The Duchess of Sussex only ever alluded to the discreet detail
Clare Waight Keller is shedding new light on Meghan Markle’s timeless bridal style.
On Friday, the fashion designer behind the long-sleeved Givenchy gown that the Duchess of Sussex wore to marry Prince Harry in May 2018 revealed new details about the look, from another clue about Meghan’s “something blue” to King Charles’ appreciation of her veil’s Commonwealth connection.
Waight Keller was the first female artistic director of Givenchy when she brought Meghan’s vision to life and told Vanity Fair where she secretly stitched blue fabric from the dress the future duchess wore on her first date with Harry — and what it looked like!
“We basically sewed it into the hem of the wedding dress, so she was the only one that knew that it was there. It was a little blue gingham check,” the British designer told the outlet of the "something blue" tradition.
“It was the perfect personal memento that was secretly hidden inside the dress,” she added.
Meghan, 42, previously teased the tribute in HBO’s 2018 documentary Queen of the World, but only alluded to where it was.
“Somewhere in here there’s a piece of blue fabric that’s stitched inside — it was my something blue,” she said while inspecting the dress for the first time since her royal wedding day. “It’s fabric from the dress that I wore on our first date.”
In conversation with Vanity Fair, Waight Keller said it meant much to Meghan and Harry that her cathedral-length veil featured hand-embroidered flower trim representing each of the 53 countries of the Commonwealth.
"[Meghan] felt like she was bringing an element of each of those countries down the aisle with her. So that her new role — and that bridge to the new role — was captured in what she was wearing,” she said. “For both of us, we felt it was a really beautiful signature, and I think even Prince Harry was just thrilled at the idea that we really tried to capture something for everyone in that service.”
According to Waight Keller (who left Givenchy in 2020 and is launching the new label Uniqlo: C in September), Charles was also touched by the thoughtful nod.
“King Charles was just in awe of the dress and the [veil] embroidery, and he asked me about it while we were waiting inside the nave,” she told Vanity Fair of their chat behind the scenes. “He was really very interested, actually, in all the different motifs and the floral representations.”
Harry’s father walked Meghan down the aisle when her father, Thomas Markle, was unable to make it to the celebration. The bride started her walk down the aisle at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle solo, before meeting Charles (who was then the Prince of Wales) halfway to the altar. The two were all smiles as they walked the rest of the way together.
As Charles greeted his son, Harry smiled and said, “Thank you, Pa.”
Waight Keller said Meghan “always loved” Audrey Hepburn (who was an original muse to Hubert de Givenchy) as well as the effortlessness of Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy’s bridal style. The stylist brought the same modernity to the bridesmaids’ dresses worn by Princess Charlotte and the other little ones to create cohesion with Meghan’s gown.
“So these were just really modern and clean, but also something that they could move around in and felt like they were real children’s clothes,” she told Vanity Fair — sharing that the bridesmaids’ frocks featured pockets.
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A few months later, the Duchess of Sussex made a surprise appearance at the British Fashion Awards in London to present Waight Keller with the British Womenswear Designer of the Year award. Meghan was then pregnant with Prince Archie, and the two women shared a sweet hug on stage.
While accepting the honor, the designer thanked the duchess for trusting her with the life-changing commission.
“I got to know Meghan on such a personal level,” Waight Keller said at the time. “To have someone like that trust you in an incredible moment in their life is something that is just the most unbelievable honor. I can’t thank you enough because it was the most beautiful moment.”
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