While the pregnant duchess was not in France for fashion week, the royal connection was keenly felt as the aristocratic was given a chic update. Until May last year, the style icon inevitably mentioned in the same breath as Givenchy was Audrey Hepburn. But since that royal wedding dress, the role of Givenchy figurehead has fallen to the Duchess of Sussex. The Parisian house and Meghan have forged an almost symbiotic relationship, with Givenchy’s British designer Clare Waight Keller shaping much of the royal maternity wardrobe.
The pregnant duchess was not in attendance at Paris fashion week, but the royal connection made itself felt. Waight Keller said backstage that she had been influenced by “aristocracy bringing a new chic sensibility into the urban world”. Call it an inverted viewpoint on the Meghan effect, which is bringing a more modern, urban attitude to the tweedy style tropes of the house of Windsor. The ever discreet Waight Keller insisted, however, that she was referring to the early 1990s trend for models with aristocratic backgrounds – “girls like Jasmine Guinness, or Honor Fraser”, who wore haute couture on the pages of Vogue with an insouciant attitude, as if a taffeta gown was some old thing found rumpled in a suitcase in Granny’s attic – an attitude that came naturally to those for whom Granny’s attic was full of haute couture.