan Markle described her idea of the perfect wedding gown in an interview with Glamour.
She said, 'I have the luxury of wearing beautiful pieces of clothing every day for work, so my personal style—wedding or not—is very pared down and relaxed.
'Classic and simple is the name of the game, perhaps with a modern twist. I personally prefer wedding dresses that are whimsical or subtly romantic.'