Mar 112016
 

For today’s engagement with urban youth charity XL Mentoring the Duchess wore a design by a label new to her wardrobe, Eponine London.

©Jeff Moore / Splash News

©Jeff Moore / Splash News

XL Mentoring works with vulnerable young people ages 11-18. Today William and Kate listened as young people shared stories of dealing with homelessness, violence on many levels (gang involvement, knife crimes) and issues with family.

Kensington Palace Twitter (@KensingtonRoyal)

Kensington Palace Twitter (@KensingtonRoyal)

Many of the stories were harrowing. From Richard Palmer’s story in The Express:

They also‎ heard Sefton Henry, 27, from Greenwich, south east London, describe his life of crime and homelessness before meeting one of the charity’s mentors and turning things around. He now trains Scotland Yard police officers and others on dealing with gangs.

“I’m an ex-gang member. I spent, like 19 years or 18 years in it,” he said, describing his time sleeping on other people’s sofas.

“I have been in prison seven different times. I’ve been shot at. I’ve been stabbed. I’ve been bricked, I’ve been bottled, I’ve been run over.”

Below, XL Mentoring founder Patrick Regan, OBE.

Victoria Murphy, The Mirror (@QueenVicMirror)

Victoria Murphy, The Mirror (@QueenVicMirror)

The Duke and Duchess also heard success stories from those who have been mentored by XLP.

©Frank Augstein/WPA Rota/Nunn Syndication/Polaris

©Frank Augstein/WPA Rota/Nunn Syndication/Polaris

Victoria Murphy’s story in The Mirror quotes founder Patrick Regan:

Patrick said about William and Kate: “I know that the Duke and Duchess are very keen to try and understand what the issues are, I know they are very interested in issues around young people’s mental health.

“It’s really important that the future King has an understanding of what life is really like for a lot of young people today.”

The couple’s first engagement with XL Mentoring was in March of last year.

XLP Facebook Page

XLP Facebook Page

There was also levity at today’s function. More from The Telegraph:

…founder and chief executive officer Patrick Regan told the audience how the Cambridges had visited some of the charity’s projects last year and saw the organisation’s mobile recording studio set-up in a former police van.

The van was featured on the MTV show Pimp My Ride in 2008 and was transformed into the studio, proving a popular attraction with young people.

When the charity’s founder asked “anyone seen the programme Pimp My Ride?” there was laughter and a number of people put their hands up, as did William who chuckled.

Frank Augstein/WPA Rota/Nunn Syndication/Polaris

Frank Augstein/WPA Rota/Nunn Syndication/Polaris

Now to what Kate wore for today’s engagement, a skirt suit by Eponine London. The label was founded by designer Jet Shenkman, originally a personal stylist who launched the company because of her love for designs from the 50s and 60s.

©Stephen Lock / i-Images

©Stephen Lock / i-Images

Kate’s A-line skirt features box pleats and side tabs; the top showcases a boat neck with belt detail at the front.

©Splash News

©James Whatling, Splash/Jeff Moore, Spalsh/Jeff Moore, Splash

The suit as shown at Eponine London’s website.

Eponine London

Eponine London

The checkered fabric is a cotton/viscose blend. (But if you would like the suit in another material it’s not a problem, as Eponine offers customers the choice of a variety of couture fabrics for its designs.) Emma Spedding has a wonderful Telegraph Fashion piece about Eponine and Kate’s suit.

“For me that was a real representation of the 60s mod era,” Shenkman says of the inspiration behind the suit. “One of the details you probably can’t see on the photographs is it’s got a silver-coloured, sort of, crocodile trim both on the yolk and the insides of the little belts.

Eponine London via The Telegraph

Eponine London via The Telegraph

The suit retails at £1200, about $1700. A closer look at design details.

©i-Images/Splash News

©i-Images/Splash News

The brand was founded in 2012. If you are wondering about the origins of the company’s name, this profile of Ms. Shenkman in Country and Town House has the explanation.

My family is obsessed with Les Misérables, the musical, and our favourite character is Eponine. She is a lively tomboy, full of courage and determination. My children insisted we’d call my new adventure after her. 

The spring/summer color palette is described as being focused on “….bright clashing colours; red, orange and pinks as well as prints and textures.” The handmade trims used in the s/s line have been sourced from the Hmong Hill tribe in Chiang Mai, where Ms. Shenkman has traveled.

Eponine London

Eponine London

It’s delightful seeing the Duchess in a new British label, especially one with such a distinctive design aesthetic. Below, two s/s designs and a piece from the a/w 2015 collection (the blue in the center).

Eponine London

Eponine London

The company uses textiles from a UK-based mill. Below, some of the tweeds from last fall’s collection. Ms. Shenkman is 3rd from the left.

Eponine London Instagram

Eponine London Instagram

For those of us fond of mid-century fashion silhouettes, textiles and embellishment it’s a treat to learn about the brand. Three more s/s 2016 designs.

Eponine London

Eponine London

Any of the brand’s pieces can  be tailored to a client’s wishes. And while some designs are available for ordering online, Ms. Shenkman prefers the made-to-order end of the business. Back to The Telegraph story:

…the main focus for her label is made-to-measure custom pieces. “I like that with each client you get that very individual collaboration. What we do is pretty unique and every woman is given a lot of attention. We take the finished product so seriously, we really do. If it’s not perfect someone has to come back for another fitting,” she says.

Below left, sketches and swatches from last fall’s collection; below right, a classic 1966 Dior suit and hat. Kate’s suit is somewhat reminiscent of the red and white houndstooth look.

Eponine London Instagram

Eponine London Instagram

There were comments today referencing a similarity between Kate’s look and styles worn by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. While this is true, comparisons can be made to many fashionable women sporting the timeless mid-century designs. They were, and remain, outstanding styles.

©JFK Library/i-Images/Wiki Media

©JFK Library/i-Images/Wiki Media

The Duchess accessorized with her Gianvito Rossi Suede Pumps ($670).

©Jeff Moore/Splash News

©Jeff Moore/Splash News

The shoes have a pointed toe and 4″ heel.

My Theresa

My Theresa

She carried her Muse clutch by Stuart Weitzman for Russell and Bromley.

©Stephen Lock/i-Images

©Stephen Lock/i-Images

Kate also wore her Kiki McDonough pink morganite earrings.

©James Whatling/Splash News

©James Whatling/Splash News

Laura of StyleBuzzUK was kind enough to share these photos of the Duke and Duchess as they left the engagement today, you get a sense of the skirt’s drape and movement in the pictures.

@Laura_StyleBuzzUK Twitter

@Laura_StyleBuzzUK Twitter

And a final look, Kate is chatting with Mr. Regan as she leaves today’s engagement.

©Splash News

©Splash News

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Also today, another engagement has been added to Kate’s Calendar:

  • Friday, March 18 the Duchess will do her first public engagement for EACH (East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices) in more than a year, officially opening the new EACH store in Holt. This will bring the number of EACH retail locations throughout the East Anglia area to 20. The shops offer everything from clothing and accessories to tools and books, all donated to the charity. Last year the stores generated £700,00 for EACH. For a list of all store locations click here. Next Friday Kate will tour the new shop, meet volunteers and staff, as well as spending time with families and EACH supporters. The Duchess has been patron of EACH since January 2012.

The updated Calendar reflects the removal of our reference to Kate’s hoped-for appearance at the Irish Guards on St. Patrick’s Day. Today the Palace confirmed William will be solo at that engagement this year.

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  83 Responses to “Kate In Retro-Inspired Skirt Suit by Eponine London for Teen Mentoring Engagement”

  1. I can’t get enough gingham…I love the material and color of this suit (as far as I can tell from my computer screen). However, I don’t think it’s the best fit for the Duchess. She seems always having trouble with skirt suits, particularly on top…It would be more retro and interesting if this was a one piece and straighter cut.

  2. Wow. She looks Jackie O. You can’t take your eyes off her. She looks young and very well put together. More of this please

  3. It’s fun and it’s different-yeah!! And she looks better than the model in it- double yeah for her. As I always feel the shoes are a disappointment. And the earrings are so wrong- why not her pearl drops or a something gold with some weight to go with the heaviness of the fabric.

  4. I love the silhouette, but the fabric pattern reminds me too much of a picnic tablecloth. Not my favourite look on her!

  5. I LOVE this! I feel like maybe Kate favors the color red? This more muted red looks really nice; she looks put together but young and fun and yet she isn’t screaming ‘look at me” like that bright red coat she has (ugh). I miss the shorter hair! But her hair does look nice this way, too.

    Some have mentioned the shoes. Yeah, she could have gone with something more fun but this is Kate. She tends to favor safe choices for better or worse. These heels are fine. Not amazing but fine. The outfit is amazing which is enough for me!

  6. I love the Duchess’ hair and makeup in these pics. I think the work that she and William are doing for mental health is fantastic, but I do not think the same about this outfit. I agree with several other posters that it looks too juvenile and that the four buttons so close together on the top and bottom are odd. But the thing that I dislike most can be seen in shots from the DM where she is walking away from the camera—there is an odd and lumpy line inside the skirt midway between her waist and fanny going all the way across the back. It looks like the bulge/line you get if you tuck a very thick sweater or top into thin pants, but surely she didn’t have a top tucked into this skirt and if she did have, I assume it would be a thin silky camisole or etc, so I have no idea what is actually causing this but it is not acceptable on a $1000+ bespoke garment. I think the skirt might have looked great with a plain white tailored blouse but with the jacket it is just too much in my opinion.

  7. By the way, I wonder if this engagement officially marks The End of The Fringe? :)

    • I can’t remember the last time her hair looked this good. It always looks shiny and healthy, but this style really suits her. LOVE IT

  8. Adorable suit, I love it! Looks great on her, very young and fun. However, Kate’s choice of black shoes and clutch kill the aesthetic. Some slingbacks in a different color and with a lower heel, and a small handbag so that she could keep her arms at her sides, would have worked better.

    • I completely agree with this! I understood the clutch clutched in front in the early days, but Kate has been around long enough to be comfortable with her arms by her side. I also love the idea of a cute pair of sling backs – they would really make the outfit sing!

      • I agree about the shoes and the clutch. Although I don’t like the outfit, a lower heel that was a bit more casual would have looked better….perhaps even in red. As for her clutch purses, if I were meeting the public and shaking hands as she is, I’d want me hands to be free. I’d wear a small purse with a shoulder strap. You can get shoulder bags that are fun and dressy. And actually, when it comes down to it, Kate doesn’t even need a purse. She doesn’t need to carry money or a driver’s licence, or keys. A comb and lipstick could be carried by her assistant.

  9. I’m in the “I love this look” column. In many ways it reminds me of clothing my mother wore back in the 60s. I’ve read several comments about Catherine’s lack of variation in her shoes or the lack of “fun” factor. Quite honestly, I agree that she keeps in mind her position, but I also think she wears what she likes, what she wants to wear. I would do the same. If I liked conservative, suede heels, that’s what I would wear. They look nice with everything and don’t detract from the clothing/style/color/lines. I was quite surprised that she never wore those shoes that won the design contest some years back. It would’ve been a huge compliment to the winner, but that’s when it occurred to me that within the scope of her public position, she still manages to be herself. I admire that.

    • I forgot she didn’t win the contest winner’s shoes – I thought that was part of the deal! They were super cool and would have been a good chance for her to branch out in a wholly acceptable and understandable manner.

  10. Okay, admittedly, I’m a huge fan of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Her style as First Lady remains timeless, so I’d love to see more of this type of look on the Duchess! Catherine looks regal, classic and ladylike. She stands out. The tailoring and structure of this darling little suit by Eponine London do a lot for her! This one’s a winner, in my book.

    I’d have liked a different shoe (contrary to popular belief, black pumps simply do NOT go with everything.)

    Hope to see this ensemble repeated, maybe with a little hat next time?? Fingers crossed!

  11. Dress choice is okay. But she desperately needs a concealer and fresh bright lip color. Her hair needs to be coiffed too.

    • WOWS!! Really??? And why exactly should she be wearing a darker lipstick and more coiffed hair???

      • Have you looked at unphotoshopped pictures of her from this event? That’s why.

        • I completely agree, and I have mentioned it before re: her makeup. She doesn’t (nor need to) go as far as massive Hollywood style contouring but the makeup game needs help.

          As for as the hair she’s young (my age) and as she gets older there will be more than enough time for helmet hair. As long as she lets it get a little longer (or for gosh sakes just cut it to a chic bob/lob) and finds a darn straightener she’s fine.

          The dress is ugly though and if it makes the model look hip-wide it sure as heck isn’t going to make anyone look good who isn’t waif thin. And the black shoes MUST GO.

          • I love her to death but agree 110% with everything you said. She needs a stylist with more experience or something to help with these finishing touches detailing that is getting overlooked.

  12. yes the suit looks great on Kate though I really don’t like the pattern/colour! Maybe Kate will get another colour/pattern as the designer customises. The style looks beautiful on her & I don’t understand why the designer didn’t just make this a dress! One must be very thin like Kate to look good in this – no wonder the designer likes to customise – even the tall model looks fat in this! I like it very much (in another pattern/shade) but without those hip-belts (except on Kate!

    • I agree with you that this would be better as a dress.

    • It looks to me as though Kate has had this suit meticulously tailored. On the model the jacket rests on the hips, even creating a little rumple in the cloth at the waist in the back. Kate’s jacket does not do this, which is much more flattering. Customized tailoring makes most clothes look better, as no two people are the same!

  13. This outfit needs more interesting jewelry and different shoes. For the most part, Kate only goes for certain styles of shoes no matter what the outfit. But when the dress/suit is such a departure from the rest of one’s wardrobe then a new pair of shoes more compatible with the new style is needed. A bold print and style of dress like this one also needs some bolder jewelry. Like her shoes, Kate’s jewelry tends toward the overly formal and semi-precious or precious stones. That doesn’t work for all occasions or outfits.

    I actually think of the Queen when I see the dress. Not the style but the fabric and colors. The Queen wears a lot of bold colors in tweedy-like or nubby-like fabrics like this one. It photographs well because the styling is impeccable and fits Kate perfectly.

    Kudos to her for trying a new look.

  14. Absolutely fabulous, to borrow a phrase. I love it. Reminds me of an outfit Ann Marie,That Girl, wore during the series. Those clothes were wonderful just as this dress is and Kate looks wonderful wearing this style.

  15. What a treat to see the Duchess in a bright fresh color. Also in a different fit! Im glad she is switching it up. I agree that she looks much better in the outfit than the model. I do wish she would wear a V neck and not so many high neck dresses. What a dream to choose outfits for occasions that everyone will discuss later. It must be a favorite part of her life. I look forward to the things she chooses for her upcoming tour. She looks so beautiful in everything!

  16. This is the most interesting thing she’s worn in a LONG time. Finally something not so boring!

  17. This is the first outfit in a while that I’ve gasped upon first glance, “Oh, I LOVE that!” Color, fabric, lines, faux belt…it just looks to me like a classic, timeless piece and so flattering on her. The color is fresh, and I thought of the pattern as “textured” whereas others thought “gingham.” No matter, I personally didn’t find it juvenile, but more interesting than a solid would have been.

    I will say that I did not initially see the buttons on the hips (her arms and clutch were blocking them in the photo), and while I don’t dislike them, I think the look is cleaner and more classic without. Also, I was dreaming of how I might somehow make or find a similar look for myself, but when I saw the photos of the model I wondered, “Would this outfit make me look fat?” It looks great on Kate, but not sure how it would look on me…I wasn’t impressed with how it looked on the model.

    I find it so interesting that we all seem to either love or hate this outfit. It’s wonderful to see people’s critiques and praises and the reasons why. Thanks for sharing.

    • I don’t thiink the model has a figure quite like Kate’s which of us has? – and I think the effect is worsened by teaming the suit with those flats. Some of us have to be wary of flats that can lead to Fat Ankle Syndrome!

      • Good points! I am not overweight…in fact, I am “average” everything (height, weight, measurements)…and it appears the model is too. Also, like the model, I have to wear flats due to orthopedic problems, and yes, I manifest Fat Ankle Syndrome! Oh well…I love the look on Kate!

        • In my case I have to watch out as I have no ankles at all, just feet stuck on the end of legs :-/ Shame cos I could really use the missing extra inches! The model’s figure is fine, I think it’s just the way this outfit looks on her shorter waist and with the flat shoes

  18. This was a stellar pick for Kate, and goes straight on to my own list of all-time favourites. What an interesting label to discover although some of the more quirky designs may not suit Kate. Some of the s/s prints look to have potential for India if the fabrics aren’t too heavy

    I love the fabric on this outfit which looks textured and more tweedy than cotton gingham. The top and skirt ensemble must be super-comfy to work in. The front box pleats are just right, not too much fabric which can make skirts hang badly when the back is kept plain.

    Kate looks to be wearing the whole suit better than the model whose reverse view looks quite chunky while the front is a bit cluttered. Kate’s long waist has helped no end in giving a longer line to the midriff and more space between the belt details. It’s fresh and modern and all done within the kind of classic lines Kate loves. The colour looks very well on Kate, the earrings are perfect, and black accessories just right.

  19. Overall I really liked this look. It was nice to see something a little bit different from the usual shape of dress she normally wears. I’m not sure about these earrings, but other than that I like it.

  20. I’m not sure I like this outfit. Although I understand it echos another era, it still comes across as stiff and dated. Also one would have to be incredibly thin ( as Kate is ) to carry off the heaviness of the fabric and the pleats of the skirt. It doesn’t even look good on the model. Alright, now that I got all that negativity out of the way I will say I applaud The Duchess for trying something new in style and out of her comfort zone.

  21. Love the outfit! Nice to see Kate in something a bit different. I still just can’t stand her hair though… Shame Kate will miss the Irish parade, I thought that was one of her main duties handing out the shamrocks. Bit sad really

  22. Gingham print+springy colour+structure=a win for me

  23. I love this outfit! It’s classic and classy, reminded me of something Betty Draper would wear in Mad Men. Kate looks stunning today.

    • I agree! Looks like it came straight from the set of Mad Men and I’m loving it. I would love to see her wear more from this label. She wears retro designs well, and they fulfill the conservative requirements of her working wardrobe while not appearing frumpy or matronly.

  24. I LOVE this outfit. Y’all cansay it’s juvenile but I just love the big skirt (I love big pleated skirts!) and the top is great and the pattern is awesome. I think the top and bottom would be even better if we saw them in outfits separately. I think a lot of commenters have a big issue with the pattern because it’s a lot of checker with not a lot of solid.

    Personally, being someone who LOVES novelty print and 50/60 cuts, I love this. (You don’t want to know the sheer volume of novelty 50s full-skirted dresses I have. I belong in a different era, okay.) That red short-sleeved dress is beyond cute. I’d love it. Imagine how much grander it would be with a petticoat. O.O

  25. I really like this suit. The only thing I’m not especially fond of is the double-belt look — the buttons on the skirt with the belt on the jacket. I’d prefer the skirt without buttons, I think.

    I often share Lili’s view of gingham — hard to think of it as clothing instead of curtains — but somehow here it works for me. As much as I don’t usually like prints that don’t exactly match up, I find I really like the way the checks are set diagonally on the belt. Makes it more interesting somehow.

    A really nice look, I think, and it really stands out in the room.

  26. I like this new designer. The clothes are very nice, very different and the Duchess looks amazing. I also love the dress pictured in the photo next to the Hmong ladies. It’s excellent. As for the suit, I’m having trouble understanding why some here think it’s “juvenile.” It’s classic 60s style and very sophisticated. I hope she continues to wear this designer.

  27. I appreciate the effort to wear something bright and colorful but this fabric is not a good choice. The lines of the suit are great but the jacket looks like it is a little baggy on her in the bust and torso. I do not.like how it stands away from the skirt.
    The fabric is just too much, in a solid color or a printed jacket with a solid skirt might have worked for me but not a matching set.
    I love a retro vibe but she needs to follow it up with retro shoes and accessories as well.
    I am liking her hair right now, not too short, not too long, it is a nice length.
    I think the color would have come off much better in person.
    Looking forward to St Pat’s, hoping for a new coat, hat and shoes.

  28. whoa — really quite hideous in my opinion

  29. She looks nice, but… Knowing that this is a made to order suit that costs over $1000, I’m not a fan. I think Catherine likes this silhouette, and it is generally flattering to her, but the fitted waist and A-line skirt look much better as a dress on her than as separates. With the cropped jacket’s hem floating away from her body, I would rather a straight skirt. Jackie Kennedy’s red suit is much more appealing to me, an impeccable and flattering fit. I think this pleated skirt would look better with a tucked in blouse or sweater, like the looks she wore as editor and in Scotland recently.

  30. I love this fresh and pretty suit. Perfect for spring!

    And I enjoyed the photos of Jackie Kennedy. What a beauty she was, and she certainly earned the title of fashion icon.

    I think fashionable women have a gift for choosing what flatters them most and ignoring the rest. They follow no one, but create their own look.

  31. UGH! She needs to lose those heels! Have fun with your shoes Duchess! The outfit is cute and kicky…but I think there may be two too many buttons.

  32. The skirt, yes; the jacket, yes; the skirt and jacket, no no no. This looks like a costume to me.

  33. Agree. Timeless perfection and a great look to welcome spring. I do not find it juvenile, but rather find it refreshing. I also think the outfit looks substantially better on the DoC than on the designer’s own model.

  34. I love this outfit. It’s a nice departure from her usual fashion color palette. It’s perfect for spring. I’m also happy to see the Gianvito Rossi black suede pumps again. I’m glad the SW Power pumps got a break.

  35. Just back from a lovely Friday afternoon off and from scoring some fabulous clothing bargains in downtown Chicago, and here we’ve got a quite interesting new suit making its debut on the Duchess!

    I’m not gobsmacked by gingham checks, whether printed or woven, but I very much appreciate the retro-60s lines of this little suit, so I have to give it a hurrah! for creativity. However, I’ll add the qualification that it does border on the juvenile, its backwards references to Dior, Cassini, and Givenchy, among other designers of the era, notwithstanding. As a kindergartener in the mid-60s, I owned a little pink suit with identical lines (and with pink and white gingham trim), chosen by my mother. A year or two later, I wore the skirt with a white t-shirt and Keds and the jacket with jeans.

    Early fashion rebel.

    The Duchess does tend to go for little-girl designs more than I would like, and I think a sleek pencil skirt would have worked better. However, that’s because my body is simply not good at fitting into the 50s-60s designs with full, pleated, and A-line skirts, despite my great admiration for them. Fundamentally, the Duchess looks great in this suit, and it demonstrates, once again, how flattering strong, definite colors like red are to her, but it’s not a silhouette for me or many other women.

    It’s still a fun look. I checked out the Eponine website and saw very little I would wear, but there was a red coatdress to DIE for. A label to keep an eye on.

    • I have to politely disagree with your assessment that this suit’s lines are juvenile. I received a book as a child in the 1980′s from my grandmother. I believe it was a contemporary book called “What We Wore” and it covered children’s fashions from approximately the middle ages through the 1970′s. There was timeline graph included that showed the time periods when children’s fashions differed significantly from adult fashions of the same period, and conversely when children’s and adults were very, very similar. As I recall, the 1960′s was a decade where adult and children’s styles frequently overlapped and the lines between the two blurred.

      • Oh, I agree that adult clothing and children’s overlapped somewhat in that era. However, while children, teenagers, and adults might wear little pleated skirts, you also saw more sophisticated adult suits featuring the slim, pencil-style skirts that I prefer — as in the red suit worn by Jackie Kennedy in one of the pictures posted by the Admin.

        Moreover, the reality is that when adults do wear those pleated skirts, they look — and looked in the 60′s– rather childish; in fact, a certain kicky youthfulness was not unlikely to be the goal back then, for a variety of socio-historical reasons. They also have an unfortunate tendency to suggest school uniform skirts, of a type I had to wear for some years and would prefer, mercifully, to forget.

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one with childhood recollections of this style of outfit. My mother made me two such in the days when gingham was my standard summer school uniform. She cunningly side-stepped an actual strict gingham check having unearthed some textured white and green cotton from John Lewis which gave a similar effect. I was delighted. I was smart enough but still in something highly washable so playground activities not too inhibited, not least because of all the roomy pleats.

      It’s amusing to see gingham now picked up as a fashion when it used to a fabric which advertised economy much as broderie anglaise used to be a sort of cheaper lace

    • As a relic from the Jackie Kennedy era (I was a kid, but, anyway), I agree this outfit has a very girlish look. Jackie brought back the daywear slim skirts and shorter skirts in general, at least when she became a fashion icon. Slim suits never left altogether in the ’50s but they generally retained the calf-length postwar look for a long time, and you mostly see very full skirts in old magazines. Jackie was at the forefront of a transition from the poufiness of the ’50s, when fashion was sleeking down, and a few years later, the little girl look melded with the new style. This outfit, in fact, looks more like something Marlo Thomas would have worn in ‘That Girl,’ mid-to-late-’60s – a show we pre-teens watched religiously! (Corrections welcome – I am no fashion history expert, not this era – I know the 1920s best.)

      • Oh, I think you’ve nailed the general trends of the era. As an art historian who spends rather a lot of time on fashion history as revealed in centuries of paintings, I feel confident in saying that.

  36. I like it a lot, although I don’t think the check reads well on camera. It probably looks great in person. Gingham is very big for spring – check out the latest J. Crew catalog, it has tons of it.

    • Gingham is hot, that’s true, as I can attest, having been in Michigan Avenue’s J Crew store just this afternoon and having seen it paraded down a number of runways showcasing the Spring/Summer ’16 collections last fall.

      But I hope everyone gets over it — quickly.

      • The problem with gingham is that it’s a bit wearing on the eye. It can be fresh on a first outing but I can go a bit cross-eyed once it comes onstream everywhere.

        • But don’t you all think that since this material appears to be textured that it comes across more as a tweed than a gingham?

          • It’s a textured material in a gingham print. It doesn’t look tweedy to me. As for gingham, a little goes a long way — a shirt, flats, a scarf, a bag, all fine. An entire gingham outfit is a lot of gingham.

          • It appears to be a woven fabric but not a tweed, and it has a gingham effect. In other words, I don’t think it much matters what specific type of fabric it is; it looks like gingham.

          • I agree the effect is like gingham tho close-up it’s also like a houndstooth pattern but in an unusual colour. I think the texture helps break up the gingham monotony along with the belt details. It’s definitely fascinating!

  37. Love the outfit but how does the jacket close?? Can’t figure out from the pictures

    • There is a zipper on her left side showing in one of the pictures.

    • I don’t think it is a ‘jacket’ in that sense – just a very structured top.

      I like the look, but think it would be even better in a pencil skirt.

  38. I really like this outfit– great to see a fun new brand! It’s a professional, but lighthearted look for the Duchess. Definitely hoping to see this one repeated!

  39. Love the suit! So sad she won’t be there for St. Patrick’s Day. It’s one of my favorite of her fashion displays.

  40. Absolutely love the outfit! The colour, the fit, the style are all fabulous. Absolutely hate the shoes. Kate simply does not have a posture to pull off these heels. The higher the heel gets the worse her posture gets. 3 inch rise is about the max she can do without looking stooped. I do wish she would find something other than clunky wedges and spikey black heels.

    • Her posture is quite good here. She isn’t stooped here like you think she is. If you want me to be quite technical, she’s leaning a bit too far backwards. From her head down to her legs, she should be a straight line. However, when you wear heels all of the balance goes to your toes, most women counteract this by arching their back (some more than others) which causes the head to push too far forward, like you see with Kate.

      As I’ve said before, if you’ve lived your life never sitting and standing properly (which is 90% of everyday people), it’s very difficult to stay that way all day. Even for me–who has been wired to sit and stand straight due to physical and occupation therapy as a kid, ballet and now horseback riding–I cannot sit and stand straight all day every day. It’s a lot of weight on your spinal column. I lean back in a chair for a good 30 minutes to an hour every day to give my back a rest.

  41. I like retro-inspired designs, but this is overkill for me. The pleats look very juvenile and the print reminds me of a picnic table. Not a winner.

    • I so agree with you, Susan. I feel gingham looks immature on anyone over the age of say, eight. Although Kate can look very sophisticated at times, she also seems too drawn to the “little girl” look. There is nothing I like about this outfit. In fact, there is nothing I like about the entire Eponine collection. To compare this look to Jackie O’s styles is a joke. Jackie would never have been caught in anything as silly as gingham and boxy pleats.

      • If you Google “Jackie Kennedy gingham,” you’ll see her in gingham and a boxy pleated skirt.

      • A quick google search shows me that Jackie wore both box pleats and gingham…

        • Well, to be fair, Jackie Kennedy wore gingham in things like casual cotton and linen summer dresses, which is where it belongs.

          She did wear box pleats in woolen skirt suits, but I don’t recall ever seeing a picture of her in a gingham suit with a box-pleated skirt. I could be wrong, but I once put together a lecture on “public figure uniforms” and took a close look at the Jackie Kennedy fashion exhibition that the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art mounted in 2001. I can’t recall a gingham suit of any kind.

          As ElizaMo has said, this suit isn’t gingham, strictly speaking; it’s similar to a houndstooth fabric, though in an unusual color. Still, the effect is of gingham. I repeat that I’m not crazy about it, but the checks are very tiny, and I’m not criticizing as much as my original posts may have suggested. It’s interesting and fun, just not my style.

      • You know who would have worn this? Princess Anne, circa 1970.

        • Brenda, your comment cracked me up. Princess Anne is a hard worker and a good contributor to the projects of the Royal Family, but fashion sense often escapes her. This could have been what Anne wore 45–50 years ago. It would not have been great then and it certainly isn’t great now. The top with a plain red or black skirt, could work. Or the skirt with a plain top might be okay. But an entire gingham outfit is just too much. It makes me dizzy.

  42. I absolutely LOVE this outfit. Fresh, stylish, professional and just enough of a change to the design from the 1960s to make the silhouette more modern. The crop top is all the rage this spring and one of the “must have” trends of spring 2016. Kate absolutely hit a homerun with this one.

  43. It’s definitely not a look I would have expected the Duchess to wear – which is refreshing! The problem I have with this look is the placement of the buttons. They draw the eye to the most unflattering parts of the body. And the top of the suit cuts the body off at the worst place.You have be absolutely thin and narrow in order to pull this off. That said, I’m excited to see the Duchess gravitate towards designers that are more whimsical and fun, rather than the boring LK Bennett.

    • I agree about the buttons. Strange locations, and also find it odd that the two sets sit so close to one another when there’s all those vast swaths of unadorned fabric over the rest of it.

      I really do love the box pleats on that skirt, though. Great lines.

  44. Classic, timeless perfection.

  45. Gorgeous outfit! Loved every aspect of the suit, and loved the sleeve length! I adore it! Kate looked stunning from head to toe!

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