Did Amal Clooney Introduce Meghan Markle to Her Go-To Vintage Source?
The BFFs are both fans of London-based William Vintage.
What’s a BFF good for if not sharing their deepest, darkest shopping secrets? Well, sure, sometimes they offer support in your time of need or make you laugh so hard you cry — and a true bestie will always let you stand on your "good side" when taking group pics.
But that’s not why we’re here. We’re here because we noticed that Meghan Markle and Amal Clooney, noted BFFs, have recently been spotted wearing pieces from designer vintage boutique William Vintage. Clooney has been a fan of the brand for the past few years, sporting vintage Saint Laurent (below) and Cardin pieces everywhere from the red carpet to Buckingham Palace to meetings with the Italian prime minister. Now that bestie Meghan is living on the same continent (Markle is moving into Frogmore cottage, and Amal resides on a small island on the Thames roughly 40 miles from London), we wouldn’t be surprised if Clooney slipped her pal the name of her favorite haunt.
Given the Duchess of Sussex’s proclivity toward sustainable, ethically sourced fashions — as she’s shown again and again by choosing to wear responsible brands on her highly-publicized outings as a newly-minted royal — a vintage shop is right up her ally. And in just a few months she's already worn three different coats from William Vintage's collection, including the silk black Courrèges Haute Couture trapeze coat she wore during her trip to New York in February.
Though William Vintage’s CEO, Marie Blanchet, declined to comment on the shopping habits of either the Duchess or the barrister, she’s all for celebrating vintage as an alternative option to fast, trend-driven fashion.
“We are extremely proud to have Meghan Markle as a client and of her decision to support vintage,” Blanchet tells InStyle via phone from London, where the shop is based. She adds that more than ever, we live in a time when “awareness of how we have to take care of our environment” is at an all time high. “Vintage is reflecting the time because women are consuming more ethically.”
Founded in 2010 by the “William” in William Vintage — William Banks-Blaney, who stepped away last year — the brand currently sells a selection of its designer wares online at Farfetch and 1stdibs, as well as by appointment at their central London location; at-home (or at-hotel hotel) appointments are also an option for local clients. Their main focus now, however, is to scale the business and shift their focus to their growing American customer base.
As for how the pieces are selected, Blanchet tells InStyle that she’s got an eye for items in impeccable condition and that don’t necessarily have the look of a ‘60s (or ‘70s, or ‘80s, etc.)-themed costume party.
“As trends keep coming back, the pieces that I myself keep wearing are my vintage pieces,” said Blanchet of her personal collection. “Fashion is cyclical. Fashion is more and more inspired by the past.” All this is to say that a 1960s Dior coat, like the one worn by Meghan during the christening of Zara Tindall’s baby, looks modern and on-trend despite the fact that it's got almost 30 years on the Duchess herself.
Ditto the two-piece Lanvin set from 1967 worn by Amal Clooney all the way back in 2015, which made us triple take and gasp, “that’s vintage?” And because of its rarity, Clooney (probably) won’t ever have to worry about wandering into a room wearing the same 'fit as another woman (though, TBH, we're sure she wouldn't mind. She seems chill like that.)
“Vintage is the ultimate luxury,” Blanchet adds. “Vintage is so popular right now because women are looking for something unique.”
We’ll admit, sometimes it can be difficult to mentally wrestle with the idea of dropping a few hundred on just a single item — especially one that’s already lived another life. But Blanchet has the perfect place for a vintage virgin to start: A Saint Laurent blazer from the ‘70s, ‘80s or ‘90s. “He cuts the jacket like no one else,” she said, “and it will never be out of fashion.”