Former American actress Meghan Markle is now a real life princess, finding happiness (and a lot of media attention) before and after her highly anticipated wedding to Prince Harry of England. Though the royal wedding has passed, the sparkle and excitement has not worn off, with everybody watching closely what the couple may do next. On her wedding day, Markle (now the Duchess of Sussex) invoked the grace of Audrey Hepburn in a modern silhouette by French fashion house Givenchy. We have the run down on everything you need to know about the now-iconic wedding gown.
The Dress was Designed by Givenchy Artistic Director Clare Waight Keller
Days up to the royal wedding, Markle kept her slips sealed on who would be dressing her for the big day. The internet went on a frenzy as she walked out of the carriage in a custom-made Givenchy Haute Couture gown made by Artist Director Clare Waight Keller. Although Givenchy is a French fashion house, Waight Keller is actually British. She finished her education at the Royal College of Art, and has had a fruitful career working under various brands such as Ralph Lauren and Gucci. She became the artistic director of Chloe in 2007, before she was named successor to Riccardo Tisci as the head designer of Givenchy in 2017. She is also the first woman to ever hold this position for the esteemed label.
“It is truly an honor to have been given the opportunity to closely collaborate with Meghan Markle on such a remarkable occasion,” shared the designer. “As a British designer at a Parisian Haute Couture house, and on behalf of all of us at Givenchy who have been able to experience such an extraordinary process of creativity, I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished and grateful to Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and Kensington Palace for allowing us to be part of this historical chapter. It has been an immensely rewarding experience to get to know Meghan on a personal level, one I will forever carry with me. The House of Givenchy joins me in wishing her and Prince Harry every wish of happiness in their future.”
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Givenchy Wanted to Make a Modern Gown That Paid Tribute to Heritage
Markle is gaining fans and improving the reputation of the British royals. Welcoming an American actress seemed like something the monarchy would not be open to. Yet Markle won the heart of the Prince, the Queen, and the entirety of England because of her sophistication and achievements as an activist and humanitarian. For her wedding gown, Givenchy wanted to make sure that her gown reflected her modern nature, yet would continue to pay homage the fashion house’s rich heritage. “We wanted to create a timeless piece that would emphasize the iconic codes of Givenchy throughout its history, as well as convey modernity through sleek lines and sharp cuts. In contract, the delicate floral beauty of the veil was a vision Meghan and I shared, a special gesture embracing the commonwealth flora, ascending the circumference of the silk tulle,” shared Waight Keller in a statement.
The gown is not too showy and has minimal details, as a reference to the classic codes of the iconic House of Givenchy. Its founder, the genius Hubert de Givenchy, preferred to showcase expert craftsmanship in his Parisian Haute Couture atelier rather than heavily embellishing his gowns. Marke’s gown is no different. Its simplicity is evident. The wedding gown’s pure lines are achieved by using six seams, and is finished off with an open bateau neckline that elegantly framed the bride’s shoulders and slender waist. Givenchy’s choice to give Markle a three quarter sleeves is where the note of modernity comes in. The train flows in soft round folds and is cushioned by an underskirt in triple skirt organza. The Duchess’ shoes were based on the Givenchy refined pointed design from the Spring Summer 2018 Haute Couture collection and was made of silk duchess satin.
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The Veil Pays Tribute to the 53 Countries of the Commonwealth
In a sweet tribute to England, Markle expressed her wish to pay homage to all 53 countries of Commonwealth through her five-meter long veil. Waight Keller designed a veil with distinctive flora from each of the countries. It represents unification and peace within all of these nations (the Commonwealth of Nations, formerly 1931-1949 were 53 states under British empire). All the hand-embroidered blooms were put together on silk tulle. Workers spent hundreds of hours putting together the meticulous design, continuously washing their hands every half hour to make sure that it remained in pristine condition. Markle added two of her favorite flowers into the design as well. In addition, crops of wheat were also included into the floral design to represent love and charity.
Wedding dress by Givenchy Haute Couture by Clare Waight Keller
Official portraits (taken at Windsor Castle) by Alexi Lubomirski
The copyright in the photographs is vested in The Duke and Duchess of Sussex
Givenchy is located at Greenbelt 4, Shangri-La Plaza Easy Wing, and Solaire. Visit www.ssilife.com.ph or follow @ssilifeph on Instagram for more information.