Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex made an impressive return to work in London this afternoon. Wearing two pieces from her new capsule work wardrobe, which she paired with designer heels and an Hermes belt , Meghan delivered a flawless speech about her new passion project , Smart Set, a limited-run clothing line that benefits the U.K.-based charity Smart Works.
The sun was shining and Meghan, who brought traffic to a standstill outside the John Lewis store on London's Oxford Street, looked thrilled to be resuming royal duties following the birth of her son Archie in April. Sporting blow-dried hair and her signature barely-there make-up, Meghan was on great form as she greeted representatives from the Smart Works charity, which helps women back on the career ladder. There were hugs for charity co-founder Juliet Hughes-Hallet and CEO Kate Stephens , with whom Meghan collaborated with on the five-piece capsule clothing collection.
“Thank you so much for being here today. It's very exciting and it looks beautiful and I'm sorry if you were waiting for a bit in this sunshine, though it's pretty nice weather,” she told a gathering of women from the charity, as well as fashion industry executives, who were invited to the launch.
Wearing the collection's white shirt, a new take on the husband shirt by her friend Misha Nonoo she famously wore during one of her first public outings with Prince Harry , 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. Speaking eloquently without notes, Meghan revealed the inspiration behind the new collection, which has been kept under close wraps until today.
Describing the initiative as the “kind of work I've been doing for a very long time,” she said that charity shouldn't just be about giving away the things that we no longer want but should also be about community and giving something away that actually means something for the benefit of someone else. Saying that she and Harry plan to continue their philanthropic work in a similar vein, Meghan said she wanted to create a charity initiative to help women in her new home. “When I first moved to the U.K. it was incredibly important to me personally to be able to connect with people on the ground doing really important work, and one of the places I went to very early on was Smart Works.”
Speaking about the designs, the Duchess added, “I thought, this is going to be classics and essentials. What are traditional and quintessential British brands that I've become introduced to since I moved here which resonate and I knew resonated with the Smart Works customer? And for me that seemed obvious to be Marks & Spencer and John Lewis, which I have worn quite a bit in the past year or two since I have been here and they thankfully said yes as well, as did Misha (Nonoo).”
“And the last company that I wanted to have be a part of this project was Jigsaw and truth be told that was because I had seen a campaign that they had done the year before really highlighting the diversity of the U.K. and the immigrant culture and how that was a part of the fabric of the nation. When I saw that I was so touched by it and I thought anybody who is seeing the world that way and seeing the community that way is someone that I think would be a great partner to have on this project. They all said yes and that was a great start, so thank you so much for that.”
Advertisement Meghan is expected wear pieces from the capsule collection on the couple's forthcoming tour of South Africa later this month. “She's planning to take a working wardrobe over anything too glamorous so I am sure we'll be seeing more of Meghan in the Smart Set collection,” says a source.
Meghan said she was delighted to learn on the way to the engagement that the John Lewis Tote bag, which comes in black and tan, had already sold out online. It is currently being re stocked and is still available in the London store.
There to support her was her close friend and Archie's godmother Isabel May , who had a front row seat along with Misha. The Duchess stayed for the hour-long engagement and was happy to mingle with guests for a short period afterwards before telling one group of women who use Smart Works that she had to get home— it was time to feed Archie.
LINK ORIGINAL: Vanityfair