Less is more when it comes to makeup, accessories and, of course, Meghan Markle’s iconic royal wedding dress. The custom Givenchy couture gown that the 37-year-old Duchess of Sussex donned for her nuptials was shockingly simple (but nonetheless stunning). Now, the woman who created it, Givenchy’s creative director Clare Waight Keller, is speaking out about the inspiration behind the dress seen ’round the world.
“That dress was quite a game changer for me,” Waight Keller admitted to The New York Times in an interview today. “Life before was obviously less famous.”
Despite her humble statement, Waight Keller has held a number of high-profile positions during her career as a fashion designer: she started at Calvin Klein, then continued on to Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Pringle and was most recently the creative director of the established French maison, Chloé. But when she was tasked with designing the duchess’s wedding dress shortly after starting at Givenchy in 2017, she earned a new kind of prominence.
“Yes. I was a surprise choice, and I kept it all a secret,” she explained.
But while the world was hypothesizing about who Markle had chosen to design her gown, Waight Keller was hard at work, whipping up something timeless and regal.
She recalled her experience creating the Duchess of Sussex’s dress, saying, “Throughout the design process we were considering this as a message about the power of simplicity, about creating something pure and simple—although very difficult to do.”
“Difficult” as it must have been, Waight Keller definitely achieved her goal. The white silk gown with a bateau neckline and deceptively intricate lace veil surprised and delighted royal aficionados who expected something more, well, ornate.
Waight Keller went on to receive the British Fashion Awards British Womenswear Designer of the Year accolade (which was presented by none other than Markle!) and was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2019.
Looks like simplicity worked in her favor.