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Clare Waight Keller reflects on her momentous year
From transforming the house of Givenchy to being chosen to design the most talked-about dress of the year - Meghan Markle's royal wedding gown (or "the dress that needs no introduction", as Amanda Seyfried describes it), 2019 has been quite the year for Clare Waight Keller. The British creative was presented with the Designer accolade at theHarper's BazaarWomen of the Year Awards this week, which gave her an opportunity to reflect on the last 12 months.
"This means a lot because quite often you don’t even get to take two minutes to think about what you’ve achieved," she said as she took to the stage. "A special thank you to my team at Givenchy... and I couldn’t do anything without my family – in London, my husband’s here tonight, and my children, who really are my safe place and something that I come home to and ground me every time.”
The designer also touched on how it felt to be the first ever female artistic director at Givenchy - which has previously been helmed by the likes of Riccardo Tisci, John Galliano and Alexander McQueen.
"I get asked a lot really what being a woman at the head of a couture house in Paris is like, and my answer is always, ‘why should it even be a question that I’m a woman there?’" she said. "I want to take this minute just to say that I’ve got teenage girls and I’d like them in their adult life to think that actually at this point, we live in a world where we don’t have to ask questions like that, that actually you’re a talent and you’ve got an amazing creative world and vision, and that should be the most important thing."
Amanda Seyfried, who is a friend of Waight Keller's and a longtime supporter of the Givenchy brand, presented the designer with the award and praised her for her ability to seamlessly juggle her family life in London with her work life in Paris.
"When they asked me to come and see my first Claire show for Givenchy earlier this year I got to see with my own eyes, and there she was – not only offering some of the most desirable fashion I’ve seen, but also making a point to show that in her Givenchy, women define power, they have attitude, they wear their hair as short as they want and they dance to the rhythm of their own beat," said Seyfried. "Juggling her beautiful family life in London and her role as the leader of Givenchy in Paris, she commutes back and forth every week, and what I saw on that runway show is that a woman can definitely do it all – and for that Clare, I thank you.
"I recently had a little girl myself and she fills me with love every day, and I want her to grow up in a world where strong women are able to lead without compromise, so she’s able to do the same one day," she added.
Watch the full speech, plus their backstage interviews, above.
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