“As a British designer at a Parisian haute couture house, and on behalf of all of us at Givenchy who have been able to experience such an extraordinary process of creativity, I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished and grateful to Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and Kensington Palace for allowing us to be part of this historical chapter.”
-Clare Waight Keller
Meghan Markle’s wedding dress was modern and stunning, as is the woman behind it. Here are three things to know about Clare Waight Keller.
1. She’s a Working Mother
Waight Keller has three children with her husband, US architect Philip Keller. "While the kids are at school, I’m flat-out at work," Waight Keller told W in 2015, "But I come home and work vanishes as soon as I hit the door. Unless there’s something really urgent and pressing, there’s so much going on here that work isn’t in my head. I think that’s what’s really grounding about having a family: You don’t let the crazy fashion world take you over."
2. She has Serious Design Cred
Waight Keller is from Birmingham, and grew up hand stitching clothes with her mum; she earned her BA and MA in fashion and fashion knitwear at Ravensbourne College of Art and Royal College of Art, respectively. After school Waight Keller moved to New York City and designed for Calvin Klein Womenswear and Purple Label at Ralph Lauren. She started work as a senior designer for Tom Ford at Gucci in 2000 London (alongside other storied talents like Christopher Bailey), and five years later she stepped into her first Creative Director post at Pringle of Scotland. Her work at Pringle transformed the small Scottish knitwear company into a modern and globally sought label.
In 2011 Waight Keller took Creative Director reigns at Chloe (following the likes of Phoebe Philo, Stella McCartney, Karl Lagerfeld and Gaby Aghion, the house’s founder); during her tenure she was widely praised for making the brand more approachable and profitable. By the time she left, Chloe was the most profitable brand at Richemont with an estimated 400 pounds in sales the year she resigned.
3. She's a Trailblazer
Last year Waight Keller was appointed the first female artistic director of Givenchy. The label said they chose her due to her compelling vision, commitment to leadership and ability to break the rules. “She’s a very interesting balance between magic and logic, and I’m personally very, very excited to have her on board," says Givenchy CEO Philippe Fortunato. Her first collections for Givenchy have been well received, translating the 70’s aesthetic she mastered at Chloe into the world of Givenchy effectively.
She managed to do all of this while secretly designing Megan Markle’s wedding dress (her husband and family didn’t even know). We cannot wait to see what's next.