The Duchess of Sussex is even more of a fan of Givenchy’s Clare Waight Keller than we might previously have thought. During Monday’s Fashion Awards at London’s Royal Albert Hall, the Duchess made a surprise appearance to present Waight Keller with the British Designer of the Year Womenswear accolade.
Since choosing a gown designed by Waight Keller for her wedding to Prince Harry in May, the Duchess, who is expecting her first child in the spring, has proved loyal to the designer by wearing her creations on numerous occasions.
In a slim-fit black column gown that hugged her expectant figure, the Duchess confidently strode out in front of the fashion industry to audible gasps. “It’s so nice to see so many familiar faces, many of you I’ve known for quite a while and there’s been a lot of you I’ve been able to meet in the last year,” she said. “So, thank you for the warm welcome.”
As the first female creative director of Givenchy, Waight Keller has championed a clean, sharp silhouette alongside traditional couture touches that has proven to mirror well – and largely shape – the new Duchess’s public wardrobe.
Alongside fellow actress and Givenchy champion Rosamund Pike onstage at the awards, the world got a glimpse of the star quality and showmanship that first placed the 37-year-old in the public eye. A solo outing honouring a fashion partnership that, while under the name of a French house, could prove pivotal in the style history of Britain.
“Lastly, I was going to thank you,” laughed Waight Keller gesturing at the Duchess when she collected her award. “Because this woman is so amazing. I got to know Meghan on such a personal level, and to have someone like that trust you in an incredible moment in their life is just such an unbelievable honour and I can’t thank you enough.”
The fashion industry in the UK and the British royal family have long been close companions, but perhaps never the more so than in the last 12 months. In February of this year, the Queen attended her first London Fashion Week show and presented Richard Quinn with the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award award.