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Why I Think Meghan Markle Made The Right Choice For Wedding Dress Designer

I first fell in love with Clare Waight Keller when she was at the helm of Chloé, convinced that she was the only creative director that could steer me away from my default Japanese-inspired structured and minimalist aesthetic, and into the vast fields of some dreamland where ruffled summer dresses and laissez-faire luxe granted permission for entry.

 


Photo: Vogue by Kevin Tachman

 

Learning of her departure from Chloé and into the storied fashion house of Givenchy last year was both surprising and expected. Knowing that her talent would be recognized, it was only a matter of time until Clare would be swooped up by another major brand. That it was she to replace Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy, made my jaw drop. Was this goodbye to my phase of extreme femininity?

Not that clean lines and structure weren’t part of her repertoire. Clare’s beginnings in the industry were in fact at Calvin Klein in New York, and then later as senior designer of Ralph Lauren’s Purple Label Menswear, where tailoring became her most flexed muscle. After another stop at Gucci, where Tom Ford had her on the senior design team, Clare found a new voice and sense of freedom as Creative Director at Pringle of Scotland.

 

So, Meghan Markle’s dress aside, here are three other times Clare Waight Keller stole the show:

Pringle of Scotland—a foreshadowing of Royal ties?

Pringle of Scotland has been around since 1815, and holds the royal warrant as manufacturers of knitted garments. "Royal warrants of appointment have been issued for centuries to those who supply goods or services to a royal court or certain royal personages. The warrant enables the supplier to advertise the fact that they supply to the royal family, so lending prestige to the supplier.”

 

Chloé Posts Seven Years of Consecutive Sales Growth.

From Clare’s appointment at the French fashion house in 2011, until her departure in 2017, Chloé outperforms competitors with double-digit percentage growth.

 

Makes History as Givenchy’s First Female Creative Director.

Taking the throne at LVMH’s Givenchy in 2017, Clare is the first female to hold title of artistic director at the fashion house, succeeding John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Julien Macdonald, and Riccardo Tisci.

Photo: Francois Mori

 

So, aside from Clare being visibly talented, Meghan Markle’s choice of designer for her historical royal wedding dress boiled down to these three things:

1. Clare is a British designer that represents success as the artistic director of three major international fashion houses

2. Clare’s role as the first female creative director at Givenchy exemplifies Meghan Markle’s vocal standpoint on women’s equality and progression

3. Her aesthetic, timeless and graceful, tailored but relaxed, matched Meghan’s personal style

The two worked together on the dress, simple and structured, with the much-talked about bateau neckline—but also personalized and feminine in the veil design.

 

Meghan requested the flowers representing all 53 Commonwealth states (countries around the world that call Meghan’s grandmother-in-law, “Queen” and places that will be central to Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s social work) be hand embroidered into the veil.

In addition to the 53 flowers, Meghan chose two more: “Wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox), which grows in the grounds of Kensington Palace in front of Nottingham Cottage, and the California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) the State flower from Ms. Markle’s place of birth, California.” (Source: royal.uk)

Here are the 53 member states of the Commonwealth and their flora:

AFRICA:

            •           Botswana - Ear of Sorghum and Cat’s Claw (Uncaria tomentosa)

            •           Cameroon - Red Stinkwood (Prunus africana)

            •           Gambia - White Variety Orchid

            •           Ghana - Caladium (Caladium)

            •           Kenya - The Tropical Orchid

            •           Lesotho - Spiral Aloe (Aloe polyphylla)

            •           Malawi - Lotus (Nymphea lotus)

            •           Mauritius - Trochetia Boutoniana

            •           Mozambique - Maroon Bell Bean (Markhamia zanzibarica)

            •           Namibia - Welwitschia (Welwitschia mirabilis)

            •           Nigeria - Yellow Trumpet (Costus spectabilis)

            •           Rwanda - Torch Lily (Kniphofia uvaria)

            •           Seychelles - Tropicbird orchid (Angraecum eburnum)

            •           Sierra Leone - Scadoxus (Scadoxus cinnabarinus)

            •           South Africa - Protea (Protea cynaroides)

            •           Swaziland - Fire Heath (Erica cerinthoides)

            •           Uganda - Desert rose (Adenium obesum)

            •           United Republic of Tanzania - African violet (Saintpaulia)

            •           Zambia - Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea)

ASIA:

            •           Bangladesh - White Water Lily ( Sada shapla)

            •           Brunei Darussalam - Simpor (Dillenia suffruticosa)

            •           India - Indian Lotus (Nelumbo nucifers gaertn)

            •           Malaysia - Bunga Raya Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa sinensis)

            •           Pakistan - Jasmine (Jasminum officinale)

            •           Singapore - Vanda miss Joaquim Orchid (Miss Joaquim)

            •           Sri Lanka - Blue Water Lily (Nymphaea nouchali)

CARIBBEAN & AMERICAS:

            •           Antigua and Barbuda - Agave (Agave karatto)

            •           Bahamas - Yellow Elder (Tecoma stans)

            •           Barbados - The pride of Barbados (Caesalpinia pulcherrima)

            •           Belize - The Black Orchid (Encyclia cochleata)

            •           Canada - Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)

            •           Dominica - Carib Wood (Sabinea carinalis)

            •           Grenada - Bougainvillea (Nyctaginaceae)

            •           Guyana - Victoria Regia Water Lily (Victoria amazonica)

            •           Jamaica - Lignum Vitae (Guiacum officinale)

            •           Saint Lucia - The rose and the marguerite

            •           St Kitts and Nevis - Poinciana (Delonix regia )

            •           St Vincent & the Grenadines - Soufriere Tree (Spachea perforatais)

            •           Trinidad & Tobago - Chaconia (Warszewiczia coccinea)

EUROPE:

            •           Cyprus - Cyclamen Cyprium (Cyclamen cyprium)

            •           Malta - Maltese centaury (Cheirolophus crassifolius

UNITED KINGDOM:

            •           England - Rose

            •           Wales - Daffodil (Narcissus)

            •           Northern Ireland - Flax flower

            •           Scotland - Thistle

PACIFIC:

            •           Australia - Golden wattles (Acacia pycnantha)

            •           Fiji - Tagimaucia (Medinilla waterhousei)

            •           Kiribati - Bidens Kiribatiensis

            •           Nauru - Calophyllum

            •           New Zealand - Kowhai (Sophora microphylla)

            •           Papua - Sepik Blue Orchid (Dendrobium lasianthera)

            •           Samoa - Teuila (Alpinia purpurata)

            •           Solomon Islands - Hibiscus (Hibiscus)

            •           Tonga - Heilala (Garcinia sessilis)

            •           Tuvalu - Plumeria (Plumeria frangipans)

            •           Vanuatu - Anthurium (Anthurium)

 

Lead photo via Chloe