Jun 102014

For this afternoon’s garden party at Buckingham Palace the Duchess brought back a much-loved frock.

Victoria Murphy, The Daily Mirror (@QueenVicMirror)

Victoria Murphy, The Daily Mirror (@QueenVicMirror)

She wore the bespoke lace dress by Alexander McQueen admired by many fashion followers.

ohn Stillwell/WPA Rota/Nunn Syndication/Polaris

John Stillwell/WPA Rota/Nunn Syndication/Polaris

It was a beautiful day for the party at Buckingham Palace, as seen in this photo by Matthew Ford.

Matthew Ford Twitter Feed (@matthewcford)

Matthew Ford Twitter Feed (@matthewcford)

The food wasn’t your average fare.

Dr. Habib Naqvi Twitter Feed

Dr. Habib Naqvi Twitter Feed

There was a special reason to commemorate the day, Prince Philip celebrated his 93rd birthday.

Many readers will remember Kate’s dress, first worn almost two years ago to the day for the Jubilee National Service of Thanksgiving held at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

AP Photo/Tim Hales, Pool/PA Wire

AP Photo/Tim Hales, Pool/PA Wire

The Daily Mirror shared this photo in its live blog, better showing the back of the dress.

 via The Daily Mirror

The Daily Mirror

Today the Duchess accessorized with a new hat from Jane Corbett.

John Stillwell, PA Wire/Jane Corbett

John Stillwell, PA Wire/Jane Corbett

The hat was created specifically to coordinate with this dress. From Jane Corbett’s blog:

So delighted to see HRH The Duchess of Cambridge wearing one of my hats at today’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace. The new hat was specifically designed to be worn with the beautiful Alexander McQueen lace dress that HRH has worn previously. How perfect to have summer sunshine for a Garden Party!

Kate accessorized with a pair of nude patent heels we’ve not previously seen. We will update as soon as we are certain of the brand and style. (Currently under discussion: Russell & Bromley’s ‘Power’ heels by Stuart Weitzman and the  ‘Florete’ pumps from LK Bennett.)

John Stillwell/WPA Rota/Nunn Synication/Polaris

John Stillwell/WPA Rota/Nunn Syndication/Polaris

UPDATED JUNE 12, 2014:

It appears that Kate was wearing Russell and Bromley’s 5th Avenue heels. Thanks to everyone who got in touch with Russell & Bromley about this one, as well as those getting in touch with me directly, in an effort to sort out just what shoe Kate was wearing. This includes Anna of My Small Obsessions (she was told by Russell and Bromley they couldn’t confirm Kate was wearing their shoes), WKW Facebook friend Stephanie, and Ashley Marie, who was persistent and ultimately told by a more senior Russell and Bromley employee that Kate was wearing a past season pair of the brand’s 5th Avenue heels.

Sang Tan/WPA Rota/Nunn Syndication/Polaris Images

Sang Tan/WPA Rota/Nunn Syndication/Polaris Images

Kate’s nude patent color is no longer offered, Russell & Bromley tell Ashley the shoes are from 2013. Thanks also to Adriane, she posted a link on the WKW wall to an eBay auction showing the older style in a different color.



The 5th Ave is currently available in a variety of colors and materials:

Russell & Bromley

Russell & Bromley

From the product description:

These point toe courts are a must-have silhouette in every woman’s wardrobe. The delicate point toe and slim 8cm heel height is the perfect modern update to the essential court shoe.

8cm is just about 3″, still much taller than a pair of flats. (One tip: the shoe’s actual name is 5th Ave, not 5th Avenue.)

One element of this that is interesting: the shoes worn by Kate when changing planes in Sydney at the start of the recent Tour were not identified. Tatiana’s Delights suggested they might be the 5th Ave., today’s information could lend credence to that theory.

The Duchess carried her nude patent Park Avenue clutch from Russell and Bromley.

John Stillwell/WPA Rota/Nunn Syndication/Polaris Images

John Stillwell/WPA Rota/Nunn Syndication/Polaris Images


One other quick note: Legoland Windsor is getting all dressed up for Royal Ascot, wearing hats by Rachel Trevor-Morgan.

But those aren’t just any figures wearing the talented milliner’s creations, they are names you know, here is more from the Western Morning News:

Describing it as her most unusual commission yet, Royal hat-maker Rachel Trevor-Morgan said the process of creating the tiny headpieces was an intricate one.

“They are all made in exactly the same way that we might be making our hats in the work room. Each edge is still stitched as we would do in any of our hats so the detailing is there and they are quite intricate.”

Below we see Kate.

A better look at Her Majesty.

There is a link below that takes you to a site with fairly large pictures of the whimsical royals in their finery from Ms. Trevor-Morgan.

(With apologies for a not-quite-complete post, your fearless correspondent must depart Planet Kate for a bit, with hopes of returning later this afternoon or evening to add more photos & supplement information.)


  • The Mirror’s live blog is here, The Daily Mail’s story can be seen here,
  • ITV’s coverage of today’s royal events can be watched here,
  • for large photos of all of the royal LEGO™ figures in their Rachel Trevor-Morgan styles see this story in the International Business Times

  65 Responses to “Kate Brings Back Elegant Alexander McQueen Dress for Palace Garden Party (UPDATED with Shoe ID)”

  1. Thank you Duchess Kate for always looking so wonderful. Compared to the rest of the Royal family, she is such a refreshing, modern, TASTEFUL, elegant woman. She could wear a paper bag and make it look fantastic.

    When I look at the rest of the royal woman, they all look like Her Majesty. It’s an okay look when you are
    88, but Princess Anne? Black gloves to an afternoon tea?! Who dresses her? I’m sorry, but I just have to say “what a bunch of frumps”. The Duchess should be giving them tips on how to dress and not the other way around. Apart from lowering her hemlines, I don’t see any of the other changes that were “suggested” to her by other royal women (if we are to believe what we read). Thankfully she seems to be going her own way. I like to think that she made the hemline decision on her own. She is in her 30′s and you can’t work the short skirts forever AND she is the mother to the future King.

  2. I think the dress is older than that! I have a book (Kate Style??) with a couple photos of her in it from well before they were engaged. I’m sure it’s the same one because of how the lace is at the edge.

  3. The dress seems heavy and if pressed I don’t know if I’d be able to tell you why I think that. It seems too dark and the sleeves too tight. I expected something brighter and looser, Springy not Wintery, pink or yellow or even green.

  4. Beautiful look! And totally appropriate as well. I do think the dress is better with the ribbon belt, but she still looks amazing. I LOVE that hat!

  5. Very creamy, very lacy, very regal garden party – a neat recycle by Kate to get a lovely frock to segue from formal cathedral service to tea on the lawn. I like how she has updated with a charming new hat and, bless me! do my eyes deceive me? a real live new pair of nude courts. I think I like these better with this dress than the platforms, they’re a bit more up-to-date.

    The below-the-knee dress length also shows that Kate has not suddenly taken to lower hemlines just recently

    But it’s a strange business about that waist-sash. I liked the contrast it gave last time against yards of beige lace, but it was marred for me by an all-too-obvious extension in at the back. Maybe leaving it off this time was another last-minute decision since a photo posted over fb showed the waistband indentation still clearly visible:


    Did no-one think to press the frock? And is it beyond the realms of feasibility that a fresh sash could be made up in the right size? Maybe that’s what’s happening of course, a tailor is stitching away frantically even as I write and all will be revealed on a further outing!

    In the meantime, voila la princesse! in a peach of an outfit for an al fresco summer refreshment.

  6. The shoes are definately the LK Bennett pair!! You can tell by the sole and the shape of the heel!

  7. Kate looks good in almost anything. But this dress was better when it was ribbon waisted. Also an inch or so should have been cut off from the length – a bit too straight and long for her torso. The length of the previous white Jaeger dress and a waisted sheath is a perfect style for the Duchess.

  8. How do the women walk in grass without their heels squishing right down into the soil?

    • It’s a great question. Some women use heel protectors, one brand name is High Heelers, I’ll have more on them in tomorrow’s post. :)

    • And some women must surely be walking on tiptoe…there’s any number of high heels at that party!

  9. I think the shoes worn by HRH are the LK Bennett Florette shoes. If you compare the two brands you will notice that the Stuart Weitzman pair has a black sole under the ball of the foot and a dark tip to the heel, whereas the LB Benett pair has a natural coloured sole and a lighter coloured tip of the heel.
    Regardless, it is a lovely outfit and she looks very a ease in it.

  10. Im pretty certain that the shoes are the LK Bennets. The Stuart Weitzman shoes have a black sole and the shoes that the Duchess wore had a beige sole.

  11. Kate looks good. I like her in pencil type dresses. Looks more sophisticated. It’s just the length. I love her dresses if they are on the knee and not under like this one. Kate has good legs – on the knee shows her legs without being risky. Under the knee just looks old.

  12. I do not like this dress or the makeup it is caked on too heavy and not a fan of how she applies the eyeliner.

    • I’m sad to say I agree with you Melissa, I thought her makeup looked very heavy and have always had an issue with the eyeliner. She’s such a stunning woman I don’t think she needs all that, I find it ages her (not that she’s old by any means). However with that being said I am not regularly photographed/filmed and beamed around the world so that is something to consider.

      • That’s really interesting because on my computer screen Kate’s makeup looks lighter, especially round the eyes, and even her eyebrows don’t look so dark. I thought the photo of her wearing this dress in 2012 showed more blusher, more lipstick and certainly more eye makeup. The recent full-face photo of Kate makes her look, at least to my eyes, so healthy and much less made up – and I preferred this apparent lighter touch.

        It’s just come to me that, as others here have said, the straight dress style does suit Kate but I too prefer these dresses to end above the knee. I really don’t like the colour but apart from the length the style is one she favours and it does show off her pencil-slim figure.

        Thinking back to the recent tour, I also – perversely perhaps? – prefer her full-skirted dresses a tad longer.

        • I agree Prue. I hardly recognised Kate in her close-up.
          To me, it looks like she’s wearing so much less eyeliner and eyeshadow. A great choice for a garden party.

  13. I prefer the ribbon belt with the dress, but I absolutely LOVE the hat. I think it’s my favorite hat she’s ever worn. Perfect with the dress.

  14. I do not care for this dress at all. It looks too elderly to my eye – so much lace and so much beige. I think it looked better 2 years ago from the pictures you showed.

    • I think the shoes could be Massimo Dutti from the current summer collection – I have a pair which looks exactly like them, the colour is a lighter tan than those shown of LK Bennett or Weitzman. Wouldn’t that be a cool royal bargain??

      • Thank you for the tip, I am trying to do some side-by-side comparisons, it is definitely very similar, and there are plenty of Massimo Dutti stores in London. It’s a great tip! :)

  15. I like this so much better with the belt.
    I think this exemplifies why Kate doesn’t ‘just wear a pencil skirt’ to avoid windy day mishaps, as so many Internet people like to suggest. I think my mum summed it up best… with her height, long torso and no hips “she’s too long and pencil-y for pencil skirts!”

  16. I think the dress looks amiss without the belt. Looks a bit odd without it!

  17. This dress has been my favorite since Kate wore it to the Jubilee church service, it has been the dress by which I measure all of her other dresses. However, today, without the belt, not so much :( I feel that the belt broke up the long line of her torso and gave her a bit of a waist. With out it there is just one big long line of lace. The hat was fine, not as good as the one she wore originally with this dress but okay. The shoes look so much like her Sledge pair that I couldn’t tell the difference until it was pointed out to me.

    I have long championed taking away Kate’s dark eyeliner pencil but I don’t know if I’m liking this more neutral look, there is something just a bit off for me. I don’t mean to be so negative about Kate’s look today, but it just didn’t thrill me like I was hoping it would

    All that being said, it was nice to see Kate supporting her grandfather-in-law on his birthday. Here’s wishing Prince Phillip a very Happy Birthday!!

  18. This is one of my favorite Kate dresses. It’s beautiful and she looks great in it. Since the dress is two years old, perhaps the ribbon was looking a bit limp and ragged or maybe she couldn’t find it. Whatever. I had a pretty grosgrain ribbon on my raffia sun hat and it finally just didn’t look right to me anymore so I took it off. Maybe the Duchess had the same feeling about her dress ribbon. The dress still looks good even without the ribbon.

  19. I always like Kate’s outfits. The textured lace effect adds interest to an all-over beige look.Agree with the hat designer about it matching the dress.
    The Hatted Lego-Royals are a hoot.
    Thank you, what an interesting post!

  20. I think she looks incredibly sexy in the dress as she wore it today. It’s a more grown up, eye catching look. I found the belted look, while nice, a bit little girlish on her. The hat is divine and far nicer than the one she wore last time with the dress. I did also wonder whether there was a deliberate reason for not having the belt … That perhaps it would be too tight? :)

  21. I agree Blair… her makeup looks very different. Less eyeliner…her eyes look much less made up. I am not sure I like the look. Maybe it is just the change? She looks a bit washed out? Too pale? Beautiful as always however! I also am in agreement with the missing belt. I prefer the ribbon belt.

  22. Definitely LK Bennett shoes. You can tell by the underside of the point. All of their pointed toe shoes have a darker, different textured sole right at the point

  23. Although I truly admire the lines and fit of this dress, I can’t help feeling that it doesn’t really work for a garden party. To me, it’s a rather formal dress, suitable for a very special event, even a black-tie affair, but a garden party calls for something lighter, softer, more “outdoorsy”. Frankly, the Duchess looks overdressed, a bit out of place.

    I also have to echo the view of another poster that the dress looked better with the ribbon belt, not least because of the Duchess’s long-waistedness. Finally, the hat somehow doesn’t work for me. The cream and pale-coffee shades should harmonize with the nude color of the dress, but for some reason they don’t quite. Moreover, the hat really tips the entire look over into “too much lace” territory.

    Alas, a miss in my view, after the wonderful look of the ivory and navy dress earlier today.

    • I also thought this dress was a little formal for a garden part until I saw the men dressed in morning coats. Then it seemed more in keeping with the tone set by the gentlemen. I wonder how she keeps those slender heels from sinking into the ground.

    • I thought it was such a pretty hat, and worn at a good angle as always with Kate, but somehow the proportion was a bit wrong, there wasn’t quite enough of it to balance that long pencil silhouette.

      Good point about the cream and pale-coffee tones — they might be in keeping with the occasion (small pun there?) but they do tend towards an overall ‘washed out’ look.

      • I think ‘washed out’ describes very well how I feel about this dress. I think it’s the colour in our bright sunshine. If it was earlier or much later in the year when the sun is weaker, I do wonder if the effect would be different? It might even look a rich, warmer colour.

        • The sun is so bright against the pale stone of the palace that the effect is almost bleached out in some pics. I’d be the first to agree that lighting makes a world of difference to how we see Kate’s different outfits!

  24. She looks great, although I do agree that the belt would finish it off better. I have a question though, and forgive me if this has already been disussed. Why doesn’t the Duchess ever wear sleeveless dresses? I noticed that Princess Eugenie is in a sleeveless dress, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen Kate in one for an official engagement.

    • Hi Cori,

      She did wear on briefly during the Canadian tour, a cream Joseph dress I believe. It would be nice to see her wear more of them in the summer.

    • she might just not like them? I’m a big fan of sleeves and because I wear them so often, I feel really weird when my shoulders aren’t covered. I have a few sleeveless dresses but rarely wear them because as soon as I put them on I’m like ‘nahhhh!’
      …or maybe she has a secret sailor tattoo! haha.

      • I hardly ever go sleeveless since I lost weight and now have quite a bit of loose skin on my upper arms. Obviously Kate doesn’t have that problem! I think she wore sleeveless to a couple of tennis matches earlier in their marriage.

    • She’s worn sleeveless dresses several times — her two Roksanda Ilincics, for example, her cream Joseph dress — and two or three evening dresses. In the UK, the weather is rarely boiling-hot enough for anyone to stock up on sleeveless dresses, but she may also simply feel that at least a bit of a sleeve is more decorous.

      • I wouldn’t call those 2 Roksanda dresses “sleeveless” as they look more “cap sleeve” to me…I am more inclinded to speculate that the duchess maybe very self conscious about her relatively broad shoulders comparing to her torso and hips…just IMHO. I do love a cream chiffon dress she wore underneath a white jacket a few years back. I have been looking for one for myself ever since. :)

        • Well, I suppose I’d have to say that we’re both right: those Ilincic dresses are really sleeveless on one side and cap-sleeved on the other.

          However, the Joseph dress really is sleeveless, and of course she’s worn evening dresses in both strapless and one-shouldered styles (plus the Amanda Wakeley pale blue that was all but strapless). That being the case, I don’t think she’s self-conscious about her shoulders. They aren’t THAT broad and not at all compared with the spectacular swimmer’s shoulders of Princess Charlene of Monaco, who shows hers off at every opportunity.

          That white Reiss dress and (Joseph?) jacket ensemble — worn to Epsom, yes? — really was lovely, though I thought the dress could have been a bit longer for a rather more chic effect. I loved the fact that the Duchess wore her hair up and a terrific café-au-lait fascinator hat. That was one of the first post-wedding looks that truly impressed me.

          • The idea that Charlene might be showcasing those shoulders is a new on me, I’d assumed she was rather stuck with them. I suppose it may be I’m holding her up against a traditional western view of feminity, which Kate slots into easily.

            I certainly like it when Charlene balances her shoulder span out in the rest of her outfit, and either way she has one enviable sense of style.

          • Actually, ElizaMo, the Duchess’s figure is rather boyish and athletic, not “traditionally” feminine at all.

            As for Princess Charlene, the high-end designers with whom she has worked since well before her marriage have gone out of their way to put her amazing shoulders on display or otherwise showcase them. I thought that was especially clear vis-à-vis her knockout Armani wedding dress.

            I think she’s quite proud of her elegantly-honed physique, as she should be, and enjoys showing it off, the shoulders in particular. I certainly would, in her position.

    • I wouldn’t take fashion cues from Princess Eugenie ;)

  25. Love this look and the hat is lovely for the occasion (might be too much at another event) and a great way to freshen up a repeat. Cannot wait for the final verdict on the shoes. I want them in my closet!
    The removal of the belt is fine with me and makes it less formal (church vs garden party)

  26. I agree with Elizabeth in CO; the shoes look more like the LK Bennet ones to me. I think the dress looks great without the ribbon; it’s just a different look that’s all. Worn without the ribbon and with the matching lace on her hat, it is a monochromatic look. The hat is lovely by the way. I love that she wears nylons so often :)

  27. Love this update and love Kate’s outfit!


  28. The Daily Mail article is a must-read. There is a small section near the bottom featuring (alleged) Prince Philip quotes. I haven’t laughed so hard in quite a while…

  29. This might seem like a strange observation, but her eye makeup looks lighter or more neutral than it’s been in the past. The liner reads more brown/not as heavy as she usually favors and makes her eye color pop more than normal. Maybe it’s just the angle of the photo?

    • I noticed that too. I can’t tell if if she eased up on the eyeliner or if it’s just the lighting.

      This is one of my favorite dresses in the Duchess’ wardrobe, although I do prefer it with the ribbon belt.

      I don’t see photos on here, but I liked what Princess Eugenie was wearing to the party. Maybe she is taking fashion cues from the Duchess on “less is more.”

    • I agree! I think it looks more mature and dignified than the heavier eye makeup we usually see.

      Also, it may be my afternoon hunger setting in, but those petit fours and little eclairs look divine!

    • I think the lighting is just catching the white undereye concealer (or do you call it highlighter?). Plus she looks like she has less blush on, but that could be the sun washing it out.

  30. I still prefer the dress with the ribbon/belt…without that it emphasizes her long torso…

  31. The bottom of the shoe and the heel tip look much too dark on the Russell and Bromley to be a match. I vote for the LK Bennett. I wonder why she took the ribbon belt off for this event. Maybe she thought it was too much? I like it both ways, but with better. Love the Legoland display! The hats are spot on.

  32. Not sure how I feel about the dress without the ribbon belt. It just seems a bit plain and a big stretch of fabric without anything to break it up.

    • I think the ribbon belt added to the dress. Kate is tall enough to be able to set off a belt on a dress like this. I’m also a fan of unbroken expanses of dress but in this case I definitely think the belt added to the dress.

      Not sure why – perhaps it’s because the dress looks narrow?

      I just love the Ascot hats on the Legoland figures. What fun! :)

  33. While I love the dress, I can’t help but think it looked better two years ago- aside from the missing ribbon-belt, I can’t put my finger on it- is the slip underneath the dress a different color? It somehow doesn’t look as fresh as it did the first time.

    • Bingo. I think this dress has been re-lined. If you look at the 2012 photo, the lining is more of a cream color. In today’s photo, it’s a darker nude. The darker color makes it slightly less dressy, although a lace dress is always going to be dressy. I do think the belt makes it a little more distinctive, however, I don’t mind the belt-less version.

  34. Since your Duchess has the figure for these slim shift dresses I think she’s found the perfect style for outdoor events. She looks beautiful but no risk of her skirts blowing up to her chin and she can relax and smile !

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