Our Duchess spent the day officially launchinh the Smart Set, a capsule wardrobe produced in partnership with John Lewis & Partners, Marks & Spencer, Jigsaw, and her designer friend Misha Nonoo
From the moment I heard about the launch, I knew it was my chance to meet Meghan in real life.
I, therefore, hurried to book the next flight to London where I stayed with my cousin. However, the location was not revealed in the statement, so I did a lot of research to determine where it took place. When this was in place, I was ready at 8:00 in the morning. Do you believe me when I say I was extremely excited?
On our way:
Ahead of her arrival Meghan released the following statement:
“Since moving to the UK, it has been deeply important to me to meet with communities and organizations 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. Now, one year later, I am excited to celebrate the launch of another initiative of women supporting women, and communities working together for the greater good. When you buy any item in the Smart Set Capsule Collection for Smart Works, the same item will be given to a Smart Works client, and with it, the confidence and support she needs to enter the workforce and take an important step in building a career. 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.”
My cousin and I spent many many hours waiting for Meghan to arrive. I got in touch with a lot of people there, talking about my excitement of meeting her for the first time. Here are some photos I took that day:
“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 overlook books from her home in Windsor to curate and perfect the collection, filled with pieces she would wear herself. A favorite? The “perfect tote” by John Lewis (£109/$134), which was added to the collection after Meghan spoke with Smart Works about the need for more office-friendly bags. “The most important thing was it had to fit a CV [resume],” says a source involved in the project, who notes that the design team agreed on producing it in black and tan leather, as the colors are “great, year-round staples.” The John Lewis brand has been a longtime supporter of Smart Works, donating seasonal wardrobes of new stock and running volunteering programs with the organization.”
Every item bought from the collection in store or online will see another donated directly to one of eight Smart Works dressing rooms across the U.K, for two weeks. According to Meghan, the items will offer the confidence and support clients need “to enter the workforce and take an important step in building a career.”
Speaking eloquently (without notes of course), Meghan revealed the inspiration behind the new collection.
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 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.”
About the designs, Meghan 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”
You can read the full speech here
And watch it here
Meghan was hands-on with the project from the beginning and surprised the Smart Works team when she joined the Smart Set campaign shoot with photographer Jenny Zarins at a central London studio. Instead of using professional models, they worked with three women – Andrea, Kate, and Zara – who had successfully found jobs with the help of Smart Works.
After her amazing speech Meghan met with Smart Works clients and representatives from the brands. She listened to a panel discission and were also photographed hugging her longtime friend Misha Nonoo
Speaking to VanityFair about the launch, Misha said:
“I feel so lucky to have been a part of it and I’m so thrilled with how it all went, there has been a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes and the Duchess has been working very hard on this for months.”
Smart Works Charity was created in 2013 and aims to dress and train unemployed women for success at their job interview. The women who come to Smart Works receives a complete outfit of clothes and accessories, and one to one interview coaching. The outfit is hers to keep. 65% of the women who came to Smart Works the last year, went on to succeed at interview.
It was Meghan who decided that it should be Smart Works clients who modeled the collection
The line includes blazer and trousers from Jigsaw, a tote bag from John Lewis & Partners, a flattering dress from Mark & Spencer, and a white shirt from Misha Nonoo.
Very fitting for the day, Meghan wore both the Misha Nonoo shirt and Jigsaw black tapered trousers from the collection for today’s launch.
Credit: REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo
She accessorized it with a Ralph Lauren tan nappa leather skinny belt
And her Manolo Blahnik pointed toe pumps in cognac.
She completed her sharp outfit with a pair of her late mother-in-law’s earrings.
Princess Diana was photographed wearing the same earrings during a visit to British Columbia, Canada, with Prince Charles on May 4, 1986.
She also wore a gold cuff bracelet that belonged to Diana. The bracelet is set with two cabochon stones that are likely sapphires of onyx, and Diana enjoyed wearing it at balls and galas.
She accompanied the bracelet with her Shaun Leane bracelet, Pippa Small Oshna bangle, and Zofia Day open diamond cuff.
A lovely lovely day.