Meghan Launches ‘Smart Set’ Capsule Collection for Smart Works
The Duchess wore pieces from the ‘Smart Set’ collection for today’s launch of the capsule clothing and accessory line.
The engagement marks Meghan’s official return from maternity leave.
The Smart Set collection was created to benefit Smart Works, one of Meghan’s patronages. The organization provides coaching, apparel, and styling tips for unemployed women who have upcoming job interviews. Below you see Meghan arriving at the John Lewis Oxford Street store in London where there was a function celebrating the launch.
More about the origins of the collection via Omid Scobie’s story for Harper’s Bazaar:
The idea was born just after Meghan became patron of the organization, which empowers disadvantaged women with the right tools and clothes to get back into the work place, at the start of the year.
Meghan pitched the idea for a collection to the Smart Works team, including executives Juliet Hughes-Hallett and Kate Stephens, and it was an instant hit. “She wanted the basics of a capsule collection to always be available,” a source tells BAZAAR. “Pieces that were more mix and match-able rather than just one new outfit.
Meghan delivered remarks at today’s event.A video of the Duchess speaking via Chris Ship of ITV.
— Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv) September 12, 2019
And from The Telegraph‘s story:
The Duchess’s passion for this charity was evident as she shared personal stories with guests, from how she had dressed clients for a photoshoot to capture the promotional campaign images, to the issues she has observed herself when volunteering at the charity’s London centres.
Below, Meghan and Smart Works CEO Kate Stephens.
The capsule line includes five pieces done in collaboration with Jigsaw, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, and Misha Nonoo, the eponymous brand owned by Meghan’s close friend. The clothing items are offered in sizes 6-24.
The duchess spent eight months working closely with the charity and brands involved to ensure every aspect of the project is right. Alongside her royal duties and other charitable endeavors, Meghan pored over look books from her home in Windsor to curate and perfect the collection, filled with pieces she would wear herself. (Yes, she has the entire range in her own wardrobe!)
For every piece from the line that is sold, an identical piece will be donated to one of the eight Smart Works locations. Products are accompanied by signage that includes a quote from Meghan: “Not a handout, a hand, held.”
The women modeling the pieces in promotional materials are Smart Works clients. From left to right: Zara, Andrea, and Kate. More about the launch from Vanity Fair:
Meghan remarked that her elegant black tailored trousers by High Street retailer Jigsaw were incredibly comfortable. She is understood to have personally contacted the High Street store to see if they would come on board with the idea of Smart Set after she saw their recent fashion campaign which focused on Britain’s ethnic diversity.
In a release timed to coincide with London Fashion Week, the collection is slated to be available for the next two weeks. Pieces became available on a few sites early this morning and some of the items are already sold out online.
Below, an image from the launch at John Lewis in a photo shared by royal reporter Victoria Murphy.
Different pieces are available at different retailers. Marks and Spencer is offering a Crepe Shift dress in Black or Rich Blue, $32.50. The dress is also available in black in petite sizes ($32.50). (Note: online a red dress is also shown, but it is not part of the Smart Set collection.)
The unlined dress is done in a polyester crepe fabric with three-quarter sleeves and an open vee neck. It is also machine washable. Here is a view of the dress as seen at Marks and Spencer, shared by Patricia Treble, who is in London on a work trip. She stopped by stores to check out the collection.
John Lewis is offering the Leather Smart Set Tote Bag, £109 ($134), in tan or black. The inclusion of a tote came out of Meghan’s belief there is a need for more office-friendly bags.
The bag is described as a soft leather grain that is “lightweight and versatile.” In a series of tweets about the collection Patricia says it is “a good practical tote in black and rich mid-brown”. Below, another photo via Patrica.
The tote has an open-top design and it is fully lined with multiple interior pockets. It can be carried as a tote or as a cross-body style using the detachable shoulder strap. Unfortunately, the bag is sold out in both colors.
Misha Nonoo’s ‘The Smart Set Shirt,’ $125, is a classic button-up shirt. It is done in a cotton-spandex blend with a semi-slim fit and Misha Nonoo branded buttons.
In keeping with the brand’s sustainability practices, the shirts are made on-demand; each shirt is cut and sewn when the order is placed.
For its part of the collection, Jigsaw offers a two-piece pantsuit from their Paris line. The Paris one-button jacket in black (£199, roughly $245) is crafted in a wool blend with a fitted silhouette, slanted front welt pockets, and an acetate/poly lining. (Please Note: You will see the jacket in navy online, but that color is not part of the Smart Set line.)
The Paris Slim Fit Tapered Trouser in black (£120, about $150 at today’s exchange rates) is done in the same polyester/wool/Elastane fabric used for the jacket and features a front zipper, front and back pockets, belt loops and a full lining. (Again, the navy trouser shown online is not part of the Smart Set collection.)
One FYI: it does not appear the Jigsaw pieces are available for shipping to the US. We’re checking to find out about other countries.
Below, a quick refresher on the pieces in the collection.
And the retailers offering the styles.
- Marks & Spencer: Dress ($32.50)
- John Lewis: Tote ($138)
- Misha Nonoo: Shirt ($125)
- Jigsaw: Jacket (£199, about $245) and Trousers (£120, roughly $150)
We can look forward to seeing the Duchess in the pieces again; at today’s launch, she said she plans to wear them on the upcoming tour.
It was in January of this year that the Duchess was appointed the royal patron of Smart Works. Shortly after the announcement was made, she made an official visit to the charity.
Meghan had been meeting with the charity and some of its clients privately for several months before the announcement.
In late August the Sussex Royal Instagram account shared behind the scenes footage of the Duchess at the photoshoot for the collection.
This isn’t Meghan’s first fashion collaboration. Previously she teamed up with Canadian retailer Reitmans to create a work-to-weekend-wear line.
Now for our look at what Meghan wore for today’s launch. The Duchess was in the Misha Nonoo shirt ($125) from the Smart Set collection.
The shirt is 97% cotton with 3% Spandex for stretch and ease of movement.
Meghan also wore the Paris Trouser from Jigsaw (£120, roughly $150 at today’s exchange rates) that is part of the collection. The trousers are done in the same polyester/wool/elastane fabric used for the jacket and feature a front zipper, front and back pockets, belt loops, and a full lining.
A final note on the collection via this Telegraph story: “The Duchess hasn’t just lent her name to the project – you can tell that she’s been involved in every stage of the process. These really are clothes that she would wear herself – and by all accounts, clothes that she will wear herself – and it shows.”
Meghan appears to be wearing a new pair of Manolo Blahnik BB pumps today in the brand’s cognac colorway. The shoe is available at Farfetch, $601.
The design is a classic pump with a pointed toe and stiletto heel.
Meghan had on a Polo Ralph Lauren belt. It looks like the label’s Nappa Leather Skinny Belt (£85, about $105) in the ‘saddle’ color.
Meghan wore Princess Diana’s butterfly earrings, as well as her cuff bracelet. (Both are shown as worn on a previous occasion.)
ITN’s Royal Family Channel has a video running 6+ minutes from today’s launch event.
And here you see the photos posted to the Sussex Royal Instagram page.
View this post on Instagram
Last month, The Duchess of Sussex surprised Smart Works clients during the capsule collection shoot in west London…Today, The Duchess, alongside @SmartWorksCharity – in partnership with @InsideJigsaw, @JohnLewisandPartners, @MarksandSpencer and @MishaNonoo – are incredibly proud to reveal to everyone, #TheSmartSet – a five piece capsule collection that will equip the Smart Works clients with the classic wardrobe pieces to help them feel confident as they mobilise back into the work space. • “Since moving to the UK, it has been deeply important to me to meet with communities and organisations on the ground doing meaningful work and to try to do whatever I can to help them amplify their impact. It was just last September that we launched the ‘Together’ cookbook with the women of the Hubb Kitchen in Grenfell. Today, a year later, I am excited to celebrate the launch of another initiative of women supporting women, and communities working together for the greater good. Thank you to the four brands who came together in supporting Smart Works on this special project – placing purpose over profit and community over competition. In convening several companies rather than one, we’ve demonstrated how we can work collectively to empower each other – another layer to this communal success story, that I am so proud to be a part of” – The Duchess of Sussex The collection – which features a shirt, trousers, blazer, dress and tote bag – will be on sale for two weeks starting today, with the objective of selling enough units to give Smart Works the essentials they need to help dress clients for the coming year! For every item bought during the sale of the collection, one will be donated to Smart Works, this 1:1 model allows customers to directly support the Smart Works women by playing a part in their success story – how they look and more importantly, how they feel. Photo © @JennyZarins
Also today, a quick reminder: The TARGET 20 Years of Design for All collection goes on sale this Saturday, 14 September!
Target is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Design for All by bringing back some of their most-loved products from 20 of their iconic design partners – Jason Wu, Altuzzara, Anna Sui, Zac Posen, Proenza Schouler, 3.1 Phillip Lim and Hunter to name a few.
Grab some #MatchMeg styles during this special event from some of Meghan’s favorite designers past and present!*****
Finally, earlier this week Ellen DeGeneres kicked off the Fall Season of her talk show, The Ellen Show, and shared this video clip on Twitter revealing an exciting upcoming collaboration!
This summer I got to meet Prince Harry and Meghan’s son Archie in England. Would you like to see the picture? pic.twitter.com/gdNpYwrsXv
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) September 9, 2019
In the clip, Ellen mentions how she and wife, Portia de Rossi, talked with the Royal couple about their love for the work they do in Botswana with the elephants. In return, Harry and Meghan also like what Ellen is doing with the Gorillas in Rwanda. Ellen then revealed that she and Portia are planning to join forces with Harry and Meghan on an upcoming conservation project!
We think we’ll hear some sort of an announcement on that soon.
- Read our previous posts about the collaboration here and here.
- The Smart Works website is here; the charity’s Facebook page is here; its Instagram page here and Twitter feed here
- The Mirror’s story is here; The Daily Mail’s piece is here; a Daily Telegraph story is here
- a People article is here; a Harper’s Bazaar piece is here; a Vox story is here; Victoria Murphy’s Town and Country piece is here; a Hello! story is here
- a Harper’s Bazaar gallery on the collection is here; a PopSugar gallery is here and the Fug Girls post is here; Vogue Australia’s coverage is here