British designer Clare Waight Keller scored the biggest fashion triumph of 2018 five months ago when Meghan Markle, now officially known as the Duchess of Sussex, walked down the aisle of St George’s Chapel in Windsor in a boat-necked Givenchy wedding dress.
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Royal wedding fans are in for a treat as plans are being made to put Meghan Markle’s stunning Givenchy gown on display. Insiders predict that the dress will be displayed at Windsor Castle, the venue for Meghan’s May 19 wedding to Prince Harry. Royal officials are believed to be discussing a suitable time and details around the exhibit. Designed by Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy, the stunning silk gown featured an open bateau neckline and sculpted waist. The train flowed in soft round folds cushioned by an underskirt in triple silk organza. The process was “very collaborative,” Waight Keller said in an interview the day after the wedding, adding that Meghan was familiar with her work. “It was a wonderful way to start the collaboration with her, finding out what she wanted for her day and just to find the absolute perfect style for her,” Waight Keller told reporters. “Part of it was really a conversation in the beginning and then through a series of sketches that I proposed to her. We exchanged conversations about what would be the ultimate lines and proportions and the scale of the dress.”
A post shared by Meghan Markle (@hrhofsussex) on Aug 20, 2018 at 8:45am PDT
No Paris catwalk show, even one that brings city traffic to a standstill on a Sunday evening and scores the starriest front row of the week, could hope to compete with the British royal wedding, which saw the American marry Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex.
Waight Keller could very easily have revelled in royal wedding afterglow.
After all, any boat-necked Givenchy dress on a sales rail would be a home banker right now.
Instead, she used her evening at Paris Fashion Week to show that her vision and ambition reached far beyond one beautiful wedding dress.
The first 12 models – nine women and three men – on a catwalk weaving through the marbled halls of the Palais de Justice to be ‘indefinable’ – all with neat, ear-grazing schoolboy haircuts.
“The casting was paramount,” Waight Keller said after the show.
“I wanted the women and men to be indefinable. Something about that felt relevant – and appealing, actually.”
Royal wedding or no royal wedding, Waight Keller is not about to be pigeonholed into fairy tale frocks.
After all, Audrey Hepburn – muse of Hubert de Givenchy, whose Funny Face wedding dress was a reference for that of the duchess – was rocking a gamine pixie crop back in 1954.
However, this season’s muse was not Markle, but Annemarie Schwarzenbach, a short-haired Swiss writer and photographer who became a Berlin celebrity during the Weimar Republic before her death in 1942.
“I was researching silhouettes,” Waight Keller said.
“I came across this spectacular looking woman, whose mother had never insisted on her dressing like a girl, and who as an adult dressed sometimes as a man and sometimes as a woman, but always in a modest, elegant way.”
The designer was wearing an elegant short-sleeved navy blouse tucked into high-waisted black trousers, firmly belted, with cone heeled court shoes.
It was a quiet take on the look amped up on the catwalk.
Those high-waisted trousers were worn with silk blouses, or cropped trench coats or abbreviated biker jackets.
Shimmering silver evening capes brought an otherworldly glory to matt black crepe tailored separates or loose, dark silk dresses.
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Waight Keller’s show notes were opaque and telegram-brief.
“Silver solidifies”, she wrote, underscoring the purposeful, hard-edged mood that saw models marching past at a frantic pace that deliberately jettisoned all memories of a glide down the isle.
Not content with having sparked a trend for feminine bateau necklines earlier this year, this show suggested Waight Keller might be about to make the fashion world go doe-eyed for sharp tailoring and metallic and monochrome.
The latest fairy tale frock? It’s a tuxedo.