Prince Harry Marries Ms. Meghan Markle - Windsor Castle

Meghan's Dress: The Legacy of Givenchy

From Audrey Hepburn to Jackie Kennedy, Givenchy has a history of dressing American royalty.

BEFORE MEGHAN, THERE WAS AUDREY Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images BEFORE MEGHAN, THERE WAS AUDREY After weeks of fevered speculation, Meghan Markle walked down the aisle to meet Prince Harry wearing a wedding dress designed by Givenchy's Clare Waight Keller. The ivory silk dress, simple yet modern, featured an elegant 16½-foot-long silk tulle veil. Of course, Givenchy has a long history of dressing those in the limelight. One of the first, in fact, was Audrey Hepburn. MEETING AUDREY Hulton Archive/Getty Images MEETING AUDREY Neither Hepburn nor Givenchy were household names when they began their collaboration. Givenchy was expecting a very different Hepburn when the actress came calling in the early 1950s for help with the film "Sabrina." “She wore tight little pants and a little T-shirt, and I was so disappointed she wasn’t Katharine,” Givenchy recalled. “I said I had no time — I was in the middle of making my second collection, and I didn’t have too many workers then. But we had dinner that night, and before dinner that night, and before dinner was over, I told her, ‘I’ll do anything for you.’” DRESS FOR SUCCESS. . . AND OSCAR NBC/NBC via Getty Images DRESS FOR SUCCESS. . . AND OSCAR The duo would work on a bevy of films together, including "Love in the Afternoon," "Paris When It Sizzles," and "Funny Face" (for which Givenchy was nominated for an Oscar). But it would be the simple black sheath from 1961's "Breakfast at Tiffany's" that would become an indelible piece of cinema history. The dress was later sold at auction at Christie's in 2006 for $923,187. “The little black dress is the hardest thing to realize,” Givenchy told the Times, “because you must keep it simple.” And who else to wear to her first Academy Awards but friend Givenchy? The white lace gown proved winning for Hepburn, who took home her first Oscar for 1953's "Roman Holiday." AMERICAN ROYALTY Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images AMERICAN ROYALTY Of course, Hepburn didn't have a monopoly on Givenchy's designs. For Jacqueline Kennedy's visit to Paris in 1961, she opted for creations by the thoroughly French Givenchy. The First Lady is seen here (accompanied by French president Charles De Gaulle) in a sleeveless satin Givenchy gown and a two-piece tweed skirt suit. Tres chic! JACKIE AND GIVENCHY RDA/RETIRED/Getty Images JACKIE AND GIVENCHY When she visited Paris on June 2, 1961, Jackie wore this tweed suit by Givenchy along with a Roy Halston Frowick hat. TRUE ROYALTY Bettmann/Bettmann Archive TRUE ROYALTY And then there's Grace Kelly. For her meeting with the Kennedys that same year, the Princess of Monaco opted for her own Givenchy skirt suit — this one in a stunning emerald green. A STYLISH LEGACY Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images A STYLISH LEGACY Givenchy and Hepburn remained friends until her death in 1993. According to People, Hepburn left more than 25 Givenchy dresses from her personal collection to the designer, which he loaned out to various museums throughout the years. Theirs is truly an unforgettable sartorial alliance. ONE LAST STROLL DEUTSCH Jean-Claude/Paris Match via Getty Images ONE LAST STROLL Though he sold his company to LVMH in 1988, Givenchy remained the designer until 1995. Here, he walks his final runway show before handing over the label to John Galliano, who would remain at the helm for just a year before decamping to Dior. (Alexander McQueen would succeed him.) At the 2017 opening of the “Hubert de Givenchy” exhibition at the Museum of Lace and Fashion in Calais, France, the designer reflected on his long career: “Mine is one of the most beautiful professions in fashion," he said. "Making others happy with an idea." The fashion legend died on March 10, 2018, just two months before the house bearing his name would make global news again. THE FUTURE OF GIVENCHY Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images THE FUTURE OF GIVENCHY Clare Waight Keller, 47, is the first female artistic director of the house, named to her position in 2017. Her résumé includes work for Gucci, Pringle of Scotland...and, with Meghan Markle's simple yet stunning gown at her wedding to Prince Harry, the British royal family.