Mar 012012

Kate broke with tradition today, selecting a non-British designer for her appearance with the Queen and the Duchess of Cornwall. The trio visited Fortnum and Mason’s flagship store in Piccadilly, the event marking rejuvenation efforts in that area of central London.

Fortnum & Mason

Kate chose a lovely blue coat by M Missoni, the diffusion line from parent brand Missoni. All three royal women were in shades of blue, clearly some color coordination went on ahead of time.

Toby Melville – Ian Jones Photography/

The collarless coat featured multiple panels in the back, exposed seams, and fringe trim at the neck and down the front placket.

©Allpix, Splash/Allpix, Splash

©Allpix, Splash/Allpix, Splash

In the UK M Missoni is carried at Selfridge’s, Harvey Nichols and Harrod’s in the UK, although Simon Perry, People magazine’s chief foreign correspondent, shared that the coat was something of a bargain.

Simon Perry Twitter Feed (@SPerryPeopleMag)

Kate’s coat is similar to another M Missoni garment, the cut, exposed seams and fringe are the same on this coat, although it is made from woven cotton, as opposed to the knit boucle seen on Kate.

The Outnet

It also has characteristics of these past season pieces at Nordstrom and The Outnet.

Nordstrom/The Outnet

Our thanks to WKW FB friend Michelle (aka Shellie Bells on Twitter), she spotted the blue jacket on the far left that is the shorter version of Kate’s coat and was good enough to share the photo with everyone. We also want to thank Elisa Roche of the Daily Express for sharing confirmation the coat was definitely a M Missoni piece.

The regal group received hampers laden with goodies from the upscale grocer.  From The Telegraph’s story:

They laughed as they rummaged through their goodies and spotted the “hearty treats for happy hounds”.

While the Queen is known for her love of corgis, Kate and William recently acquired a cocker spaniel they have named Lupo.

Another look at Fortnum’s interior:

Fortnum & Mason Piccadilly

Kate wore two daffodils while Her Majesty and Camilla wore leek brooches, in honor of St. David’s Day. He is the patron saint of Wales, daffodils and leeks are both symbols honoring Welsh heritage; all three women were presented with bouquets of fresh daffodils upon leaving Fortnum’s.

The British Monarchy

More on the visit from Hello!:

As a military wife, Kate was particularly interested to meet staff working on the Gifts For Troops scheme, an initiative which sends packages to soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

We saw the return of Kate’s Rupert Sanderson Malone heels in grey suede, previously seen at Order of the Garter events back in June.

©Allpix/Splash News

©Allpix/Splash News

The shoe features a rounded toe and 4″ heel, it is currently stocked in all sizes, selling at €425, about $565 at today’s exchange rates.

Rupert Sanderson

We also saw the return of Kate’s Hope Egg earrings by Links of London.

Links of London

Kate also repeated the well known blue Zara dress first seen the day after her wedding, repeated for Prince Philip’s 90th birthday.

One of the more intriguing things about Kate’s ensemble today is what was omitted: she carried no clutch or other handbag, something of a departure for the Duchess.

It was also a repeat appearance for the Queen’s ensemble by Angela Kelly (Majesty Magazine’s Joe Little shared that it was first worn in Oman in 2010), Camilla was in a navy and cream Bruce Oldfield coat.

One of the topics discussed with Kate while inside the store was tea, People has more:

She apparently likes it, too. “I would really like to learn to make the perfect cup of tea, as when I last made a pot of tea with dried tea leaves I got it very wrong,” Kate admitted.

Fortnum’s has also unveiled their Diamond Jubilee gift collection.

Fortnum & Mason

We thought it a strong sartorial selection by Kate. Some found the look too staid, saying it was “boxy” and “too old,” while others had more favorable feelings about the style. I am among the latter group, thinking it was ideal for the occasion: a classic cut that was understated but also elegant, and appropriate to the occasion, not something that was likely to distract or overshadow the Queen, a paramount concern. It was a beautiful blue that is very pretty with Kate’s coloring, it was also nice to see her in something other than earth tones.

In conjunction with its story about the appearance The Mirror is running an online poll asking if the choice is a fashion “hit… or Missoni”, here is how the voting looks:

The Mirror

For The Telegraph’s video, click here.

The Telegraph

ITV also has a nice story, its video may be found here.



Our other item today is quite lighthearted, it deals with something near and dear to many fashion fans: shoes. As some readers may know, next week the Jubilee Tour is officially launched in Leicester, in central England. The Queen, Prince Philip and Kate will be in Leicester for a dizzying number of events, including a competition among students from the Footwear Design course at De Montfort University.  More than 100 students took part in the competition, the list is now down to 6 finalists.

Kate will pick the winning design herself while visiting DMU, and the shoe will then actually be created and she will wear it. How amazing would that be for any young designer, let alone students working hard to learn their craft? Once word of the competition was public, the always-on-top-of-things Carly from Kate Middleton Style blog suggested a poll might be fun, letting WKW readers select their favorite of the six designs.

Not one to turn aside a brilliant idea, we share all six designs (you can see them on the DMU Facebook page), as well as some background information on each.

We begin with a royal blue shoe by Becka Hunt.

Becka Hunt / De Montfort University Leicester

This design is crafted from blue suede with beaded lace overlay, and we all know how much The Duchess enjoys her lace.  The styleboard shows that there would be no platform, the heel would not be “too high,” not more than 3″ to 4″.  Ms. Hunt counts Jimmy Choo and Alexander McQueen among her idols, sharing more about her inspiration in a Peterborough Today story:

“My design is inspired by 19th century fashions and based around the things Kate wears, her engagement ring and her style.”
She said: “I love her fashion sense. She’s really elegant.”

You can read the entire story about Ms. Hunt by clicking here.

Kay Yeng-Chen’s shoe sits atop a sizable platform, similar to that of Kate’s nude Sledge heels from LK Bennett.

Kay Yeng-Chen/De Montfort University Leicester

The primary motif is that of a fairytale, showcased in lavender and fuchsia.

Mei Chun-Lai created a design that celebrates the Year of the Dragon.

Mei Chun-Lai/De Montfort University

The shoe’s shape is inspired by Chinese lanterns, the primary colors are orange and blue. Ms. Chun-Lai shares more of her idea with This is Leicestershire:

“Kate’s style is really elegant but I think she might choose something a bit different with this, maybe.”

In his design Sam Sawkill also used lace, incorporating an English rose theme.

Sam Sawkill/De Montfort University

He told The Mirror:

Sam said: “I wanted to make a cool and sexy shoe for a formal occasion and it’s fantastic to have been shortlisted but it would be great to be selected over all as it would get me recognised as a designer.”

Summer Spencer uses colors from Kate and William’s Coat of Arms in her design.

Summer Rose Spencer/De Montfort University

The tartan plaid is used as a reminder of the couple’s time at the University in Scotland. This student is also smart, demonstrating  her familiarity with shoes previously seen on Kate, including the blue “Art” courts worn to to open Darwen Academy.

Tabitha Duffield has created a classic shoe with what looks like a fairly high heel in nude and soft pink.

Tabitha Duffield/De Montfort University

But Ms. Duffield has also updated the silhouette with laser-cut flowers and a flourish at the back, she shares thoughts all of the finalists would echo More from this student, again via This is Leicester:

“It would mean the world if she chose my design. The fact this competition has even come our way is amazing.”

It is obviously a talented group of young designers, it was fun reading the reasons certain elements and themes were chosen for inclusion in the designs.

Now it’s time for you to vote: of these six designs, which shoe do you think best reflects Kate’s taste and is the one she is most likely to select?

  49 Responses to “Kate in Missoni For Piccadilly Visit + New Poll: Pick The Shoes”

  1. Hi, I just looked through some old posts and found this. I wondered if Kate has actually worn the winning shoes to this day? I also don’t recall if there was a post about the selection. Could you send me a link, if there is one, please?

    Also, thank you for this brilliant blog, I love it! :)

    • If you’re asking about the shoes designed by a student at De Montfort University in Leicester, there have not been any reports of Kate wearing the shoes. However, it’s quite possible she wore the shoes to a private event and we simply don’t about it. :)

  2. I like the color but I am not really crazy about this coat. She wears a lot of Zara which is a Spanish label…. It does seem to be a little cold to wear a sleeveless dress even with a coat. I generaly think she dresses well and looks comfortable in her clothes. In my opinion, I think she needs to take the hems down 2 inches and have her dresses and skirts fall at the knee. That length just looks more flattering.

  3. I’m not thrilled with this dress, but I do like it. I love the color. I guess I’m tired of coat dresses. ;) but I DO like how the Duchess chooses themes she likes, like blue, then white, then lace, now coat-dresses. :) In any case, she looked elegant and understated, very regal and pretty.

    As for the shoes, I like the blue ones, but they look SO uncomfortable! I voted for the bottom pair, because I love the little extra touch at the back. I wish all the designers luck – what an opportunity!

  4. There will always be a handful of people who will end up not liking what she wears. I respect that. But Kate looks absolutely chic in this M Missoni coat. Boucle is not severe and too mature. If the material is used in the right style and cut, it works. I disagree that this looks boxy at all. Not all coats have to be cinched in the waist and be form-fitting. Think about it, loose and blouse-y tees are just as flattering as a perfectly fitted tee.

    I love the details of this coat and the color is just beautiful. The daffodils were a nice touch. The whole outfit is an A for me… the gray suede heels totally worked with that coat.

  5. I loved the color on this coat, and the overall look with the flowers and shoes was very nice indeed. I think it’s actually one of the best colors on her, she looks radiant. I can’t help bring up my pet peeves though – way too thin and boring hairstyle.

  6. At laaaaast ! A more cheerful colour for Kate ! I was getting sick with all these brown, black, grey dresses.
    She looks like the japanese princesses : hands claspsed and legs tight together..

  7. I liked the color, the cut, and even the ragged edges…….it was fun yet had elegance. The daffodils did make the color sing. I do not understand the constant griping about her hair. If she likes to wear it long (perhaps her husband has commented that he likes the way she wears it and so to please him that is what she does – who knows?????) so be it. It is a lovely color, well maintained, and youthful looking. My guess is that if and when children come along, the hairstyle will change.

    It was obvious from the pictures and video that the Queen, Camilla, and Catherine were enjoying themselves.

  8. I didn’t like the Missoni coat, I reckon that it looks baggy on her, for someone as skinny and tall as Kate I think it’s important to accentuate the waist. I liked the shoes and the yellow flower though.

    The coat actually reminds me something like a uniform of some tutor of an old English college… Very severe.

    By the way the Queen looks adorable!

    • I agree. it looks like she is trying so hard to dress down next to the queen but stay true to her own. I think this was done on purpose so she wouldn’t overshadow her.

  9. When I saw that Kate bought the coat at Bicester, I wanted to shout, “I’ve shopped there too!” I realize that everyone has shopped there, but for this American lady even that tiny connection was a thrill.

  10. I know this blog is What Kate Wore, but I just loved that the queen wore Fortnum’s color. That beautiful robin’s egg blue on their tins. When I was in London, I visited Fortnum and also had breakfast in the restaurant. I will try to make it back there again this spring when I visit and I’d love to buy the Jubilee tea tin as another souvenir.

    Kate looked lovely, but she didn’t outshine the Queen. A good thing!

  11. wkw sorry im really not trying to be rude but i did post the pic of the shorter version of the missoni coat on ur fb page 1hr before theas post i think it just got buried in some of the comments.

  12. WOW she listened to me: she wears italian! And she’s stunning, quality and chic. About shoes, has she never worn Manolo’s? She lived in Old Church street, the same as Manolo’s London boutique…

  13. Such a relief to see a spot of colour at last, & though I don’t like the coat personally, she looks as lovely and elegant as always.

    I think something strange happens at the top of the coat sleeves — extra fabric to puff up a bit at the shoulders — somehow makes the coat too broad across the shoulders and the whole shape looks a bit top heavy, eccentuating Kate’s lack of hips.

    The effect is underlined by tapering away to the ragged lower hem which seems at odds with the Chanel-style tailoring at the top. I’m not bothered by the lack of a clutch and I think she’s done this before, especially where she’s going to need both hands to pick out items to look at — or even taste.

    Poor Queenie– dressed as a tea -caddy — I like those colours on her, but they’re also the colours on various tins of Fortnum’s (excellent!) tea.

    • The distressed look at the seams and hem turns what could otherwise be a rather boring, safe coat into something edgier and more interesting. I think it works better than a simple reference to classic Chanel.

      The tapering from shoulders to knees is a silhouette I much prefer to, say, an A-line design. I don’t find the coat at all too broad in the shoulders.

      • I wish I could see more of the trim on the collar and down the front — I wonder how much of the distressed theme it carries on. It’s certainly an interesting coat.

  14. I was surprised when I heard the coat was Missoni – even more so that she got it in Bicester. I love the outfit though, I thought it was very appropriate and not too “old”. I also noticed she didn’t carry a bag..Camilla looks quite good too.

  15. To me an outfit for a formal occasion looks unfinished without a clutch or handbag; instead Catherine clutches her hands in front of her most of the time, which I feel looks uncomfortable.

  16. Hurray–a colour!! A lovely blue on Kate and a classic, “princess-y” coat. I agree with Lili that this is a great versatile piece, although how Kate wore it today bordered on boring, saved only by those lovely yellow daffodils. I think that was very deliberate of Kate to go low key and not to upstage her granny- and mother-in-law.

    On a side note, I’m glad that the Queen lost the “marching band” braiding that was on her tunic during her trip to Oman, but I’m still not sure that the double breasted look is the most flattering on her Majesty.

  17. This is the first time she went with a non-British designer?? On an outing with the Queen? Interesting.

  18. The coat is elegant and chic, with a Chanel-style flavor, perfect for an engagement with the Queen. It’s also potentially very versatile. I’d love to see it worn open, with slim cut trousers or jeans, a simple shirt or thin sweater, and flats. Bon chic, bon genre.

    I’ve never cared for Missoni’s signature knits, but this coat is right on target for the occasion. I own a blue tweed, hip-length jacket very, very similar to the shorter version of the Duchess’s coat. I wear it with both jeans and sheath-style dresses. It couldn’t be more stylish and more useful.

    I’m not sure that Zara dress was appropriate for the season, but she needed something to wear under that coat, and I suppose it suited.

    The shoe competition is a pleasure. I’ll have to think it over. One major criterion for me is genuine wearability. I’ve seen too many young, aspiring fashion designers produce clothes or shoes that look like museum pieces but are simply not wearable. I don’t admire that.

  19. I love this coat. Boucle can look too mature if you do not accessorize correctly and I think Kate does a great job of making this look young with the addition of fresh flowers. If she had borrowed a brooch from the Queen (as she did with the maple leaf on her tour), it would have looked too severe.

    Several of these shoes are far too wild to suit the Duchess’s taste, in my opinion… I understand that the designers are showcasing their style, not hers, but she still has to wear the shoes! I can’t see her stepping out in some of these designs. I really like the thought that went into the plaid shoe, but something about the shape and the straps bothers me… it sort of resembles the design of young children’s shoes. Anyone else see this, or am I off base? The blue suede with the lace is the only shoe that appears like something the duchess would wear, but I’m confused by the pairing of suede and lace. Isn’t that odd?

    One final question: how do you mess up tea? Don’t you just add hot water to tea leaves and wait 5 minutes? I’m curious to discover if I’ve been doing it wrong and drinking ill-prepared tea for years without realizing it! Then again, I’m American–so I’m probably less picky about my tea ;)

    • The Brits are VERY picky. They have a whole series of instructions regarding the use of loose tea.

    • I thought the same thing about the shoes. They seem to be wildly over the top based on what Kate has worn before. And even though she seems perfectly comfortable in rather high heels, these seem pretty exagerated to me.

  20. No handbag or clutch. Wonder why?

  21. It looks very nice. I didn’t care for the verticle panels in back. Sloppy? Are we looking at the same dress? I like the double breasted look on the Queen.

    • I don’t like those back seams either — and I can’t help wondering if they’re not uncomfortable to sit on!

  22. i really like her coat: beautiful color, classic style, not fashion-y which would distract press attention from the queen.
    and the yellow daffodills look esp pretty against the blue.

    the queen’s oufit, on the other hand, looks v 80s. and the long jacket visually cuts her body in half.

    so why do you think the queen invited camilla and kate and not her daughter to the “girls’ day out”? a signal of approval of the future quen consorts? or of comfort and enjoyment in their company?

    btw, i noticed kate has the same body language around the queen that will and harry do around the queen: hands clasped, standing slightly back, deferentially leaning forward.

  23. I always love when you offer a pole on something.

    In regards to the shoe choices I think Kate will likely choose the Becka Hunt blue suede with beaded lace. She is our lace queen after all! But I could also see her wearing the Summer Spencer ones because of the symbolism. She certainly proved that was important to her in the flowers she choose for her wedding bouquet and on the wedding cake.

  24. Gosh ! she looks stunning! I love this colour on her. She should put her hair up though.

  25. Are we voting for what we like best or what we think she’ll pick!!!!

    • Sorry! Didn’t read it closely enough the first time I was so excited. I voted for the last one if she picks one she intends on wearing. Still a hard poll since I don’t know if she’ll ever wear the shoe…she might pick one of the more outlandish ones and just admire it, you know what I mean?

  26. It’s a nice coat…a bit boring, but the daffodils really liven it up. Again, wish she would do something a bit different with her hair.

    • The shoe poll is fun!! The blue one seems most her style but I think the fuchsia and lavender one is fantastic. Perhaps she’ll choose it for an evening gown! I’m surprised so many chose the nude and pink option. It didn’t stand out to me at all but maybe I’m lacking in imagination. Anyway Susan, I agree, I’m getting tired of her hairstyle! I’m partly envious and partly wishing she would change it up. I have brown hair of about the same length but it’s naturally straight. I’d love to have a bit of curl that would hold a curl like hers. I hear that the Duchess has wavy hair and would just rather see it more natural from time to time. It’s a nice style but those curls are a bit contrived for everyday. I’m sure princess life is pretty uptight too so maybe it’s best and maybe it’s one reason I should be grateful I’m not a princess ;-)

  27. And I have been dying ALL DAY to get your take on this outfit!

  28. I wasn’t wowed with this dress, but then again, this is her first real public appearance with the Queen. Maybe Kate decided to play it safe today.

    I saw the Daily Mail’s take on the outfit (I know, I know) and they had some close-ups of her outfit (including one that is super close to being up-the-skirt):–Mason.html

    The commentary wasn’t nice – the D/M noted the dress’s frayed edges but said it made it look “vintage.” Up close, it looks sloppy.

    • I was really disturbed by the photo that you accurately identify as being very close to “up the skirt”… especially since it was taken while she was bending down to discuss the gift of the bouquet with a child. It just seems unfair.

      If you watch the video, Kate spends a few moments chatting with the child that hands her the bouquet. She seems particularly adept at making connections with children, one of her many skills.

      • I thought she looked happier talking to the little boy than to some of the grown-ups! Funnily enough I’ve thought her awkward with children up till now partly because of the way she only half bends down to them — as if she might have been the kind who doesn’t want to hug a child too close for fear of spoiling her outfit.

        Agree with you re cheap shot of skirt from back — simple anough to speculate on dress from front shots.

  29. She has to strike such a difficult balance – not overshadowing the Queen, but also staying true to who she is. I find it funny to know the Brits have outlets too, and I love imagining her getting this coat for a bargain! I think the color is gorgeous on her, and I particularly love the yellow pin!

    • Everything you said! And it’s great that she can wear something probably-washable underneath the coat (the Zara dress) as it doesn’t get seen. I also love the pale robins egg blue of HM’s outfit.

      I’m going to go look at the Outnet now . . .

    • I too love the pop of bright yellow! She is wearing fresh daffodils, which sets her apart from Camilla and the Queen who are both wearing bejeweled brooches. There was a discussion of her choice of fresh flowers on the WKW facebook page; many indicated that they loved the idea and thought it was a smart move. I agree!

      • I agree–the daffodils really made the blue of her coat “sing”. Plus it gave her a way to honour St. David’s Day since I doubt she has a jewelled leek brooch yet in her jewellery case, unlike the Queen and Camilla!

      • I’m in a minority of one here I expect — I couldn’t stand that bright a yellow on that shade of blue — so harsh! But I suppose it echoes the Queen’s turquoise and gold theme.

        Funny how Kate scores on various points of “informality” — no hat, no clutch plus all the frayed edges — sort of underlines the three generations on show.

  30. Loved her look today. Impeccable, as always. Fun poll.

  31. Again wrong style for her figure, it does nothing for her except ages, unless she was aiming for looking older….time for a stylist.

    • The woman is beautiful but I’m with those who didn’t like this coat. At first glance I thought the bouclé looked dowdy and the seams are too casual for this use of the coat. I’d like it over a pair of skinny jeans with some heeled ankle booties! That said, with her figure, she always looks good.

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