Oct 212015

The Duchess debuted two new labels this morning at a “Creative Collaborations” event at London’s Lancaster House with China’s President Xi and Madame Peng.

Robin Nunn/Nunn Syndication/Polaris

Robin Nunn/Nunn Syndication/Polaris

This morning’s function was intended to celebrate partnerships between the UK and China, including collaborations in film, TV and entertainment.

Stephen Lock/i-Images

Stephen Lock/i-Images

Madame Peng and Kate heading into Lancaster House.

©Stephen Lock/i-Images/POLARIS

©Stephen Lock/i-Images/POLARIS

It’s obvious there was wardrobe coordination between Madame Peng’s office and Kate’s, the two played off each other nicely.

Stephen Lock/i-Images/POLARIS

Stephen Lock/i-Images/POLARIS

More from Richard Palmer’s story in The Express:

The second in line to the throne and his wife welcomed China’s first couple to the event at Lancaster House, a Government hospitality building next to Clarence House, on the second day of their State Visit to Britain.

Outside Lancaster House, the royal couple and their guests also got a sneak preview of the Aston Martin DB10 that serves as James Bond’s car in the new movie SPECTRE, which has its royal premiere in London on Monday with the Cambridges in attendance.

The VIP visitors met Michael Wilson, one of the producers of SPECTRE, who said that the car was one of only 10 produced especially for the film by Aston Martin, and designed with the help of the film’s director Sam Mendes.

Simon Perry People Magazine Instagram

Simon Perry People Magazine Instagram

More from The Daily Mail:

The royal party then went inside to meet with British TV, film and theatre actors, including watching exhibitions and demonstrations by Poldark, BBC Earth, Sherlock, and the Society of London Theatre.

They were also seen viewing iconic props from British TV, including a Tardis and Dalek from Doctor Who. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge later posed for a photo alongside Mr Xi, Madame Peng and Jackie Chan – who happily posed for selfies with other guests.

Below you see the President, Madame Peng, the Duke and Duchess meeting action star Jackie Chan.


Victoria Murphy, The Mirror Twitter

The Duchess was in Dolce and Gabbana, a new label for her.

Stephen Lock / i-Images / Polaris

Stephen Lock / i-Images / Polaris

Kate wore the Italian brand’s Lace Guipure Dress, we show it below at Net-a-Porter.



The design is a classic for the brand, one offered with variations in design and color over the years. Net-a-Porter describes the color of Kate’s frock as ‘eggplant.’ Below, a closer look at the bodice, with sheer sleeves and scalloped neckline.



A very close shot of the lace detail.



The dress is knee length, with a silhouette Kate likes – a fitted bodice that is slim through the hips. The piece has long sleeves, a concealed back zipper and internal slip dress with spaghetti straps. It is crafted of a rayon/cotton blend with a touch of nylon. Here you see it at Farfetch. 



The dress retails at $3495 at both Farfetch and Net-a-Porter.

Again, lace dresses are a staple for D&G, here are just a few related looks: on the left, the Floral Lace Fitted Dress, a vee-neck style; the sleeveless Floral Lace Midi dress; and the Long Sleeve Lace Dress.



I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw Kate in more D&G lace dresses, previously she has purchased multiple items in different colors when finding a piece she likes. This is quintessential Kate, and I think a good look for the Duchess. Perhaps not what many of us might consider a daytime business look, but today’s function far transcends any I encountered at the office (more accurately, the tv station), it is clearly a style in which Kate feels comfortable.

Will and Kate meet Chinese first couple

Robin Nunn/Nunn Syndication/POLARIS

Kate was also in a new footwear brand today; her heels look like the Gianvito Rossi ‘Gianvito’ style in Bordeaux, shown at FarFetch ($580).

Farfetch/i-Images, POLARIS

Farfetch/i-Images, POLARIS

Thanks to both @YourLoveMoments and My Small Obsessions on Twitter for the ID assistance. My surprise at seeing Kate wearing Gianvito Rossi heels was ameliorated when Anna of My Small Obsessions explained that Sophie, Countess of Wessex, wears this brand and also, I believe, this shoe.

Kate carried the oft-seen Mulberry Bayswater clutch.

Robin Nunn/Nunn Syndication/POLARIS

Robin Nunn/Nunn Syndication/POLARIS

Kate wore her Mappin and Webb Empress earrings.

POLARIS/Mappin & Webb

POLARIS/Mappin & Webb

I imagine we will see this frock again, it is the cut, fabric and style Kate is fond of, and in a color she likes. Because Kate is so fond of lace, it makes sense she would go to a label that has years of experience with the textile, using it for many different dress styles, ideal in many ways for the Duchess.

Stephen Lock/i-Images/POLARIS

Stephen Lock/i-Images/POLARIS

UPDATES/COMMENTS:Apologies, I had to scoot out the door for several hours and am getting caught back up, adding some additional photos and expanding/clarifying information.

  • In a comment Erin asks a question I’ve also received via email. “Susan can you explain why you think the two women’s office’s coordinated on their outfits? To me it looks like the opposite.” I was referencing color  coordination, and didn’t make that clear. Below you can see how Madame Peng and Kate’s color palettes worked together, particularly with the accessories. The colors complement each other nicely.


  • I’m sure both offices also verified dress for the function was ‘business attire’ or similar terminology. Obviously the two women interpret business dress differently, Kate’s dress is considered cocktail party attire by some, while Madame Peng is wearing what many of us consider more standard office attire. Other comments point out that lace is more accepted work attire. Expanding on a thought Dale shared in a comment, it’s possible the state visit’s significance prompted a desire on Kate’s part to be more ‘dressed up’ than normal. (My version of Dale’s point.)
  • Some have messaged and commented about the Mulberry clutch. I agree with those thinking a better handbag could have been found, the color doesn’t seem to work well, at least not in the photos I have licensed. Nor does it seem to play at the same level of the dress and heels.

We’ll leave you with this brief video of President Xi and Madame Peng arriving.


  138 Responses to “Two New Designers for the Duchess as Kate Wears Dolce and Gabbana for State Visit Event”

  1. Can anyone explain the difference between the Mulberry Bayswater Clutch Wallet in Oxblood Suede and Conker Suede? If there is a difference, then do we for sure know which one Kate has? Thanks x

  2. I was curious about the color choice, especially that it is coordinated, and googled a bit on the significance of purple in the Chinese culture. Found this very interesting article,
    “…..purple has deep religious meaning in China. An ancient Taoist symbol of divine presence is canonized as “a purple cloud coming from the east”. This phrase is always used in connection to anything mortal ascending to immortality.”

    Sometimes, I wonder at the research that Katherine does for events. I am certain it is extensive and reflects a real appreciation for cultures and people.

  3. I think the dress is lovely. When looking at the interior pictures, her clutch is much closer in color to the dress than it in the outdoor pictures. even on an overcast day, natural lighting can play tricks on your best laid plans!

  4. The look is lovely for cocktail or evening – I find it a peculiar choice for daytime.

  5. My comment is like so many others. The dress is beautiful and elegant, but looks so wrong for this occasion. Most of us think of lace being for evening wear, bridal gowns, very fancy events. Kate looks very much out of place amongst the other daytime attire. Also, the purse is a poor choice as it seems to be too red, to coordinate with the eggplant shade of dress and shoes.

    I want to love the red dress worn at the dinner, but I don’t. The colour has a WOW factor, but the style is very matronly looking. The cap sleeves, the full skirt, the high neckline are too conservative, perhaps even frumpy, for a young woman.

    Kate is so pretty and so engaging. Her clothes are expensive, the designers are accomplished but she has missed the mark, too often lately. I truly feel it is time for a stylist to help her get it right.

  6. Having read through the comments, I tend to disagree that Kate’s dress in inappropriate for the occasion. A couple of things to be highlighted if of course the color coordination (as you correctly pointed out, Susan. The other is the high neck style, with Madame Peng wearing the mandarin collar and Kate opting for a high neck style. It would have been too costume-y for Kate to wear a similar, mandarine-neck collar, so this is an interesting and fun look for a day at the movies!

  7. not my fave look on her but she looks elegant

  8. There ought to be a poll for this look. It certainly has sparked controversy!

    For me, this is a rare miss — the color, overwhelming fussiness and heavy pattern of the lace paired with matchy-matchy accessories looks dowdy and aging. As the Duchess is a young, beautiful woman with beautiful hair, I can only fault the choice of a dress which detracts from her natural beauty and style. In fact, I am not sure this dress would flatter most people.
    While Pantone is entitled to call this color “merlot,” the older name for it is “puce,” French for “fleas.” The dye that produces that color was invented in the 18th century. Louis XVI was presented with the first silks ever dyed that color, and remarked that he disliked it because it reminded him of the color of fleas. it is a color that is best used sparingly, with bright accents to enrich and enliven the look.

    • Well, I at first thought she looked gorgeous but a miss for the occasion. But during the next hours I saw more and more photos and got more information about how the day unfolded. I know believe this was a great choice. The dress really did work wonderfully for all the interior photo shoots and for the Chinese media audience it was perfect. High end and elegant showing ultimate respect for the President and Madame Peng, China is a major major player in the world and they have a very unique and very specific view of how one shows respect. Many of the commentators on this and other Catherine fashion blog sites have reminded me of the historical import of this visit. Ali

      • I concur with all of your points. I just think it is a pity that the dress does not flatter her. The dress is just plain ugly, lace and all!

      • Thanks for making such good points. One of the things I like best about this site is the way the comments of others can help me shift my viewpoint especially when I’m stuck on a ‘No’ vote for an outfit. In this case, however, I wouldn’t have missed this lively discussion for the world, it’s what breathes life into our sartorial musings!

    • I just saw a comment on the Duchess Kate site from Paola that said that she thinks that the lace flowers might be peonies which are symbolic of peace in China. I thought that was wonderful and makes the dress choice that much more understandable.

  9. I thought the drew was extremely inappropriate for day. I also felt the shoes were too high- she towered over the honored guests. The handbag was a bad color- close but not matching. i did not like this look and I thought she looked tired or unhappy.

  10. I know I’m in the minority here, but I like this look on her. I think it takes some getting used to, perhaps.

    I like the eggplant color in lace. It’s a nice change from basic black (which we’ve seen her on her a lot). I also enjoy the use of suede heels to sort of “cut” the visual of mostly lace from the knees up. It would look nice with black suede heels as well, but it’s great to see Kate wearing something other than her SW Power pumps.

    It does look like an evening/cocktail dress, but I think the long sleeves and length of the skirt (as well as the cut of the dress) make it one that isn’t too, too inappropriate for this event.

  11. I don’t know why I keep thinking about this, but I think it’s sad that so many people are calling this look a “miss” for Kate. I agree that this dress may have been a bit too formal for business meetings with a charity, but this function sounds like it was, in essence, a performance. It was a cultural experience, not a business meeting. Seen in that context, I believe that this look was much more appropriate then other commenters seem to believe.

    • You’re right, it wasn’t a typical business meeting. The event included watching dance performances, TV and film clips, and viewing a display of costumes.

    • I have to say I’m puzzled by some of the reactions. I find the distinctions being made between day and evening wear rather outdated, even a little prim. I mean, where exactly are all these cocktail parties requiring their own wardrobe, to which, I might add, I have not been invited? It feels a bit like I’ve just woken up somewhere in the 1950 and I would say such distinctions scarcely apply today.

      Purple is a wonderful regal colour for Kate to choose and the outfit is as demure as any she has chosen. I think all the points being made about the showbiz angle of the engagement only underline what a sensible choice she made. Tbh I think Madame Peng overdoes a bit with those sober coats she often wears and at an odd length, not three-quarters but just an inch or so above the hem of her outfit underneath. It can look as if she’s mismatched lengths sometimes.

      And to cap it all there is some photographic evidence from WKW Twitter that Kate is not the first to use D&G all-over lace for royal daywear as I pray the link below may show. She is in fact bringing up the rear behind Crown Princess Mary of Denmark and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands — the latter sporting hers on a visit to Denmark!


    • I don’t think a differing opinion is sad –interesting, perhaps! That being said, I like how you see it.

    • I agree with you. (I, too, perceived this engagement to be more of a cultural one, and one of those with the Duke of York earlier today to be rather business.)

      When I initially find Catherine’s sartorial choices a “miss” having only seen photos, I always find it helpful to get as precise information as possible on the nature of the function she is attending, as well as on the degree of formality, the role she is playing, whether there are persons present that outrank her, who/what is the official focus, …

      In addition, I find it more than helpful to take a look at the videos, if available. In my experience, video is more true to colour, and with the added information of movement of a certain garnment, a feeling for the location, atmosphere, etc., I find her choices very intelligent, thoughtful and appropriate most of the time.

      I also find that she often chooses colours to blend in with the surroundings.

      • Agree with you about chasing up video links as well as background info on the engagement — I find my estimation of a dress can be transformed by seeing Kate move in it :-)

      • I disagree any woman dresses to blend in with surroundings as opposed to wearing what she wants because it looks good on her. I do also think up close and personal we may have misfired on the actual colours but surely the stylist/wearer is all too aware of how her clothes digitally translate. These days we all have cameras on our phones. I don’t think it’s an observer issue. Some colours are going to play up. Interesting how Madame Peng had no visible make-up flaws but lighting coupled with a camera showed up where she had just dabbed powder. I would be mad to be caught out like that but we live in a digitally enhanced HD world

    • I think many people do not bother to read about the event beyond the engagement title and/or time of day. I think it’s tough enough to dress for an occasion but adding historical significance and press coverage considerations make it even more daunting.

      I like this look on Kate, the color is great on her, and shows off her beautiful hair nicely. Madame Pang seems to be wearing a dress with Mandarin color, so she probably had in mind to take off the coat at some level if needed.

      However, if I were Kate, and considering that this event will be broadcasted widely to billions of people in China, I would probably choose another English designer, or at least English-made lace, to show off a local product.

  12. The Duchess looks lovely – except wrong dress for the occasion as it is really a cocktail/evening dress. I would love to see the Duchess wear this D&G dress for an evening event with an loose updo. This would highlight the super collar. The bag does not match somehow – perhaps the lighting does not do it any favours and makes it look worse than it actually is.

  13. I usually love Kate’s looks so was feeling bad over my views on this one, but for me it was a big miss. For an evening function with hair pulled up it would be stunning, but it is not a day outing look. She could have toned it down with maybe nude accesories and a jacket, but really for me it doesnt work. I thought she looked stunning at the state banquet though. I do think that she is looking a bit tired, and while that is no surprise with two little munchkins I feel that her heavy eye makeup is now not doing her any favours. It is making her look tired and flat. I’d love a little less eyeliner and some softer shades to brighten up the eyes.

    • I agree. It’s an interesting dress, not one of my favorites, but it’s the wrong occasion. Something less lacy would have been more appropriate. And also agree alls round that the clutch,despite the lighting, is wrong. Too match matchy

  14. This is one of the prettiest dresses I’ve seen the Duchess wear! She looks beautiful from head to toe.

    Lace isn’t just for evening anymore. I think it’s fine for this occasion. The color is so flattering and appropriate for the season.
    This is such a lovely and versatile dress, I hope we’ll see it again.

    • I agree! I don’t remember people having the same reaction when she wore a navy lace dress during the day on the Canada tour. It is very odd that opinion seems to have swung a lot since then.

  15. I think Kate looked lovely as always in that D&G dress. As for the formality of it, after reading the article in the Daily Mail, I think it was quite appropriate. Maybe not necessarily to the time of day, but for the nature of the event. The event included meeting actors, seeing a performance from a West End musical, and a BAFTA presentation (among other things). In my mind, an event like this which includes the performing arts leans more towards cocktail attire, not business. If William and Kate had been included in more of the political things on the agenda, then yes, a smart suit would have been appropriate for Kate to wear.

  16. She looks beautiful. I actually like the purple/plum shade on her.
    I do wonder what happened to her LK Bennett sledge pumps. She seems to be wearing all new pumps lately.

    Anyone know why their faces seem so solemn while they are standing at the state dinner? I noticed little to no move plenty and their facial expressions were interesting.

    • As far as I remember, they listened to one or both of the national anthems.

      I found that they didn’t look bored/sad/… but very attentif while respectfully reading / listening to the speeches gives by Queen Elizabeth and President Xi.

      While interacting I found the Queen and Catherine to be friendly and smiling warmly.

    • They published a bored and distracted looking Prince Andrew, a member of government and a sheik in the paper earlier but really if you look closer they are wearing wires that are obviously translating the President’s speech in their ears discreetly and they are just concentrating. Some of these photos are just well-timed

  17. Let’s contrast this dress with another well-known lace dress, the Alexander McQueen. Kate wore that on two dressy occasions: a Buckingham Palace garden party, written about by Susan here: http://whatkatewore.com/2014/06/10/kate-brings-back-elegant-alexander-mcqueen-dress-for-palace-garden-party/

    As well as the Jubilee Service of Thanksgiving, seen here: http://whatkatewore.com/2012/06/05/kate-is-elegant-in-lacy-mcqueen-for-jubilee-service/

    Both instances were royal occasions, as well as “hat” occasions. They were not business oriented. And while they were daytime, they were dressy daytime. Also, this lace dress was neutral, not a jewel tone.

    I really think Kate missed with this dress for this event. I would have loved to have seen her in the smart Roland Mouret navy suit she wore on her first trip to Canada.

    • I see what you are saying Brenda but I thought the lace Erdem Kate wore during the day on the North American tour worked well and that was not a hat occasion. This event while having business undertones was essentially performance based, so I don’t think the dress was so off. Also, I wouldn’t consider this shade of plum to be a jewel tone. The color of this dress is dark and deep and could be considered a new neutral if you will.

      Btw everybody. I’ve changed my user name to Faith from Boston. I’m the same Faith who has been commenting for the past two years. Yesterday, another Faith showed up and
      while I love having another Faith around ( the more the merrier), to avoid confusion, I thought I would change my moniker.

  18. I would call the colour Marsala; it was colour of the year for 2015 (PANTONE 18-1438). Like others, my choice for clutch and shoes would have differed, paralleling:

  19. She is, of course, unbelievably gorgeous, but I haven’t really loved Kate’s bangs (fringe) until today. How they were styled today was lovely and classy. Less in her face/eyes than other engagements.

  20. I’m sort of wondering has Kate acquired a new stylist since recommencing engagements. There’s something not quite right in the colour co-ords here. Hair, make-up lovely. Fringe bowing out gracefully. The clutch and shoes are awkward. The lace awkward next to Madame Peng’s power attire. Loved her turned-up collar btw. This lady is Hilary Clinton rocking a modern Jackie O. Letizia, Mary, Charlene to name a few have this unmistakeable confidence written into their wardrobe. Imo Kate is becoming detached from hers. It seems knee length, covering up and colour are overtaking the event. I miss wanting Kate’s shoes and clothes. I’d even reconsider the wedges. Plus did Madame Peng have an Angelina Jolie moment in a DM photo with face powder or is it my phone. I did turn up the light to look at today’s pics.

    • Grace, that’s an interesting observation — “Kate is becoming detached from hers.” I’ve noticed that, too. It’s almost as if she is being dressed instead of dressing herself.

      It’s entirely possible that with a new daughter and a rambunctious son, she can’t put the time into choosing clothes that she once did. I especially thought the red Jenny Packham looked costume-y. Not in an over the top way, but in the way that a costume designer would dress an actress. The clothes are for a character, not a person.

      You could say that about Charlotte’s christening outfit, too. Perfect, but very little of Kate in it.

      • If you get a stylist that may happen for a bit, especially if you are busy and really not all that clothes focused, which frankly I do not think Catherine is. She will probably get a bit more involved as her kids get older. I am not a clothes person, I love following this blog and I love looking great but when push comes to shove I choose the easy way with fashion. Catherine I think is similar. When her kids are older and she has a bit more time she may care a bit more but probably not as much as many of the folks on these blogs do. Frankly her clothing choices are very hit and miss in my mind, I would appear to be the same if anyone was following me:). If I could afford it I would hire someone to pick out all my clothes, do all the shopping and have everything tailored. :):)

  21. Well, I must admit, my first thought was, “What was she thinking?” However, now that I’ve looked through gazillions of photos in the DM and watched a few videos, I see many people there dressed up, including their guide. Even Madame Peng’s dress under the coat is a typical silk sheath. I wish she had taken off the coat; then Catherine might not have looked over-dressed. Nevertheless, Catherine looks amazing in the dress and shoes.

    Thank you, Susan, for the past two days of exciting and detailed coverage.

  22. I thought this article might be of interest to you. It’s about the actress who plays Kate Middleton in a current Broadway play. She mentions using Kate’s fashion as inspiration for the character.


  23. Love the dress! Glad she chose to wear some color, however subtle, rather than black or navy. I can even forgive the dressiness of the outfit because heck, she’s royalty and there ought to be a few perks. My only complaints are the dreadful color of her clutch as compared to the dress, and that she seems to be suffocated a bit between the high neckline and all of her glorious hair. Then again, if I could look that good after a night out, I wouldn’t complain!

  24. I think this is a beautiful look, and I think as you stated in your additions at the bottom of the blog, this is an instance where Kate was really dressing up because of who she’s with. I don’t think she’s overdressed at all, though I can see how this could work in the evening as well. I agree that her hair is too heavy, but I was glad that the bangs were at least blended in today.

  25. I’ll add to the chorus that this was a cocktail, not a daytime business look so a (rare) stumble for Kate.

    On another note, I was among readers who thought Kate looked glum…someone said miserable…at the State Dinner. Maybe it was the pressure, but now that she’s back to her typical smiling demeanor I wonder if that’s because she has William at her side. They do seem to be quite the team and it’s wonderful to see such a united front.

    And I could never thank you enough for this marvelous site! What am amazing job you do both visually and copy-wise.

  26. Overdressed! A rare miss.

  27. Great post, thank you! Question, though. Is she doing an ombre effect with her hair? It seems lighter up top. Or is this just the lighting? That distracts me more than her bangs…

  28. I adore her and usually think she can do no wrong, but on this occasion I have to say it’s a fashion miss. I think a lot of us are in agreement that it is just the wrong look for a day time event. It’s not the lace. I’m a big fan of lace, but it is the sheer/see through aspect of the bodice and arms that make it inappropriate for day wear. The color is great. In my opinion, it is a look that is much more suited to for a cocktail-type event. I also think that a different hairstyle would’ve better balanced the high neck of this dress.

    • I agree that this dress would look better with an up-do to show off the neckline, but I think an up-do would have made it even more “evening-y”. It was a good idea to keep the hair down during the day.

  29. I think the dress itself is beautiful and the color is great on her, but I agree that the lace seems a little off for daytime and I would have preferred her hair pulled back with such a high neckline. As a side note, the first lady of China is stunning. She has such an elegant style.

  30. I find that the most difficult part of getting the princess’s look with ready-to-wear clothes is the length.

    Her dresses often stop right at the kneepits, making her look even taller and slimmer, Her upper to lower portion is roughly 1 to 1.5. And her cuffs often stop an inch or 2 above the V between thumb and index fingers (like men’s suit).

    Due to the lace work. It will be very difficult to tailor it to individual measurements.

    This is very pretty, but I’m more interested in her casual wear that I could actually use. (Like the sailor strip shirt and jeans)

    • Yes, me too! I’ve long been more interested in her casual, day-to-day look, which has much more relatability to my life.

      I don’t understand your perceptions on her sleeve lengths – are you saying they’re too short or too long?

      • I have long arms, and personally find sleeves that stop directly at the wrist to be horribly annoying, and not particularly flattering unless you have very slender wrists and fingers. I much prefer and love the fact her sleeves stop where they do.

  31. Kate has really upped her game on her old favourite, the lace sheath. Dolce & Gabbana is a name to arrive from way left of field. It’s a welcome upgrade for her royal outfits and she works that D&G classic a treat. That is lace to die for and in my mind its ornate quality echoes the density of old Chinese brocade and silk patterns.

    It also strikes me as happy coincidence that we have the makings of a mandarin collar here, and that Kate is wearing ‘Empress’ earrings. The ‘creative collaboration’ on colours between the two leading ladies is a neat diplomatic touch.

    It was just the other day I think Lili remarked on what a flattering colour this deep aubergine is for many women and it certainly looks wonderful on Kate. I like too how the hemline isn’t quite below the knee, being lightened by the clever touch of the shorter underslip. The style of the slip bodice is very pretty, though in Kate’s case the dress comes over a mite matronly at the chest compared with her oh-so-slim hips.

    A minor quibble. The shoes are also to die for and Gianvito Rossi is another name none of us would have dared throw into the ring just a week ago – doesn’t that seem a long time ago now? Of course, it was way back BT – Before Tiara…

    Her hair looks wonderful and I welcome the judicious application of hair spray to keep that fast-growing fringe in order. The whole outfit is pitch perfect and a fitting tribute to such prestigious visitors.

    • “BT – Before Tiara” made me chuckle :) I also love the ornate quality of the lace.

      Not sure where I fall on the “appropriate for the occasion” spectrum, but I do love the dress – both shape and colour. Very elegant.

      • Thanks very much for your comments. I’ve been a bit surprised at some of the reactions to the dress as it seemed fine to me. But I know that I sometimes get on the wrong side of one of her outfits and once the negative hook is in I can’t shake it off in the heat of online discussion. Having said which, I like coming here especially to see all the different views expressed reasonably and in a way which leaves me free to test my own ideas against others. But all that’s thanks to admin!

  32. While I agree that Kate’s dress is more cocktail than corporate, I think this is a dress I myself would choose to wear to transition from day to night. Perhaps if she had thrown a smart suit jacket/blazer over the dress, it would have made the look more appropriate. But I do *love* the colour on her, as well as the high collar. I love high collars that don’t scream frumpy, and I think this one works. It is a shame it’s having a tussle with her hair for attention!

  33. My favorite part of this look is the dress color. It’s not something we see her wear that often, but seems a nice nod to fall and suits her. While I appreciate the reader who noted that the collar style reflects a traditional Chinese style, it is not my favorite, as it seems like it’s choking her.

    Like Lili, I am not a fan of the all-over lace look, though the Duchess has pulled it off a couple of times. This one just doesn’t work for me. Lace can be a wonderful accent, but the all over look generally makes me feel like someone is wearing converted curtains or tablecloths.

    I love the way her bangs/fringe are pulled over, but am not a fan of the heavy weight hanging around her face. She has gorgeous hair, and I understand wanting to wear it down, but I want to push it back over her shoulders. It’s just too heavy to have that much falling in the front. She does this often and it just covers up her outfit and makes things look off balance. There has to be a better way to make it work.

  34. Sadly I agree with others that this is not Kate’s best look. I really don’t like the high neckline on her with all that hair. I think a slick ponytail would have looked much nicer. And I agree that this dress does not work for day-time. Especially for a more casual event. It is a lovely dress, but very similar to things Kate wears all the time. I love the shoes though! Glad to see a new color. This is sadly a miss for me.

    Susan can you explain why you think the two women’s office’s coordinated on their outfits? To me it looks like the opposite. Kate appears way more dressed up and looks to be going to an evening event. Where as Madam Peng looks very appropriately dressed for a business day. The only thing that works together is the women’s choice of color. Other than that they appear to be going to 2 different functions. That is why I was curious on your opinion. Thanks :)

    • Hi Erin, that’s a very good question, I just got back home and updated the post, the pertinent part is at the bottom. :)

    • Madame Pang’s dress under the coat seems to be of a silk material with a mandarin collar – not perfectly business as well and perhaps she had it in mind to take off the coat at some time (but the weather not permitting?). So actually both are in sync of the type of dress this occasion warrants.

  35. I wonder if Kate’s choice to leave her hair down in front–rather than half-up, half-down as we have seen before and as some have suggested–was meant to counter the effect of the lace bodice, which might otherwise have felt too bare for a daytime event.

  36. Kate’s clearly going for Chinese silhouettes … both the cap sleeves last night and the high neck today are often seen on the traditional Chinese cheongsam dress. These are two styles we rarely if ever see on her and here they are, giving a nod to Chinese fashion in a subtle and beautiful way.

  37. This is such an elegant look. It’s been a while since we’ve seen the Duchess in a daytime lace look; I feel as awestruck with the beauty of lace on her as I was when she wore the 2 blue lace daytime dresses in Canada. And the color is truly gorgeous. Very well coordinated with Madame Peng. Gosh the more I look at the closeups of this the more I love it! Thank you for a great post Susan!

    • Exactly how I felt Ann! I got a jolt of excitement when I saw how beautiful she looked from head to toe, and it felt reminiscent of how gorgeous she was for the Canadian tour. We seem to be in the minority, but I think it was perfect for her to “dress up” for such important visitors.

    • I’m also in agreement with both of you and relieved to find fellow supporters among the naysayers! Still, it’s having differing points of view that keeps WKW a fun place to come back to.

  38. I adore this dress and especially the color, which is lovely for fall. I think it is a striking and fashion-forward,but wholly appropriate choice. Takes someone with her figure and height to pull it off. Loved the red dress at the state dinner as well.

  39. I was hesitant about posting a negative comment, but after reading the comments I see that I’m in good company! :-) I adore the dress and the colour, and the shoes are fantastic, but it seems really out of place both in daytime and outdoors. I suppose we’re used to Kate in one of her fantastic coat dresses or two piece suit. Love the dress itself. Love the colour. Just more suitable for a different type of engagement. It was much too much lace for a daytime outdoor appearance.

  40. I really adore this look. The lace dress, hair and makeup look very elegant. Had she worn a suit dress, she would’ve looked very similar to Madame Peng’s look. A big no no. Both ladies wore deep purple/plumb outfits, so maybe this colour was important to the event? By the way, I’m from Canada and love your blog. Come here almost every week. :-)

    • Hello from a fellow Canadian, Scholastica! :)

      I’m curious why you think that if Kate wore a suit dress, it would be a no no? I myself would find it no different to going to work in a business suit. I would be surrounded by coworkers in suits as well, but each outfit will be unique to the individual person’s style and tastes. I think it could work!

      I loved the outfit though. I personally would have thrown a blazer over it, to make it more ‘day’!

  41. oooooh…..I don’t like this color on her, sorry! I do like the dress a lot. I do agree with those who are calling too dressy or too “evening”. Maybe a different color would have done the trick, chocolate brown, navy or even a rust color might have looked more “daytime”. But I probably just would have liked a different dress (shrug). Is it my monitor or is that a red clutch? Doesn’t look good with the dress imo.

    I do like all the coordination- William’s tie matches her dress, she and Madame Peng both have plum shoes, all of that looks nice.

  42. Well, I do like seeing her in the slimmer silhouette rather than the big skirts that she sometimes seems drawn to. Love that she is branching out with her fashion, although this seems like a time she should fly the British flag and wear a British designer. What’s the point of wearing D and G if it’s simply to wear a dress that is pretty bog standard. I mean, it’s a pretty dress, but not much different than the full-length DVF dress or any other number of dresses that you could buy on the high street. She is stunning in anything, of course, but don’t quite understand this choice. Also, agree on the bag. A black one would be an improvement. Thank you for this website. So much fun, and so well done.

  43. I really like the neckline of this dress compared to the boat neck look of a lot of the dresses like she has worn lately. I think it’s a bit more fashion forward, and looks great on her.. I am not the biggest fan of the matchy-matchy of the accessories, but all-in-all I think she looks lovely.

    As a random note-this looks like day-old hair. Chances are they re-curled her hair from last night, as opposed to a fresh wash & style. Makes sense with the time crunch between last night’s event (which was likely exhausting-likely they were at BP until after midnight) and this morning’s function.

  44. I love the color of the dress but I am not certain it is good on her. She looks very washed out and a bit haggard…though it could be her harsh black eyeliner doing it to her, as well. And I wish whoever was doing her hair would stop curling her bangs. It is very retro. I also wear sideswept bangs but I don’t curl them or futz with them when I do a blowout…I just spray a little product on to keep them where they are supposed to be. It is a much more contemporary look that way.

    • I would be THRILLED to look that ‘washed out’ and ‘haggard.’ She’s a lovely young woman with a job that keeps her every move wide-open for every form of criticism. I think William and the royal family and The UK are lucky to have her!

  45. Kate looks lovely as always, but the lace is a bit much for a daytime engagement. I would think that is common sense, but here is where a stylist would be helpful for Kate. Also, her hair is too heavy/long and starting to drag down her features. She would look stunning in a shoulder length sleek bob.

    • I like her hair length, the heavy side bang could be cut a bit differently but has improved as it has grown out. The dress color is wonderful but agree the lace seems cocktail hour not daytime. ali

  46. Sheer lace at a daytime event seems wrong. I’m thinking some of Diana’s tailored suits with pencil skirts (post-divorce) would be a better example of what Kate should wear to these daytime business functions.

  47. I’m putting this in the ‘miss’ column. I agree that a lace dress is an odd choice for an early-in-the-day event. The long sleeves add to the overwhelming amount of lace – perhaps a cap sleeve would have been ‘slightly’ better.

    The Chinese ladies were wearing suits, and I think the Duchess could have worn a smashing tailored suit instead.

    The hair and makeup – yikes. Heavy, heavy hair and makeup really age her.

  48. The dress is lovely, but I agree with those who say the fabric is a bit off for a morning event. Kate’s hair style, tumbling all over the front of the dress, also looks wrong to me. I will go out on a limb and suggest that William likes long hair and that Kate thinks this style, hanging all over the front of her clothes, makes her look younger. To me it doesn’t, and the heavy bangs just add to the mess. The dress and shoes are sleek and sophisticated, the hair is similar to the girls my daughter goes to high school with.

    The dress, with its high neck, would be fabulous at an evening event with her hair up. This event called for a beautifully tailored coat dress or suit with her hair behind her shoulders – perhaps half up / half down.

  49. I do love the dress; the style along with the lace make it a wonderful outfit. I do agree it is a bit too dark, formal and not altogether appropriate for this type of event.

    I also don’t fancy the fact that she matched from head to toe. A bit too much of the same colour in my opinion.

  50. Love this dress and it’s absolutely a day dress, not cocktail dress! She has worn a lace day dress before. Her beige lace Sarah Burton dress worn for Diamond Jubilee is very similar to this one, except for the color! Love, love, love!!!!!!

    • That Diamond Jubilee service for which she wore the McQueen nude lace dress was a unusually special occasion. When she wore the dress again, for a garden party, it looked quite wrong to me.

    • Exactly! Not to mention the 2 blue lace dresses she wore in Canada.

    • I agree that this dress is perfectly appropriate for day, and to me seems like a more refined version of the Erdem dress she wore in Canada. That said, I personally wouldn’t wear it to the office. Then again I’m not a Duchess so what is “work appropriate” for Kate versus us mere mortals might differ sometimes. The lace itself is absolutely gorgeous!

      • Isn’t it interesting that two very similar dresses receive so different comments. I loved her Erdem Cecile dress, and there weren’t any comments about it for not being a ‘day’ dress. I think it is the color and the arm length of this dress that makes it look more ‘dressy’.
        I also loved her new shoes and her attempt to wear her hair slightly different.

        *…and, what a wonderful website this is!

  51. I love the dress, but not indicated for a morning event. More, how wrong on so many levels is missing different shades of the same colours? I can see 3: dress, shoes and clutch all different. I could discount the dress and the shoes (so much better than the LK Bennet ones anyway) but the clutch is totally the wrong colour. If you cannot find (or have made) everything in the same shade advise is to go for completely different colours.

    Kate would look good in a bin bag, as we say, but this outfit doesn’t do it for me at all. Don’t get me started on the hairs…

    • Hi! I’ve never seen another Faith comment on this site, only me. We need to use two different user names so that everybody knows we are different people. Any thoughts? I used to go by Faith from Boston on another site. Should I change my user name or do you want to add something to your Faith?

      • Hi Faith, just saw your comment! Sorry, I didn’t know there was already another Faith here, of course you can keep the nickname, I’ll use Fede, (kind of) Italian for Faith :-)

    • I prefer when the parts of an outfit are not all the exact same shade. The purse color looks good in some photos I have seen but agree in the photo above it looks like a red color not a variation on the plum/eggplant color. Ali

    • I think that working along shades of the same color is a trend right now…especially with blues or reds/pinks. But these three shades did not work, in my opinion. Especially the purse. Maybe if she had black shoes or the shoes were a better match for the purse. But something’s off.

      • As someone who has recently bought items in different shades of gray and who intends to wear them together, I’m very aware of that trend. In fact, I’ve lately seen some outfits comprising various shades in the plum/burgundy family, and they have worked together quite well.

        I tend to take a liberal and interested attitude towards chromatic experimentation of this type, and I actually think the reason the juxtaposition of the shades in the Duchess’s outfit doesn’t quite work has much to do with the type of dress she’s wearing. If she’d worn a deep-plum wool coat with the shoes and bag, the effect might well have been successful. However, that all-lace, should-be-appearing-at-a-cocktail-event dress ought to have been worn with black shoes and bag, or perhaps with black or plum shoes and a gold clutch more suitable for evening occasions.

    • Oh dear, not only do I think the dress works fine for the occasion and also that distinctions between day and evening wear became blurred a long time ago, alas, I also like the different colours in accessories. Maybe I’m just a fan of a bit of a clash, a quiet disruption of the rules of matchy-matchy, and I think a red tone against a plum has been used by others before this. Interested as always to read everyone’s comments :-)

      • You know, I’d have far less trouble with this as a day dress if it weren’t for the transparency of the lace in the upper bodice and the spaghetti-strapped slip dress underneath. That effect just says “evening” to me. Some commenters have compared it with the Erdem navy lace dress the Duchess wore in Canada, but that works as a day dress partly because it doesn’t have those features.

        • That’s a fair point, although there are a lot of sheer and lace tops about at the moment which feature a slip-dress underneath in styles more closely related to lingerie. So much that used to be worn underneath has come out on display these days I find myself hard-pressed to keep up. I’ve never really cottoned on to showing off bra-straps for instance :-/

  52. Beautiful colour, but the high neck doesn’t work for me.

  53. loved the dress, shoes, purple my favorite color…clutch truly awful!!!!!!

  54. It is pretty dressy for a daytime event, but not unheard of when there is a visiting dignitary of his level. I don’t love lace in this color because I think it looks heavy, especially in the arms. My real quibble is with the fit of the dress. We will probably see it again, by which time I hope she has the skirt taken in a bit.

  55. Am I the only surprised that she wore a dark lace dress to a daytime event? Seems much more like cocktail attire to me.

    • I agree – beautiful color, and I adore those shoes, but this look says “evening” to me as well.

    • I agree.

    • As do I. I think Madame Peng was more appropriately attired. It didn’t have to be, as a comment below suggested, a black business suit, but it could have been a brightly colored business suit, or an aubergine non-lace dress. As it was, Kate looked strangely overdressed for a daytime business event.

  56. Wrong, wrong, wrong. It’s a morning event. It’s a business event. It calls for a suit or a dress. I think it’s a fine looking dress for a reception or a dinner. Who advises her on these things?

    • One longstanding guideline of royal dress is that royal women are meant to stand out in the crowd not blend in. The Queen always chooses bright and vibrant colors just for this reason. A black business suit such as all the other women seem to be wearing would have meant that Kate would have blended and been difficult to spot in the group–a royal no-no.
      As for the lace, the trend has very much become part of daywear and has added some femininity to traditional day attire and the cut of the dress suits the occasion.

    • Politely disagree… This is a day dress and nothing about it says “cocktail”. Catherine loves lace dresses and this state visit is incredibly formal. Very appropriate and beautiful look, in my opinion.

      • Agree 100%

      • Agree! Heck, who lays down rules or codes about these things any more these days?! We’ve gone from heroin chic to attic chic on the runways and I’d say a great classic like the D&G Lace Guipure was a pretty sober choice.

        • It was not a day at the office, this event was theatre and film – a glamour event and for me the dress was great. The only thing I didn’t like was the clutch, but would have liked to see the colours all in real life – colours on monitors can throw up differently so perhaps it looks worse on the monitors than in actuality.

          • Agree with you about vagaries of viewing colours on monitors et al, and that’s before we take in lighting factors in the original photograph. We are at the mercy of cyber-trickery!

    • I agree. It’s a beautiful dress and I love this color on the Duchess, but it’s absolutely a cocktail dress, NOT a daytime dress at all. When I saw the photos, I was sure that they were on their way to a dinner or cocktail reception. This is not business attire.

  57. I absolutely loved today’s look! That dress is absolutely to die for and she looked stunning. The color is rich and very in right now. I will say I am very surprised to see her wearing such a major luxury label. Nothing against it, just unheard of thus far. I guess big visit means big dress. All in all I love the look. Hair, make up, dress, shoes were all on point and Kate looked the perfect hostess. If I may, I wanted to comment on Madame Peng’s outfit choices. I’ve very much enjoyed her ensembles as well. I love the unique and sharp tailoring of her suits, but the classic lady like-ness of them at the same time. She wears somber colors yet still stands out with the tailoring and cuts.

    • YES!!!! Agree 100%

    • I’ve been reading this blog for quite a while but seldom comment. Your comment captured all my thoughts except for the embarrassing squeal I let out when I saw the words “Dolce and Gabbana” in the headline.

    • I’ve been wondering which labels Madame Peng is using, her outfits are wonderful. That navy blue last night — fabulous tailoring. I fear any What Madame Peng Wore page might be in Mandarin :-(

    • I agree 100%! Major win for me! I guess this dress is polarizing as so many of these comments seem to be calling it a ‘miss’ due to the strapless lace combination. While I understand that point of view I have to think that the many diplomats and staff members who conferred over appropriate fashion choices know better than us. To me it is logical that the Chinese would appreciate a glamorous, over dressed princess in a luxury brand and that this would have been communicated to Kate. So in this case I choose to accept that quirk of the Chinese as a win for me because she looks beautiful! I think if we could read Mandarin we’d see lots of press for the glamorous Princess for this one!

      I also wanted to agree about Madame Peng! I have loved her clothing for just the same reasons.

      NOTE: Quick edit by admin

  58. I love the color of the dress; I thought it looked really nice on the Duchess and I hope she wears the color more often. I know she likes lace dresses (who doesn’t) but for some reason I think she should’ve gone for a different type of dress, the lace just seemed too formal for a mid-morning engagement…maybe it’s just me.

  59. I’m sighing with pleasure over the color of this dress (it reminds me of the plum-colored “Zarita” dress that Diane von Furstenberg was offering last year), and I love the slender lines. I’ve always admired D&G’s silhouettes, though sometimes their fabrics have been a bit too fussy for my tastes. This dress looks as though it’s been expertly tailored, so the fit is superb.

    However, I’m on record as not caring for the all-lace look, and I really question it for a daytime event, especially given the see-through effect of the upper bodice and arms. The cut of the dress is basically quite conservative, which offsets all the lace and transparency, but I really think it would have been more suitable for an evening event that didn’t call for a long gown.

    The Duchess’s hair is starting to look rather too long and heavy, so I hope we’re not about to see a return of the dreaded ringlets.

    • I’d forgotten you don’t like the all-over lace look. I fear I’ve done an about-turn on this one as I suppose I must have decided Kate likes it, she’s going to wear it and I may as well get used to it.

      Now it seems I can mange to like it. But I’m right with you on the ringlets, please may she avoid them at all costs!

  60. I like the dress but I think another color would have suited Kate better like emerald green

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