The Duchess Wears Givenchy for Her First Solo Engagement

The Duchess chose a Givenchy dress for her first solo engagement this evening.

The event was the opening of the Royal Academy Oceania exhibition.

The exhibition is the first survey of Oceania art held in the UK. It includes works from Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia, and also encompasses the Pacific region from New Guinea to Easter Island, Hawaii to New Zealand. On Meghan’s right you see Ken Olisa, the Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London. (I am not sure who the gentleman on the left is.) 

The Royal Academy is celebrating its 250th anniversary this year. The museum is run by artists and home to Britain’s longest established art school. It is also one of the Queen’s patronages.

Earlier today, those attending a preview were treated to a dance by Ngāti Rānana, a Māori cultural group based in London.

More about the exhibit from the Academy:

Oceania will bring together around 200 exceptional works from public collections worldwide, and will span over 500 years. The exhibition draws from rich historic ethnographic collections dating from the 18th century to the present, and includes seminal works produced by contemporary artists exploring history, identity and climate change

The Duchess is seen talking with artists who have works on display in the exhibit.

Below, a gift to Captain James Cook, the figure of a Hawaiian deity done in feathers.

From Alastair Sooke’s review in The Telegraph:

Many of the exhibits at the RA are spectacular. Some are 500 years old. All, though, remind us of the strong links that bind together the far-flung peoples of the Pacific.

Five years in the making, Oceania is, then, a blast of a show, attesting to the versatility and ingenuity of the human imagination.

And this is from Robert Jobson’s Evening Standard piece:

Meghan, now 37, is due to tour Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific nations of Fiji and Tonga next month with the Duke of Sussex and was shown art from all four countries on her visit.

The Duchess views items in the exhibit in this video.

Meghan met curators of the exhibit, as well as artists whose work is displayed in it, and descendants with links to pieces in the show. Here you see her speaking with artists from New Zealand.

This is a newer piece of art in the show, it is by New Zealand artist John Pule, titled Kehe tau hauaga foou (“To all new arrivals”). Done in 2007, it uses enamel, oil, pencil, pastel, oil stick and ink on canvas. 

And from The Guardian’s piece about the show:

In this exhibition you can feel the ocean roll under your canoe, hear sea birds and see dorsal fins. The Royal Academy helps by painting some of the rooms ocean blue. Long before Cook explored the vastness of the Pacific, its indigenous peoples did. The very existence of the art here is a monument to one of humanity’s greatest and earliest acts of exploration.

A :30 video about the exhibit.

Meghan looking at some of the jewelry pieces.

Now to what the Duchess wore for tonight’s engagement. She was in a midi-length Givenchy dress with a vee insert on the bodice in what looks like velvet, sheer full sleeves and a front slit. 

Laura (Japanese_Ginger) suggests it is a version of the Givenchy Midi Dress with Pleated Sleeves ($3730). Our thanks to another Laura (SolidMoonlight) for sharing a link and pix of the design.

The dress is a black wool crepe and the product description confirms the bodice insert is velvet. Meghan’s dress was modified, substituting sheer, non-patterned sleeves for those seen in the product images, and a front slit; the Duchess also wore a wide Givenchy belt in velvet and what appears to be ‘old brass’ gold.

As Jeslyn points out in a comment, Meghan’s sleeves have some texture, you can see the micro-pleating in the photo below. The end product on Meghan’s dress looks more subtle than the image seen below right from the Givenchy product page.    

A closer look at the Givenchy belt Meghan wore with the dress.

The belt is from the Givenchy Couture Spring 2018 line. Below we show the belt worn in reverse, the buckle in the back, with the Rainbow dress from the collection:

The dress and belt (again worn backwards) also made an appearance on the red carpet at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival worn by actress Cate Blanchett.

Embed from Getty Images

We saw the Aquazzura Deneuve pumps again. The style is still available in larger sizes at Farfetch ($750); in limited sizes at Harvey Nichols ($556.56); limited sizes at Bergdorf ($750) and in mixed sizes at Aquazzura ($750).   

The Duchess carried her Givenchy clutch.

And wore her Birks Snowflake Snowstorm earrings ($12000).

Meghan was given a posy by Rima and Kotai, whose father was involved in the exhibition.

Meghan did her first hongi as a royal, several in fact. Many will recognize the hongi as a traditional Māori greeting, when two people press their foreheads and noses together.  Below, the Duchess with one of the Ngāti Rānana performers at tonight’s event.  

The Sun’s Emily Andrews shared this video of Meghan leaving the Royal Academy.


Also today, a little more about the ITV documentary Queen of the World.

In the program we see Meghan reunited with her wedding gown for the first time since she wore it in May.

The gown and accessories are shown being prepared for the upcoming exhibition at Windsor Castle, “A Royal Wedding: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.” 

More about the program from an Express story:

Speaking to the Royal Collection Exhibitions co-ordinator Hannah Belcher, while running her fingers through the delicate fabric, Meghan said: “My goodness, It’s amazing, isn’t it?

Somewhere in here, there’s a piece of… did you see it? The piece of blue fabric that’s stitched inside? It was my ‘something blue’ It’s fabric from the dress that I wore on our first date.”

The curator replied: “Oh, that’s about the most romantic thing I’ve heard.”

A reminder of how dramatic Meghan’s veil looked. 

Here is a clip from the doc.

In speaking about the veil, the Duchess says:

“It was important for me, especially now being a part of the Royal Family, to have all 53 of the Commonwealth countries incorporated, and I knew that it would be a fun surprise as well for my now husband, who didn’t know, and he was really over the moon to find out that I would make this choice for our day together.

“And I think the other members of the family had a similar reaction, and just appreciation for the fact that we understand how important this is for us and the role that we play, and the work that we’re going to continue to do within the Commonwealth countries.”

Part One of the broadcast airs on ITV tonight at 9:125pm. In the US the program will air on HBO, debuting this Monday (October 1) at 8pm. It will be available on demand October 2nd.

For those wondering, Meghan is wearing the Roland Mouret Barwick dress in the documentary. Some of you may recall Meghan wearing this dress when she arrived at the Cliveden with her mother, Doria, the day before the wedding.

Meghan can also be seen wearing a new pair of Birks earrings, the brand’s Bee Chic blue topaz and silver drop earrings, $510 CAN (about $394 US).

As Meghan mentions the piece of blue fabric from a dress she wore on her and Harry’s first dress sewn into her wedding dress, Susan C. is wondering if it might be from this blue and white striped dress shown in Meghan’s Instagram post from July 1, 2016 while in London:

Our final note: it is one year ago today that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were publicly seen together for the first time, as they attended events at the Invictus Games in Toronto.