Apr 092014

For today’s event showcasing New Zealand’s successful well-baby program Kate chose a somewhat unexpected designer.

This afternoon the two Princes and the Duchess returned from private quarters where they stayed Monday & Tuesday evening, to spend the afternoon with other parents of babies about George’s age, 8 months. The function was a playdate for the young ones, but also an opportunity for William and Kate to learn about the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society, simply called Plunket by most.

Kate George William Royal Tour 2014 Plunket George Gets Teddy Bear Credit Gov General

The organization describes itself this way:

We are New Zealand’s largest provider of support services for the development, health and wellbeing of children under 5. Plunket works together with families and communities, to ensure the best start for every child. Whānau āwhina – caring for families.

A group of parents and ten children roughly George’s age were selected to meet William and Kate while their children played with George; we show them below.

Plunket Facebook Page

Plunket Facebook Page

More than 90% of babies born in New Zealand are helped by the organization, in areas from education and childcare advice, to in-home visits from Plunket personnel. More about the families selected for the playdate from the Daily Mail:

Tristine Clark, New Zealand president of Plunket, said: ‘The parents are a spread of all the communities in New Zealand, including Maoris, Samoans, people of Chinese descent and gay couples. This is a very multi-cultural country and we wanted the Duke and Duchess to meet people from all backgrounds.’

The afternoon function gave William and Kate the chance to hear from parents how the program has helped them, and also speak with nurses and other staff about services offered through Plunket.

James Whatling / i-Images / Pool

James Whatling / i-Images / Pool

Richard Palmer’s story in The Express shared Prince William’s reaction to seeing so many little ones all playing together.

“It’s madness, there are babies everywhere!” he exclaimed.  He was soon telling another parent that he likes to help Kate out by giving George his night time bottle.

As William, 31, and Kate, 32, compared notes with other parents, it emerged that George, who has two bottom row front teeth, has another four or five coming through.

George was given his very own Well Child book as an honorary Plunket baby.

Plunket Facebook

Plunket Facebook

He appears somewhat nonplussed by his Plunket bear.

Photography by Woolf/Crown Copyright

Photography by Woolf/Crown Copyright

Toys on the floor and other playmates may have been more enticing than the big bear.

Photogrpahy by Woolf/Crown Copyright

Photography by Woolf/Crown Copyright

Kate wore the ‘Paulina’ dress by Tory Burch, from the Resort 2014 Collection.

James Whatling / i-Images/ Pool

James Whatling / i-Images/ Pool

It worked well for today’s function.

James Whatling/SplashNews.com

James Whatling/SplashNews.com

The dress is a cotton blend in a knit material described as being mid-weight and stretchy, clearly a plus when one expects to be on the floor corralling a rambunctious baby. We show it at Farfetch, where it is called the Perforated Stripe Knit Dress, selling at $556.



The garment has a fitted silhouette with front pleats, a banded waist, hidden zipper and fringe detailing at the sleeve and hem.

Tory Burch

Tory Burch

It may be difficult to see in the photos, but the white fabric is an open-weave knit, while the black material is solid.

Tory Burch

Tory Burch

I say ‘surprising designer’ because we’ve not seen the Duchess in Tory Burch before; it is a good label for Kate. Seeing her wear something by this designer was a pleasant surprise for those Kate fashion followers who have thought Tory Burch a label well-suited for the Duchess. Today’s style is what I would call “very Kate,” incorporating elements the Duchess appreciates in a dress: a slim fit with a fuller skirt, a geometric print in black and white, and added touches like the banded waist and fringed hems.  The dress is still available in very limited sizing at Net-a-Porter, although that could change by the time I hit “publish” and you see the post. And there was also some stock remaining at the UK Tory Burch site online, it is priced at $390 there.

UPDATED: After yesterday’s screed suggesting a cultural reason influenced Kate’s decision to wear red for Monday’s arrival ceremonies, it completely escaped me that today’s black and white might also reflect respect, it is a mainstay color combination.

Kate kept her accessories simple, wearing her Ballon Bleu watch by Cartier  and Annoushka Pearl Drop earrings.

Kate Cartier Wrist Watch and Annoushka Pearl Drop Earrings

Kate was also wearing black pumps that may have been new, it was difficult to tell from the available photographs. They appeared new to me, but because of the hour I am going to save that search until later in the day.

Kate V=Black Heels Plunket Society Event Roayl Tour 2014

UPDATE WEDS. APRIL 9: Wardrobe whiz Michelle at PerthFashion identified the shoes, Kate wore the Jimmy Choo ‘Vikki’ style in black suede. This style has a 4″ heel and small platform, less than 1/4″.

It is $595 at Jimmy Choo, but it appears to be out of stock. The pump is described as “For elegant day time chic, Vikki is the perfect round toe pump with a slim internal platform for added comfort. For elegant day time chic, Vikki is the perfect round toe pump with a slim internal platform for added comfort.” Elsewhere we’ve seen it as having an “almond toe,” a term I had never heard before, but very descriptive.

UPDATED NOV 20, 2014: Eagle-eyed Ashley Marie believes Kate was actually wearing the Jimmy Choo Aimee.

Jimmy Choo/SplashNews.com

Jimmy Choo/SplashNews.com

The get-together looked like a lovely time for everyone. But after all of that exertion, one young man seemed quite happy to be back in his mother’s arms.

Photography by Woolf/Crown Copyright

Photography by Woolf/Crown Copyright

WHAT GEORGE WORE: There have been so many requests to know what George wore, until we have What Prince George Wore fully up and running this weekend (or sooner, fingers crossed), here is a quick overview of his darling outfit.

The Prince was very fashionable, and spot-on with this year’s nautical trend, wearing the Sailboat Smocked Dungaree in navy & ivory from Rachel Riley, a British luxury brand.  It is 100% cotton with an elasticized waist and adjustable straps on the back. This item sells for £75 in the UK, on the US website it is $129. The company does have a store in the US, in New York. Our thanks to HRH Prince George Pieces for the great information about his darling Dungaree and the Bodysuit.

George’s bodysuit with the Peter Pan collar was the Milo style from the Chelsea Clothing Company, sold at Trotters in the UK. The piece retails at £14.99, about $25 USD. I’m not including a photo of this item because it is almost impossible to see. (I’m thinking everything tastes better when you’re well-dressed, no?)

George Royal Tour 2014 Plunket Chews Kate's Hair Gov General Credit April 9 2014

Photography by Woolf/Crown Copyright

George wore another pair of Early Days shoes, this time the leather Alex Pre-walker. They are available at Trotters(£24.99), as well as Childrensalon (£27).

James Whatling/Pool/i-Images

James Whatling/Pool/i-Images

As an FYI, the What Prince George Wore Facebook page is fully up to speed, as is our WPGW Twitter account, while the WPGW Pinterest page is about halfway where we would like it to be. But do come and share the fun with us, as precious as the Sailboat ensemble was, can you imagine some of his other outfits?

Our thanks to the Office of the Governor-General, sharing some wonderful images from the event on Flickr.

Photography by Woolf/Crown Copyright

Photography by Woolf/Crown Copyright


THURSDAY’S ITINERARY: times shown are (left to right) the local time in New Zealand, EDT (Eastern Daylight Time) and PDT (Pacific Daylight Time):

  • Travel from Wellington (which is on New Zealand’s North Island), to Blenheim, located on the South Island
  • 10.45am / 6:45pm EDT / 3:45pm PDT -  The Duke and Duchess will drive from Woodbourne Royal New Zealand Air Force Base to Seymour Square in Blenheim.
  • 11am / 7pm EDT /4pm PDT – Attend wreath laying ceremony in Blenheim, where Kate and William will also spend time with some of the WWII veterans at the event, along with those serving in more recent conflicts
  • 11:30am / 7:30pm EDT / 4:30pm PDT – Public walk through Seymour Square
  • 1:15pm / 9:15pm EDT / 6:15pm PDT – Begin visit at Omaka Aviation Heritage Center
    • tour Knights of the Sky exhibit with Sir Peter Jackson, seeing his collection of WWI aircraft and artifacts (many may better know Mr. Jackson as the man behind The Lord of the Rings trilogy and its prequel, The Hobbit Trilogy)
    • weather permitting there may also be a display of classic aircraft
  • Evening:  Prince William meets with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition 
  • Attend State Reception at Government House hosted by Governor General


  38 Responses to “A New Designer for the Duchess as Prince George Has a Playdate UPDATED”

  1. I absolutely adore this dress. The print is fabulous and it looks quite comfy! Ive always thought Tory burch was a label Kate should wear, glad to see her try it out and with such success! It’s both casual and smart at the same time, well suited to the event while still being appropriately dressy. I commend her for the heels, though… No way am I getting up and down off the floor in shoes that height!

  2. Well, I can’t myself see that this is a case of the Duchess being overdressed, in fact quite the contrary, the style and monochrome patterning of the garment is something the Duchess has turned to on many an occasion. It’s also comes to a more usual length for her, just about mid-knee, so that at least is business as usual.

    I think the difference is that the label she has found this time is just a bit more high end, rather than one of her regular High Street bargain finds, which can fall a little short of a fully royal polished performance.

    I think it’s an ideal dress for the occasion, being comfortable and stretchy, and using nice touches like the contrast panels at the waist and down the side. I think I’d agree with the view that the ruffle at the hem is a bit fussy, but not enough for her to have put it back on the rail and given it a miss. After all, it’s probably very tactile and what could be better in a room full of babies?

  3. what is the brand of the duchess watch thanks

  4. I have to say I’m a bit surprised that Kate wore a dress and heels to this event. I’d have thought she’d be a bit more casual, especially since she was down on the floor with the baby. That said, I really like this dress. Someone on another website mentioned that, in addition to the significance of the black and white, the pattern would help disguise any spots from potential mishaps. Babies – even royal ones – can be messy, after all.

  5. George’s face with the bear is priceless!

  6. I’ve never liked Tory Burch but this dress is rather nice. I don’t agree that Kate is “overdressed” for this playdate. She is a Duchess, after all, and people expect her to dress better than other people. She looks wonderful.

    Someone mentioned that they did not think the play group looked “diverse” enough. Well, it is diverse for NZ.

    I was just at a royal website (Royal Forums) and they already have photos of William and Kate at Blenheim (Thursday). Kate is wearing a beautiful blue McQueen coat, the same one that was pictured on this site a few days ago (the one that everyone said she shouldn’t wear because Sophie had already worn it). Kate looks lovely, as usual and her hair is pulled back.

  7. Thanks for the quick publish of the event! The pictures are great, and as always, the information you give is interesting and informative. Thanks in advance for the hours of sleep I’m sure you’ll be giving away to update all of us on the latest “Kate 411″ for the next three weeks! It is very much appreciated!

  8. Has everyone noticed the dutchess is wearing some longer length dresses?! Today’s Tory Burch and yesterday’s Catherine Walker both go to the knee. I find the new length on her more sophistacated and sensible. It was great seeing her on the floor playing with the rest of the group! The Tory Burch dress worked great for that. Loving your NZ coverage WKW!!!

  9. Hello everyone!

    Just read this interesting information on this New Zeland website : http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/royal-tour/9921832/Prince-George-has-a-play-date-with-Kiwi.

    “Kate’s knee-length Tory Burch dress was chosen for its black and white colour theme, New Zealand colours, a royal press secretary said.”

  10. I love the dress on Kate and think it was a good style for the event. She could get up and down easily and hold George without worrying about what her dress was doing. She was fancier than everyone else there but she was also the only duchess in the room! It’s a royal tour. No matter how ‘of the people’ Will and Kate style themselves, a certain level of formality will always be there. And I’m okay with that.

  11. Anna over at My Small Obsessions noticed also that Catherine is wearing the Mappin and Webb Fortune necklace. That was brave with all those babies!
    The photos of this wonderful event were completely charming. Thank you for your amazing work, Susan.

  12. I loved this dress. I wish I owned it and Kate looked amazing as always. I agree with previous commenters though, this was a little too formal for a play date. Fabulous luncheon dress or other daytime function but I would have preferred her to look more like a mom amongst other mothers for this event (note: I am a mother of 2 and have some serious envy of the moms getting to participate in this event). Also, why doesn’t William hold George in public? I want to see that bond too and to confirm that they really are a modern family.

  13. I liked the outfit but I thought the event was supposed to be an event where George was supposed to be exposed to other kids etc. I mean its not really the most diverse group at all. Not really a diverse group of kids to play with. Hopefully he will have more chances to be exposed to a diverse group of kids.

    • I can see both Maori people and Asian heritage people in the photos. How diverse do you want it to be, when you consider the population demographics of New Zealand (and Australia, for that matter)?

  14. Where can I find the outfit Prince George was wearing? It’s so cute!

  15. This is probably my favorite royal event that’s been covered! Prince George is so adorable and you can certainly tell he has a feisty personality. Wasn’t Prince William described as being the same when he was little? LOL I love, love Catherine’s dress and would certainly love one for myself, but Tory Burch has always been too expensive for me. I will be waiting for someone to find a less pricey knock off :) I think the colors she has worn so far are definite nods to the NZ colors. Also, she doesn’t seem to be wearing as high of a heel so far? I also love the cut and length of her hair and it looks very professional. I can’t wait to see more pics from upcoming events! Oh and as a side note, is it just me or did Prince William look VERY, VERY nice in his ensemble?! LOL

  16. I like this dress a lot, and generally like Tory Burch’s pieces. I think the fringe detail is a little fussy, but not a big deal. While the shape of the dress certainly allowed for Kate to be down on the floor without any risk of a “malfunction,” I think this event would have been a great time to be a little more “mom” casual. She still could have worn beautiful, appropriate pieces, but something that would have matched up with what William was wearing a little better. This dress will be great for many daytime events in the future, but it seemed too formal for a playdate.

    I love all the pictures of the sweet baby. I think it’s great they participated in this, and seemed completely laid back about George’s interactions.With my first baby, I would have been mortified if she had put another child’s toy in her mouth at that age…though not so much with my second, lol.

  17. Love the dress, and Tory Burch now has dressed the Duchess as well as Michelle Obama. For an American designer, and for a relatively new American designer, this is a coup. Perhaps the Duchess is wearing a mix of designers for the NZ leg, and will shift over to Aussie designers once she’s there?

    A note on Kate’s choices. The two times we’ve seen her thus far, she’s been overdressed relative to the audience (of course, it would be hard not to be over dressed compared with the Maori warriors). Back in England, she seems a little more “matched” to the surroundings, or at least she was until recently. For me, this dress seems a little too “ladies luncheon” versus what you might otherwise wear to a play date. Do you think that’s the Palace influence?

    • There’s an old saying that in any given situation it’s better to be over-dressed than under-dressed, and I’m sure the palace follows this wholeheartedly when it comes to official engagements. If she had worn pants then she’d be criticized for dressing too casually. I think she got it just right.

  18. I really like this dress for this occasion. Practical, suitable for the activities involved with young babies and meeting other mums and dads who have a lesser clothes budget and, above all, I love the length of the dress.

  19. I agree with other commenters, I think the dress is a nod to the other significant NZ colors. I thought of the All Blacks (the rugby team) as soon as I saw it! It seemed like a elegant but practical dress for the event. What I love most about this was the opportunity to see her interact with Prince George. Several other sites show a photo where he is looking up at her face and touching her hair and it is the sweetest thing! 9 months is such a fun age.

  20. Some great pics of Kate and George, he’s such a chubster (in the best way!)

    I wonder if there’s a reason that we haven’t seen William holding George at all. Is it more of an official thing? Or is it how the family just acts? Either way, I’d love to get a glimpse of him as the doting dad he must be behind closed doors.

  21. Thank you so much for the beautiful post! Kate looks fresh and fun, as always, and that George just could not be cuter!

    I’m always SO excited to get up and check in at WKW – keep up the amazing work!


  22. Kate looks gorgeous. I love the photos all of them especially the one of George resting his head on her shoulder! My he is darling!! Thank you for this great post. I really love her dress as well.

  23. Kate looks happy and beautiful — even though I don’t like the busy knit dress. The next to the last photo of Kate holding little George with his smiling face resting on Kate’s shoulder is a treasure. The bond between these two is very strong.

  24. This dress is fantastic. I especially love the detail around the hem. This a perfect look for her today.

    Also, what a perfect idea for George’s first royal “work” function! He is adorable. I think we can begin to see little bits of his personality coming out in those videos.

  25. This engagement is just charming!! Thank you so much; I’m a huge fan of Tory Burch and that snap of Kate and George towards the end is everything.

    Regarding the shoes–I bet you anything they are Stuart Weitzman. I had an exact pair in chocolate brown suede. Same heel height, heel placement/curvature (is there a technical term?!), and lack of a platform.

  26. I was able to buy the last xsmall in net-a-porter Europe, I’m so pleased I was able to find it!
    I think its a very chic, feminine, versatile dress with interesting details and very much a kate style.
    It was an excellent choice for the event. She stood out, as you would expect, but the style of dress didn’t prohibit her from joining in the activities.

    I was pleased to see her in a different pair of day black pumps other than her episode pair,
    and I look forward finding out the brand.

    • My small obsessions is saying that it’s the Vikki jimmy choo.
      The top part of heel of the photo on jimmy choo looks straight compared to the slightly curved photo in Susan’s post.
      Also is her platform concealed or exposed. It looks exposed while the vikki has it concealed.
      I know that jimmy choo had an older version of the vikki show where the platform was not concealed but they recently changed it. It would be good to see if photos of the previous look can be obtained.
      I wanted to buy this style for a while but my size was out of stock, if it is this style JC has restocked it in hype past.

  27. Very happy to see Kate in Tory Burch, as she is one of my favorite designers. I think she hit the right balance of dressy and play-group appropriate, though the pleats in the skirt and the fringe on the hem and sleeves aren’t really to my taste.

  28. Lovely article as always, I love coming to this website to see what Kate’s been wearing. :) Writing from New Zealand myself, some of the articles about her dress here have said it was chosen for the black and white colours, as they’re ‘NZ colours’. That according to a royal press secretary. As I say, so say some of our news articles here. :)

  29. Great post! Love the photos, they melt my heart. The shoes look like her Prada round toe black suede pumps, worn previously to the movie premiere of Mandela – Long Walk To Freedom.

  30. Thanks for your efforts to get us all the news and insights. I saw the first report while looking in Yahoo news and immediately came here as you do it so well.

    As always, Kate looks so put together. I read somewhere that the dress color (b&w) was a nod to NZ’s colors. She/the dressers/the crown has a real sense of what’s right if that’s the case when coupled with the red of yesterday for the Maori. (sp)

  31. Wow — you were able to get some great pics! What a charming debut outing for the baby prince and a huge treat for his beyond proud parents.

    Love the dress. Relieved too that Kate looks “normal” again after her formal runway descent, I’d hate to say goodbye to this kind of understated monochrome print she does so well. Bit of a surprise after all your hard work on NZ designers that she goes and out-manoeuvres everyone by taking to an established Brit.

    The simple print has a canny ethnic feel to it, and I like the way the waist is emphasized with a clever vertical take on the same pattern. The fringe detailing works well on the sleeves, not so sure about the hem, can’t help thinking it could have done with a little less fringe down there. As you say, the stretch fabric is a must for chasing George around the floor!

    Love those earrings too, and her hair looks great. Am waiting with bated breath to see if those really are the second pair of new shoes in just a couple of days — bliss if they are!! Whatever, Kate looks all-round fabulous!

  32. Well, isn’t this a charming frock? I love the print and find the silhouette quite flattering. Tory Burch dress is a piece that I would be drawn to for my own wardrobe, on account of its versatility. Judging from the photos, I believe this dress would work quite well in a professional setting when paired with a tailored jacket and conservative heels, such as the ones the Duchess is wearing today, but could also function easily as an outfit for a night out by adding chunky statement jewelry and more daring shoes. As an added bonus, the black and white print means you could wear silver and gold jewelry with it. I’m positively pea green with envy!

    As always, the photos with George are spectacular. So precious.

  33. Love the picture of George playing on the floor, and of him resting his head on Kate’s shoulder! Great pics! Love this site! And I really liked this dress, esp with the ruffle details around the arms and bottom of the dress!

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