Oct 212014

Kate returned to another favorite designer for this evening’s engagement at the Natural History Museum.

Splash News/i-Images, Polaris

Splash News/i-Images, Polaris

The Duchess wore an elegant Jenny Packham evening gown for the Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year gala.

Kate’s dress featured a deeply veed neckline, three quarter sleeves, gathers at the front waist and concealed back zipper.

REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth/PA Wire

REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth/PA Wire

Jenny Packham described the color as ‘pale jade’ in an Instagram post about Kate’s dress, a hue featured in the designer’s spring 2015 collection. Below, a comparison of Kate’s dress and a gown from next spring’s runway show.

Goff Photo - Splash News/Jenny Packham

Goff Photo – Splash News/Jenny Packham

This was Kate’s second engagement today; the Daily Mail’s story has more on the evening’s events:

Hours after attending a ceremonial welcome at the start of a four-day State visit to Britain by President Tony Tan of Singapore, Kate looked in good health and chatted animatedly with her hosts.

Kate, 32, who is patron of the museum, joined television naturalist Sir David Attenborough to present the awards after meeting finalists and viewing an exhibition of their work. 

The gown’s most dramatic design element was its length.
Arthur Edwards/Sun/GoffPhotos.com

Arthur Edwards/Sun/GoffPhotos.com

There are actually two lengths, the draped overskirt, or wrap dress portion of the frock, and the skirt underneath. The dress appears to be a custom version of this Jenny Packham style from the a/w 2014 Cruise Collection. We show it at Neiman Marcus, where it is called the Three-Quarter Sleeve Gown with Wrap Front.

Neiman Marcus

Neiman Marcus

The description of the dress better explains the garment’s construction.

  • Wrap front creates surplice neckline; jeweled embellishments at waist. (Kate’s version obviously doesn’t have the modesty panel in the neckline or the jeweled embellishment.)
  • Slim silhouette with gathered-into waist and straight envelope skirt.

The beaded version shown at Neimans is $5765. Here is a view offering greater clarity on the two different dress layers.

 Ian Jones/Splash News

Ian Jones/Splash News

The Duchess carried another handbag by Alexander McQueen, a custom version of a basic piece, the brand’s Knuckle Box or Knuckle Duster clutch.

PA Wire

PA Wire

The clutch is offered in different colors and materials each season. Below we show two such styles: on the top it’s Lake Tulip Lace version at Bergdorf Goodman ($1995) and on the bottom you see the Ivy Embroidery version at Alexander McQueen ($3895).

Top: Bergdorf Goodman Bottom: Luisa Via Roma

Top: Bergdorf Goodman Bottom: Luisa Via Roma

The bags are modified to remove the ornate skull closures. Below left, a bag much like Kate’s that was found by Ashley Marie, and Kate’s version, minus the elaborate skull that is part of the closure hardware.



All of the Alexander McQueen handbags Kate carries have to be altered to eliminate the skull portion of the clasp.

Alexander McQueen/i-Images

Alexander McQueen/i-Images

Another example of a McQueen clutch with the clasp changed to project a more regal style.

Splash News/Alexander McQueen

Splash News/Alexander McQueen

Kate brought back a pair of LK Bennett shoes we first saw at the 2011 annual ARK (Absolute Return for Kids) dinner, the Agata suede sandals.

LK Bennett 'Agata' Sandals

LK Bennett ‘Agata’ Sandals

She also wore a Jenny Packham gown for that engagement.

James Whatling/SplashNews.com

James Whatling/SplashNews.com

This evening we saw the Duchess in new jewelry, a sparkling diamond necklace and matching earrings.

Arthur Edwards/The Sun/GoffPhotos.com/SplashNews.com

Arthur Edwards/The Sun/GoffPhotos.com/SplashNews.com

Anna of My Small Obsessions has identified both pieces; they are from a jeweler Kate has not worn previously, Monica Vinader. The earrings are the Riva Diamond Cluster Drops, with pavé diamonds set in rose gold-plated sterling silver ($1245).

Monica Vinader 'Riva'

Monica Vinader ‘Riva’

These images offer a slightly better look at the necklace.

PA Wire/GoffPhotos.com

PA Wire/GoffPhotos.com

The matching Riva Diamond Bib Necklace necklace was only available at Harrods and we haven’t been able to locate any product images of that item to share; for an Instagram photo by Monica Vinader of a friend wearing the necklace, click here.

UPDATED: Monica Vinader has made the necklace available for pre-ordering.

Monica Vinader

Monica Vinader

Two more angles showing the necklace and earrings.

Splash News/Splash News

Splash News/Splash News

The Riva collection encompasses a variety of pieces and styles, the designer says it is inspired by her travels “and the glamour of the Italian Riviera.”

Kate’s return to official engagements was front page news.

Via Nick Sutton Twitter Feed (@suttonnick)

Via Nick Sutton Twitter Feed (@suttonnick)

This was an outstanding look for the Duchess. The dress color worked perfectly with her coloring, she looked healthy, confident and very much in her element at the awards.


  63 Responses to “Kate Sparkles in Jenny Packham for Photography Awards Gala”

  1. Beautiful blue dress, really like the lines. Has there been a similar “RepliKate” dress identified at a more reasonable price? If so, could someone please post the link. Thanks.

  2. Very beautiful!

  3. irresistible- stunning- shade of blue !
    (reminds me of the Cinderella/Nairobi “blue” Lupita Nyong’o wore to the Oscars-)

    leave it to Kate to manage showing off her stockingless legs and toes-in-strappy-high heels while remaining irreproachably elegant and Queen approved- even modest-

    her taste is simply unerring, imho-

    always appropriate. always respectful. always graceful. a true, albeit young, Lady..

  4. Love the look. I know she’s athletic and chasing after a toddler, but for heaven’s sake, when you’re wearing a gorgeous gown, get a manicure. As Rhett Butler would say, “You can always spot a lady by her hands.”

  5. I think she looks great!!! Love the dress and the shoes, and as someone else said, the long wrap lets her get away with a shorter skirt which she rocks. Lets hope the frumpy look is gone for good.

  6. Love the dress, the color, the split with modesty. Mostly, though, I love the addition of classy jewelty and a different pair of shoes. Pink sandals were a great choice. BUT, I love long hair; mine is to my waist. Hers is gorgeous for day time events. But, darn it! Dressed up in an evening gown wearing gorgeous jewelry….wear the hair UP in an equally elegant style. Show off the jewelry. Don’t hide it. And, can’t she wear a tiara sometimes? Even non-royalty wear tiaras, or something sparkly, in elegant up dos! She’s finally expanding her evening gowns and looking regal, except for the hair. Casual is for day; up is for evening gowns. If I were the designers, I would be frustrated the lovely lines of my gowns are covered by hair. Even very young Diana glammed it up in evening gowns. I always thought her hair too short, but the same glam effect can be achieved by keeping her gorgeous hair and letting stylists work magic for evening. She had pearl pins stuck in an elaborate chignon once. Stunning. Wish she would always do that in long gowns…or even with the LBD worn 2 days later. Dressy enough cocktail dress to get the hair up, show off the dress, and wear jewelry we know she has!

  7. I love this dress! This is the first high/low dress I have ever liked – it’s so clever how it’s just a demure sleek evening gown and then pow, it’s a wrap skirt and there are legs and those adorable flirtatious pink heels! I love this look because it’s got those little unexpected details. Kate’s style is usually a little too matchy-matchy for my taste – love the balance she strikes here. Of course, that shade of powder blue is one of my favorites, too. . . So good to see her looking happy and healthy. Hope that’s really how she feels now, poor thing.

  8. LOVE the color, the fit, and the shoes. Do not love the weird mini-dress high slit thing. It looks like she pulled the dress out of her closet, realized how high the slit was, then put a matching dress under it to gove it more modesty. It looks like an afterthought and not at all “on purpose”. That said, I don’t hate the rest of the dress at all. This would look stunning on Helen Mirren, Lee Radziwill, or that ilk.

  9. This ensemble is stunning as is she. I am always so thrilled to see the accessories identified in detail. I am sad the LKBennett shoes are no longer available although I must confess “What Kate Wore” has obliterated my annual clothing allowance by introducing me to many more UK brands than which I was already familiar; I am now on the mailing lists of almost all of them and their sales are wonderful. o

  10. I love this look! Most of the other comments have nailed it. I love seeing her try a different cut; this is definitely one where if I saw it in the store, I couldn’t imagine anyone pulling it off – but she really does. And while I remember the event where she first wore those sandals, I couldn’t remember the shoes themselves – lovely to see them at another formal event where they manage to be more visible due to the cut of the evening gown.

    She looks so happy and confident. Glad she is getting used to the duties and lifestyle that come with being a royal.

  11. I am SOOO glad to see these photos. The ones I looked at earlier left me thinking the dress was so BLAH. I’m glad for the front skirt detail.

  12. Absolutely ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’!!!
    That’s all I have to say!!!

  13. As usual, she is stunning!! It is great to see her :)

  14. I’ve gotta say, Monica Vinader is on top of her game! Since the Duchess wore her pieces, she has placed an image of the earrings on the first page of her site, AND she has put the Riva Diamond Cluster Bib necklace back up there for purchase too!!! $3340
    Necklace found here: http://www.monicavinader.com/us/riva-diamond-cluster-bib/rose-gold-vermeil-riva-diamond-cluster-bib?search=%2Fshop%2Fin-collection%2Friva

  15. The Duchess looks beautiful in her favourite colour (blue in all its tones). A fashion-worthy dress and she’s definitely more perkier here than during the day where her eyes had the tired look. Personally I do think she should have put her hair up but nevertheless this looks fine too. There were some remarks about her hands – my guess is the Duchess in her exercise regime includes boxing a punching a bag. This plays havoc with the knuckles over time. I’ve seen thus happen to some even with boxing gloves. This was my immediate thought when I saw her hands. But this is an aside – on the whole the Duchess looks beautiful and I’m glad to see her back.

    • I wonder if her hands might look different from receiving IV fluids as part of her treatment for HG. I know when I have had IVs for various things it makes your skin do funny things. (Didn’t read all the comments yet, so apologies if this is a repeat).

      • You could be right Keturah.. and it could be a bit of both. I’ve seen those knuckles and hands on fit people who include boxing in their exercise regime. But hey, that’s just a minor thing and these are close-up shots. Overall Kate look lovely.

  16. Yessssss! This is what we’ve been waiting for :)
    Love the colour of the dress, and the beautiful simple lines – and then the mini-dress when Kate moved. Awesome! A cheeky dress but so much more elegant and eye-catching than dresses which just have the slit up the side. It’s a ‘you can look this far but no further’ dress :)

    I’m not wild about the shoes but the jewels are gorgeous, and look stunning on Kate.

    Well, yesterday I thought she looked good but not fantastic. Perhaps she’s better in the evening? Or is it a case of dressing up in a great outfit (which is not one of the most conservative we’ve seen her in) has just given her an enormous boost?

    Whatever, it’s good to see Kate back and to have a brand new bespoke dress to gaze at.

  17. Kate looks stunning. Perfect in every way.

  18. Looks like the necklace is available for pre-order directly from the Monica Vinader website: http://www.monicavinader.com/us/riva-diamond-cluster-bib/rose-gold-vermeil-riva-diamond-cluster-bib?search=%2Fshop%2Fin-collection%2Friva

  19. Wow, the Duchess really ramped up the A-lister style on this one! There have been so many occasions when formal wear was hoped for and we’ve had to settle for cocktail dresses and the like, I confess I was surprised to see a lovely Jenny Packham at more-or-less floor-length.

    The pastel colour is highly flattering on Kate, especially against dark glossy locks of hair, and I like the subtlety of accessories in a contrast pastel. I’m delighted to see those sandals again, I was losing hope of seeing those again as well

    The dress-within-a-dress has been expertly done with a wonderful flow in the soft fabric when Kate moves. It’s such a clever way to look daring with the thigh-slit while preserving modesty with the neat under-dress. There are even soft folds at the bust which can disguise any hint of bump.

    I think the dress design is a classic example of the difference between eye-catching creativity on fashion runways and what actually works out in the field, so to speak. Kate can gain maximum impact from a designer sometimes dismissed as just “pretty” and “safe.” She looks gorgeous.

    And I’m much impressed at what amounts to full-on bling by Kate’s standards, the necklace and earrings being completely covered by those glorious curls in early pictures. She is a child of her time and looks much more comfortable with this style of jewellery than with the Queens opulent Hydrabad diamonds earlier this year.

    And we have even got the return of seriously big hair, which looks great for evening. It seems like the shorter cut of summer has grown out, maybe we will be able to welcome it back again in time. She looks a different woman than she did in the morning — maybe mornings are harder just now — and a hairdresser session was just what she needed.

    • Ahh ElizaMo, you are so right about “the return of the seriously big hair!” As an ardent fan of big hair myself, I was so glad to see the pumped-up volume. Her entire look for the evening was Classic Kate Middleton (I was worried that her style shifted completely into demure coats and sensible jewelry). Glad to see her healthy, glowing, and back in action!

      • Why, thank you, Lauren, so kind of you! Agree with you about an evening of Classic Kate Middleton, it was a treat to see!

  20. “This was an outstanding look for the Duchess. The dress color worked perfectly with her coloring, she looked healthy, confident and very much in her element at the awards.”

    I totally agree!!! Nothing more to say :)

  21. Wow, this was not at all what I was expecting the Duchess to wear!! At first glance, this dress was very elegant maybe a bit boring and then add some movement and BAM legs for miles!! Luckily, Kate has great legs and can really show them off well. I agree with Erin, thank goodness she didn’t wear nylons with these sandals. This dress reminds me of her style in her pre-royal days, fun, flirty and a bit daring. I would imagine after sitting at home in her sweats, being sick all the time Kate really wanted to feel better about herself and what better way to do that then dress up in a bespoke gown, put on some great heels, fabulous jewels and knock everyone’s socks off.

    The only thing I would have changed about this look was the hair. While Kate has gorgeous hair, I think an updo, a high pony tail or demi-chignon might have looked better. Maybe having her hair down is like having a little safety hair blanket for her?

    • Yup, “BAM legs for miles” sums it up very nicely for me! Thanks!

    • If I still had hair like Kate’s I’d still wear it down too! I love the colour which suits her but I thought Jade was a strong, medium shade green associated with Chinese Buddha statues? It is the same blue (as is the catwalk version pictured) as the sparkling knee length dress worn towards the end of her last pregnancy and another we had just a glimpse of in a limousine – surely it’s ‘Ice-Blue’, ‘Powder Blue’ ‘Baby Blue’ or even ‘Aqua Blue? As a blue, it looks even more beautiful with the baby pink sandals and rose-accented jewellery. It’s beautiful as a gown but I don’t like splits to the pantie-line or 2 dress lengths though-what’s the point?
      Regarding the various aspects of the outfit, I can’t see any reference to her pregnancy in what she chose and why would she want this anyway? As to the absence of the skulls, this may be a personal choice but as a British person, perhaps the Palace wish her to distance herself completely from the kind of people who normally adorn themselves with skull design, motifs and jewellery.
      Good to know she feels well enough to return to public duties.

  22. I love the dress and shoes as well. This is definitely a great version of the high/low look! I too thought her hands looked different–I am wondering if she’s lost weight these past weeks, and maybe the bones in her hands are more pronounced. At any rate, I am just glad she’s feeling better and well enough to step out!

    • Hi Jana,

      I think she is a little dehydrated, with as sick as she’s been she might not have wanted much in her stomach before the event. My hands look pretty boney when I’m a bit dehydrated too.

      • Thanks for the explanation, I was wondering why her knuckles looked so pronounced. I thought maybe it was flash photography or something. I’m glad to see she hasn’t wasted away to skin and bone in general though, both her arms and well-displayed legs are clearly in very good order!

  23. she looks so sexy and glowing! I love this look on her!

  24. What is the dress fabric?? I’m curious to know, but can;t find the information..

  25. I like the hemline(s) of the dress – I feel like the short part is shorter than she would normally be allowed to get away with (although it is a great length on her!), but the look was obviously approved, probably because of the long wrap. I understand she needs to look regal, but let a girl show some more leg!

  26. her hands look funny to me!!! other than that she looks fantastic!!!

  27. I think the blue dress, blush tone shoes, clutch and rose gold in the jewelry are a subtle hint to the pregnancy. I love the new earrings!
    As far as the removal of the skulls on the McQueen cluthes, I think it was done so that the piece doesn’t “scream” McQueen or to not associate with the symbolism of skulls.

  28. Overall, this is a lovely look for the Duchess. My only negative would be her hair being all down. What’s the point of the v-neckline and gorgeous necklace if no one can see them because her hair is hanging down all over them? I would have preferred a half-up option that would accentuate the look.

  29. Fantastic look for her! I agree with being over the high-low thing but this is much more subtle and doesn’t bother me. Beautiful color too. She looks great! She’s so tall, if they didn’t have to announce the pregnancy early for her health, she really could hide it a long time!

  30. Looks like Kate’s dress is ‘half sleeves” not 3/4 sleeves as mentioned.

    • Definitely 3/4. Any sleeve that falls below the elbow but above the wrist is generally considered to be a 3/4 length, no matter where on the forearm it falls. Moreover, the sleeves on this dress are slightly pushed up, so they look a little shorter than they actually are.

  31. I think the colour of the dress is lovely but I’m not a fan of her jewellery. I can’t quite put my finger on why but it just fells a little tacky.

    As a sidenote, does anyone have any theories about why the DoC chooses to remove the skull element from her McQueen clutches?

    • It drives me nuts. Why does she continue to wear Alexander McQueen, but always take away the house’s signature style?

    • I don’t think skulls would fit in with the elegant, conservative look the Duchess favours, and would be a little to ‘out there’ for any Royal. I think they’re hideous, personally, and am glad she got rid of them.

      This is a gorgeous dress, and while I’m not s fan of the high-low look generally, this is the way to do it. I think ‘jade’ is an odd description for it, though – it doesn’t look at all green in these pictures, more of a powder blue.

      • Both Crown Princesses Mary and Mette-Marit have used McQueen clutches with the skull motif, so it isn’t heard of for young royal women to do so.

    • I find her jewelry disappointing. I wish she wore royal pieces.

      • I think a lot of the royal pieces are really rather heavy and old-fashioned for a young woman in contemporary clothing designs. When she’s worn some pieces from the collection, I’ve usually thought they looked wrong for whatever she’s had on.

    • I, personally, think the death specter in McQueen’s stuff is what causes the skulls to be removed. I know it is precisely what keeps me from this amazing brand whenever it is featured. As someone who has had to face her own mortality, I do not wish to adorn myself with symbols of death. I cannot compartmentalize my mind sufficiently to believe it is only a fashion statement.

      The article on Lee McQueen which ran in “Vanity Fair” a few months back was not an especially attractive portrait of the world class designer. There was little, if anything, to recommend him as someone to be admired after his ascendence to the top of the charts in fashion.

  32. All I wanna say is that I am super glad we can see her again! Such a sweetheart!!!

  33. Quite a transformation from this morning. She looks like she is feeling better. Much more “Kate!”

  34. Very nice. I’ve commented elsewhere that I’m normally not a fan of the “high-low” look, but this works better than other examples I’ve seen, because of the slimness of the skirt and draping. It’s a quite sophisticated look. I’ve always liked wrap-effect designs like that and own a few of my own.

    I could wish the “high” portion of the design were a bit less high, but that’s a minor quibble.

    I’m delighted to see those sandals again. I liked them the first time she wore them and have been hoping she’d bring them back. The jewelry isn’t quite to my own taste, but it looks good on her.

    I must say that the Duchess looks less tired at this event, much better than she did this morning, when I was really wondering whether she might be struggling with nausea while trying to welcome the guests graciously. I thought perhaps she was appearing in public prematurely, but she really does look much improved, significantly healthier, in this pretty blue Packham.

    • I agree. I am kind of tired of the hi-low dresses. I think it is lovely on this dress though. I feel like Kate wanted to make a statement which is why she chose a more daring dress instead of just picking a short cocktail dress or a long evening gown. I am wondering if she is going to continue with the shorter hem-lines. Through her pregnancy with George she was always sporting fairly short hemlines. So, this makes me wonder if she is going to do the same this time around-starting with this dress. Show off the legs to counterbalance the bump?

    • The Palace said she is continuing to improve, and after seeing pictures at both events, I wonder if she has eased into more traditional “morning sickness,” and she really feels much better as the day goes on?

  35. I was sort of hoping the high-low was finished, but first Amal Clooney and now the Duchess are wearing a version of it. I like this dress either as a dress or as a gown. I’m ambivalent about the combination.

    The color is lovely and it fits nicely. However, it seems a tad like those hostess gowns from the 1950s that were a voluminous skirt over pegged pants. Neither here nor there.

    • Oh my gosh!!! I had not thought of that, but now that you mention the 1950′s look, that is all I can see. I Love Lucy-Lucy wore them all the time;)

  36. I think what I love most about this appearance is her venture into fashion in a way that isn’t usual for the Duchess; the varied hemline of the dress, bow shoes, and fun jewelry are all such a nice change from what we normally see!

    And more importantly, I’m so happy that she’s feeling better! Thanks for a wonderful post!

  37. What a beautiful dress! I really like it very much, for itself and also as it is quite different from what we can often see on the Duchess. I actually find it quite daring. I also love the shoes but am not too keen on the pink/blue association. As usual I do not like the jewelry per se as I find it too simple and similar to low-quality jewels but as always they look good on Kate.
    Most important it is really nice to see Kate back and looking good.

    • I thought the same thing with the shoes!! I love them, just not the color combination. In some lights they look more beige, so maybe Kate thought the same thing-that they were such a light pink, they may appear more beige on the blue dress instead of pink? Just a thought.

  38. Since blue is my favorite color, I of course adore this dress. As you mentioned, the color looks very good on the Duchess. And I love those shoes. So pretty. Overall, a very good look for the Duchess. Color me very pleased.

  39. Love this look! So simple and elegant.

  40. I like the dress because it is a little different for her:). One thing that I appreciate, and it is a small thing, but I like that she does not wear nylons with open toed shoes. So many other royals do and it always drives me nuts. You should never wear nylons with open toed shoes. I am always shocked when she doesn’t wear nylons, since she always has to wear them-it is nice to see her real legs. I am happy that she never wears nylons/tights with heels like this:)

  41. It’s wonderful to see her looking so wonderful. I love the pink and blue. The jewelry is very Kate, and I think Anna is right on with the ID, but that necklace on Jodie Kidd looks slightly different, narrower. I don’t think Kate would ever knowingly wear anything from Harrod’s given Mr. Fayed’s comments about the royal family.

  42. Brilliant!

 Leave a Reply



You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>