Markle chooses Givenchy designer for wedding gown
Meredith MacLeod, CTVNews.ca
Published Saturday, May 19, 2018 7:17AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2018 7:40AM EDT
Meghan Markle’s bridal gown is a long-sleeved, high-neck simple white silk gown by British designer Clare Waight Keller.
Waight Keller last year became the first female artistic director at the historic French fashion house Givenchy.
The gown’s five-metre veil was carried up the steps of St. George’s Chapel by twins Brian and John Mulroney, sons of Ben and Jessica Mulroney.
Speculation has raged for months about what Markle would wear. What designer would capture the honour? Would she choose dramatic or simple? Tiara or no tiara?
Waight Keller was not among a list of prominent designers tapped as potential creators of the dress. The gown watched around the world features six meticulously placed seams, an open bateau neckline, a sculpted waist and slim three-quarter sleeves for a “note of refined modernity,” Kensington Palace said in a statement. Waight Keller worked with an “exclusive” double-bonded silk cady in a soft matt lustre for the gown.
The veil made from silk tulle features distinctive flora of each of the 53 Commonwealth countries “united in one spectacular floral composition”, as per Markle’s expressed wish to have the countries represented. Canada’s bunchberry is among the choices.
The veil’s trim features hand-embroidered flowers in silk threads and organza.
“Each flower was worked flat, in three dimensions to create a unique and delicate design. The workers spent hundreds of hours meticulously sewing and washing their hands every thirty minutes to keep the tulle and threads pristine,” reads the statement.
Markle chose two favourites: wintersweet, which grows in the grounds of Kensington Palace in front of Nottingham Cottage, and the California poppy, the state flower of her home state. The front of the veil includes delicately embroidered, to symbolizing love and charity.
Markle chose Queen Mary's diamond bandeau tiara, lent to her by the Queen. The diamond bandeau is English and was made in 1932, with the entre brooch dating from 1893.
Crowds captured glimpses of the bride’s tiara and veil as she made her way to St. George’s Chapel, accompanied by her mother Doria Ragland in a vintage Rolls Royce.
Prince Harry, along with his brother and best man Prince William, wore the frockcoat uniform of the Blues and Royals and Kensington Palace announced early Saturday morning that the couple chose Cleave and Company to make their wedding rings.
Markle's ring was fashioned from a piece of Welsh Gold, gifted by Her Majesty The Queen and Prince Harry's ring will be a platinum band with a textured finish.
Markle met Waight Keller in early 2018, and “chose to work with her for her timeless and elegant aesthetic, impeccable tailoring, and relaxed demeanour,” said Kensington Palace. “Ms. Markle also wanted to highlight the success of a leading British talent who has now served as the creative head of three globally influential fashion houses – Pringle of Scotland, Chloé, and now Givenchy.”
The two women worked closely together on the dress, which “epitomizes a timeless minimal elegance referencing the codes of the iconic House of Givenchy and showcasing the expert craftsmanship of its world-renowned Parisian couture atelier founded in 1952.” This gown is expected to join those worn by previous royal brides, including Princess Diana in 1981 and Kate Middleton in 2011, in influencing what is worn for weddings around the world.
Months ago, Kensington Palace invited selected designers to submit sketches of their proposed design but Markle’s choice had remained a closely guarded secret. And the bride was shielded from view by a portico as she exited Cliveden House where she got dressed Saturday morning and got into a car to whisk her to the ceremony, saving the much-anticipated reveal until her arrival at the chapel.
Since announcing the royal engagement, the names of designers Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Erdem, Vera Wang, and the Queen’s couturier Stewart Parvin were frequently tossed around as potential chosen designers.
The spotlight was especially strong on Montreal-born, London-based designer Erdem Moralioglu. Markle has been spotted wearing the designer in the past and is said to have a long-standing relationship with Moralioglu himself. There were rumours that the British fashion house was “staffing up.”
But then McCartney seemed to be a frontrunner until it was revealed Saturday morning that Oprah had hurriedly commissioned the designer to make a dress when the one she had planned to wear turned out to be too white for the occasion.
Markle herself has said in the past her ideal wedding dress is “whimsical” or “subtly romantic.” For her first marriage, to Trevor Engelson, she kept it simple and chose a white strapless dress with an embroidered belt.
As for the tiara, that was expected to be the borrowed element for Markle.
Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Harry’s grandmother, has hundreds of tiaras squirreled away in locked vaults.