While the world anxiously awaited Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Royal Wedding in the spring of 2018, fashion designer Clare Waight Keller had another task at hand: creating Markle's wedding dress. Now two years later, the former artistic director of Givenchy is reminiscing on the final dress fittings with the Duchess, and what it was like designing such a high-profile gown.
"Two years ago today I was in the final fittings for a very secret dress," wrote Keller in an Instagram post. "So many emotions were running through me during those months leading up to the big day." Markle commissioned Keller to design her now-iconic bateau neckline gown with three-quarter length sleeves—a surprisingly simple choice for such a grandiose occasion, but timeless nonetheless.
She continued, "A wedding dress is one of the most exquisite and beautiful moments for a designer, but also personally as a woman artist, creator there is a lot of sensitivity that flows through the process from the knowledge and understanding of the feelings that you have as a bride. It’s a unique point of view when you have been through it yourself, as I did at my wedding to my beloved husband 20 years ago, you remember every moment so clearly and realize the significance of every detail and decision. In so many ways you are capturing dreams, that as a girl and as you become a woman you will have been thinking about for years."
Keller said it was "hours of conversation" and "research that ultimately brought the dress to life." Adding, "Purity and simplicity were the guiding principles, a narrative of nature through the 53 florals of the Commonwealth to bring the world into the journey of the ceremony and subtlety bringing the lines of Givenchy and the history of the Maison to capture the classical timeless beauty I knew she wanted to achieve. It was obvious the significance of this occasion was more than any other, it would be a very personal ceremony with so many choices that would reflect both the bride and groom's heritage and their unique way of being incredibly inclusive, genuine and generous."
And although the wedding gown was simple, it was full of hidden sentimental meaning. Her veil was embroidered with flowers representing the commonwealth and the California poppy to honor her home state and inside her gown was a piece of blue fabric from the dress she wore on her first date with the prince.
A few months after the May 19, 2018 wedding at Windsor Castle, Markle herself explained why she ultimately chose Keller to design her gown. "I had a very clear vision of what I wanted for the day, and what I wanted the dress to look like," she said. "So what was amazing in working with Clare is that sometimes you'll find designers try to push you in a different direction, but she just completely respected what I wanted to see for the day, and she wanted to bring that to life for me."