Markle's Wedding Dress Is a Big Win for LVMH's Givenchy
(Bloomberg) -- Meghan Markle picked Paris fashion house Givenchy’s Clare Waight Keller to design her royal wedding dress, a boost for the British designer who is the company’s first female artistic director since its founding in 1952.
Waight Keller’s “timeless and elegant aesthetic, impeccable tailoring, and relaxed demeanor” played a role in Markle’s selection, Kensington Palace said in a statement on its website as the American actress married Prince Harry at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Saturday. Markle also wanted to highlight the success of a leading British talent and the two worked closely together, according to the statement.
“We wanted to create a timeless piece that would emphasize the iconic codes of Givenchy throughout its history, as well as convey modernity through sleek lines and sharp cuts,” Waight Keller said in an emailed statement. She was appointed last year as artistic director of Givenchy, one of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s key fashion brands, after serving as creative head of Chloé and Pringle of Scotland.
Markle, the newly titled Duchess of Sussex, has set herself apart from previous royal brides by choosing a dress that was “extremely pared back, refined, with no lace or embroidery,” said Hugo Toucas, a celebrity stylist based in Paris.
“It’s classic but at the same time very modern,” Toucas added. “It’s unexpected in its simplicity.”
At Markle’s request, Waight Keller also designed the bride’s veil, which included floral designs representing all 53 of the Commonwealth nations.
Givenchy is one of the 70 houses controlled by LVMH, including Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Fendi. The brand became synonymous with modern elegance in the mid-20th century as the favored couturier of Jackie Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn. Founder Hubert de Givenchy, who sold the fashion house to LVMH in 1988, died in March at 91 years old.
Givenchy grew strongly under the guidance of Waight Keller’s predecessor Riccardo Tisci, a favored designer of pop icons like Beyonce and who designed the wedding dress for Instagram and reality-TV star Kim Kardashian. With Markle’s wedding dress, Waight Keller is “marking her territory” at Givenchy, announcing to the world a clear break with the aesthetic that Tisci had created for the house, Toucas said.
The fashion house has 50 directly operated stores and is present in 69 countries, according to the LVMH website. It plans to open more than 20 boutiques a year as it seeks to continue its overseas expansion by focusing on the U.S., Middle East, Europe and Asia.
LVMH shares have risen 26 percent this year amid strong first quarter sales underpinned by demand from China.
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