Meghan Markle—or should we say, the newly appointed Duchess of Sussex—shocked us all when she arrived at the steps of St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle not in a design by rumoured brands like Ralph & Russo, Roland Mouret, Erdem, Burberry, or Stella McCartney, but instead in something more modern: a look by Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy.
Givenchy, you ask? The French fashion house is, of course, not English, but its relatively new Artistic Director Waight Keller (formerly of Chloé) is a Brit herself. The white haute couture design was composed of six seams that highlighted the “open bateau” neckline and extended down into the veil, met with an underskirt made of triple silk organza. The pointed-toe Givenchy shoes were made of silk “duchess” satin, and Markle also wore Cartier white gold diamond earrings with a matching bracelet. Keller also designed all of the bridesmaids dresses, and styled them with Aquazurra shoes. How fab!
“We wanted to create a timeless piece that would emphasise the iconic codes of Givenchy throughout its history, as well as convey modernity through sleek lines and sharp cuts,” Waight Keller said in a statement.
The look was decidedly conservative, an appropriate move for the new royal, and a departure from the more girlish wedding dress she wore her first time down the aisle. This time, Markle followed suit with her new style M.O., which is slightly more conservative and polished, with a modern, minimalist punch. Unlike Kate Middleton's few and far between style risks, Markle is a little more bold with her contemporary style, but she still manages to please the Queen. Though it's safe to say we didn't expect something quite so simple, the dress let's Meghan herself shine. She is not drowning under the weight of embellishments and lace, unlike royal brides before her.
As for why Markle chose Keller over other hotly contended designers, Kensington Palace offered some insight. “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,” the palace said in a statement, adding that Markle also selected Keller because of her British heritage. Wise choice.
Though her politics will have to take a little bit of a backseat as a Duchess, Markle is recognised as an outspoken feminist, and she recognised that DNA in Keller. Similarly to how Markle has shaken up royal tradition, Keller has done the same in the fashion industry. Her appointment at Givenchy is historic because she's the first female to hold the top job at the French house. Clearly, she's looking to make power moves.
Markle also reportedly took a cue from Carolyn Bessette Kennedy's Narciso Rodriguez wedding slip dress, previously calling it "everything goals." Like Markle, Kennedy shook up the famous American family's history when she wed John F. Kennedy Jr. Coupled with the fact that Markle walked herself down the aisle partway, this was the ultimate girl power move.
Other details about her look? Her lace-adorned, five-metre-long veil offered a low-key political nod. The floral design of it honoured the flora of all 53 countries of the Commonwealth, an organisation somewhat similar to the United Nations that is headed by Queen Elizabeth. It was hand-embroidered and make from silk tulle. In addition, it features a floral design of Wintersweet, which grows at Kensington Palace, and California Poppy, a nod to her home state.
Markle topped off her look with Queen Mary’s Filigree Tiara, an updo hairstyle by Serge Normant, and makeup by Daniel Martin. Another sweet touch? Her bouquet, which contained flowers that Prince Harry literally picked from Kensington Palace, designed by Philippa Craddock.