'She was modern, with a fresh approach': Meghan Markle’s wedding designer reflects on creating the 'secret dress'

Caroline Allen
Contributor


This time two years ago, Givenchy’s artistic director Clare Waight Keller was in the final sprint of making Meghan Markle’s dress for her wedding to Prince Harry on 19 May 2018.

Waight Keller had been tasked with creating Markle’s boat necked, long-sleeved gown – a dress that made her an institution at Givenchy.

The 49-year-old has undoubtedly had an illustrious career, yet she described the occasion as more “significant” than any other.

After a three year stint at Givenchy, Waight Keller announced her departure from the fashion house on 10 April in a heartfelt Instagram post.

Perhaps the artistic director’s departure from such a pivotal point in her career has her feeling nostalgic, as she talks about working with Markle in detail in her latest Instagram posts.

“She was modern, with a fresh approach, warm and welcoming, completely disarming and joyful in every way. We struck it off instantly and a friendship began” Waight Keller writes in her most recent Instagram post.

The designer goes on to say: “Fittings were always a special time to chat, just us, it was a time of getting to know each other’s history and there are many memorable moments.”

Read more: Meghan Markle’s ‘first post-Megxit interview’

In an earlier post, Waight Keller spoke of their working relationship, she said: “Through hours of conversation, meetings together, and research, slowly all the pieces of that story came together.”

“Purity and simplicity were the guiding principles, a narrative of nature through the 53 florals of the Commonwealth to bring the world into the journey of the ceremony...”

Seven months after walking down the aisle, the former Duchess of Sussex presented Waight Keller with Womenswear Designer of the Year award at The Fashion Awards in London.

Read more: Meghan Markle gives support to Grenfell survivors delivery service

Markle’s fashion influence has been widely documented. Last year, she overtook the Duchess of Cambridge as the “nation’s fashion icon” on global fashion search platform, Lyst.

It’s no surprise, then, that many celebrities started wearing Waight Keller’s designs as a result of the “Meghan effect”.

Gal Gadot, Rachel Weisz, Rooney Mara, Charlize Theron and Julianne Moore have all walked the red carpet in her womenswear and couture designs.

Read more: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle volunteer in LA

Describing the process of creating Markle’s “secret dress” she said: “So many emotions were running through me during those months leading up to the big day.

“A wedding dress is one of the most exquisite and beautiful moments for a designer, but also personally as an woman artist, creator there is a lot of sensitivity that flows through the process from the knowledge and understanding of the feelings that you have as a bride.

“It’s a unique point of view when you have been through it yourself, as I did at my wedding to my beloved husband 20 years ago, you remember every moment so clearly and realise the significance of every detail and decision.”

Waight Keller described the royal couple’s wedding day as a “very personal” ceremony.

She mentioned the many choices that reflected the pair’s heritage as well as their “unique way of being incredibly inclusive, genuine and generous”.