She chose Givenchy to create a classic dress for her wedding to Prince Harry and it seems that creative director Clare Waight Keller also has the feminist principles that would certainly impress the Duchess of Sussex.
Birmingham-born Clare, 48, was crowned Designer of the Year last week at the Harper’s Bazaar Women of the Year Awards and used the opportunity to convey an important message to young women about their career paths.
The first female creative director of the Paris couture house said she’s often asked what it’s like to be a woman at the helm, but claims this line of questioning shouldn’t even exist.
‘My answer is always, “why should it even be a question that I’m a woman there?”,’ she explained.
Givenchy’s creative director Clare Waight Keller, 48, who was born in Birmingham said people shouldn’t even question what it’s like to be a woman at the head of a Paris couture house. Pictured: The designer at the Harper’s Bazaar Women Of The Year Awards in London
Meghan walking down the aisle at St George’s Chapel Windsor in the Givenchy wedding gown made by Clare and her team
‘I want to take this minute just to say that I’ve got teenage girls and I’d like them in their adult life to think that actually at this point, we live in a world where we don’t have to ask questions like that.
‘That actually, you’re a talent and you’ve got an amazing creative world and vision, and that should be the most important thing.’
As a keen champion of women’s empowerment it’s no wonder the Duchess of Sussex chose the first female director of Givenchy to design her wedding dress when she married Prince Harry in May.
The Duchess has since made Givenchy one of her go-to designers for important royal engagements in the same way that her sister-in-law Kate has aligned herself with her wedding dress designer Alexander McQueen.
Meghan couldn’t resist sporting another creation by her wedding designer Givenchy for a visit to Cheshire in June 2018, her first official engagement with the Queen, and looked elegant in the cream fitted dress with a cape feature at the shoulders
Meghan chose a forest green Givenchy skirt and knitted top as she arrived in Dublin in July for her first official overseas visit since marrying Prince Harry. The Duchess gave Givenchy another starring role when she wore a black £2,510 dress with sheer sleeves and a velvet panel around the neckline to the Oceania exhibition in September 2018, her first official solo engagement as a royal
Seven years on from her wedding day and the Duchess of Cambridge continues to rely on her bridal designer Alexander McQueen for high-profile occasions.
The Duchess of Sussex showed her loyalty to the French brand when she stepped out in a custom-made number for her first official joint engagement with the Queen in Cheshire in June 2018.
She also chose a forest green Givenchy knitted top and pencil skirt for her arrival in Dublin for her first official overseas visit as a member of the royal family.
Meghan chose a navy Givenchy coat for Princess Eugenie’s wedding in October, which prompted speculation that she might be hiding a baby bump. The Duchess also gave her favourite designer a high profile nod in this pleated navy skirt and knitted top for her last day in New Zealand during the recent royal tour
It was also her choice as she attended the opening of the ‘Oceania’ exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in September, her first official solo engagement without Prince Harry by her side, as well as for Princess Eugenie’s wedding a month later.
And it was no surprise that Givenchy featured on the recent high profile tour of Australia, New Zealand, Tonga and Fiji.
On her final day in New Zealand, Meghan went out with a bang, choosing a bespoke Givenchy pleated skirt, which featured thick royal blue stripes and thinner white stripes, with a co-coordinating jumper, also by the French fashion house.
Who is Meghan’s designer Clare Waight Keller?
EXCLUSIVE by Tracey Kandohla for MailOnline
Birmingham-born mum-of-three Clare Waight Keller, 48, became the first female artistic director of Givenchy in 2017.
The 48-year-old daughter of a legal secretary and an engineer is known for her low-key and charming demeanour, in stark contrast to previous prima donna male predecessors, such as the controversial John Galliano.
Waight Keller joined Calvin Klein on the strength of her graduate collection at St Martin’s, then was snapped up by Ralph Lauren to design menswear, before becoming creative director at Pringle and then Chloé.
Having designed handbag after bestselling handbag, she’s rumoured to have left because Chloé wouldn’t agree to ‘salary increases proportionate to sales’.
She is married to U.S. architect Philip Keller and lives a Eurostar chic lifestyle with a farmhouse in Cornwall and a cavernous apartment on Paris’s Bois de Boulogne.
Her brother Will Waight told of the family’s ‘immense pride’ in Clare as they revealed they been sworn to secrecy about the stunning gown which made Prince Harry weep.
He and his parents had only been told his younger sister had been tasked with ‘her best job yet’ a few days before her creation was unveiled to the world.
Telecoms expert Will told MailOnline: ‘We had no idea Clare was the designer until she told us just two days before the wedding. There were only a few people in the know and we were all sworn to secrecy.’
The dad-of-two, who watched the American actress tie the knot with her Prince on TV at his home in Birmingham, West Midlands, said: ‘Meghan looked fantastic. My sister said the dress had to look just perfect and it did, they couldn’t leave anything to chance.’
An emotional Harry told his bride ‘you look amazing’ after she glide down the aisle in the timeless classic silk gown.
Excited Will, 42, said: ‘We couldn’t wait to see the dress and we were very impressed with it. I am so immensely proud of Clare as are our parents. It’s the best job she’s had and she didn’t let the bride down. Meghan looked beautiful and it’s not surprising Harry was overwhelmed with emotion.’
He said of the pure white gown with a 16ft veil embroidered with flowers of the Commonwealth: ‘It makes a statement and the whole fashion world will be talking about it. I could tell it was my sister’s design, ti had a spiral and she likes elegant and understated.’
The acclaimed British designer – who designed a dress for pop superstar Adele for Glastonbury – was at Windsor Castle with her architect husband Philip Keller to see the bride step out in her dress.
Will said: ‘Clare and her husband were invited. I watched the wedding at home and our parents saw it too while looking after Clare’s twin girls, who are 15, and her son of seven.’
Clare is the first female Artistic Director at the historic French fashion house Givenchy and was chosen to design the dress for the wedding of the year after meeting Meghan earlier this year. There had been months of speculation linking the bride-to-be to other designers.
Will told how his sister had worked extremely hard and had a natural artistic and creative flair to get to the top, saying: ‘It is an onward progression for her, she keeps rising and rising and she’s doing really well. She was delighted to have got the job.
‘She has designed for some top names and even done stuff for Adele for Glastonbury. She is hight profile but this beats them all. We are very impressed with her. I’m very close to my sister but understand she couldn’t tell me what she was working on until a few days before.
‘She works in France at Givenchy and commutes between Paris and London.’
Will said he had no idea how many fittings Meghan had needed but understands the already slim-line bride needed an extra one or two checks because she had lost extra weight.
He said: ‘They wanted perfection and it was. I’m not sure what she will be designing next but no doubt she will be in demand.’
Birmingham-born mum-of-three Clare Waight Keller became the first female artistic director of Givenchy in 2017. Right: Pictured with Rooney Mara at the Met Ball in May