May 032016

The much-discussed British Vogue centenary issue with Kate on the cover became available today in some parts of the world. In an effort to keep tomorrow’s coverage of Kate’s engagements  from becoming overly long, we have a quick overview about the story and what Kate wore. (Some of which we covered Saturday.)

British Vogue

British Vogue

On the cover Kate wears:

Editor Alexandra Shulman wrote the article that accompanies the photos. In the piece she talks about her longterm desire to have the Duchess on the cover of the magazine.

Like every other editor in the world…I had approached her and been turned away, politely but firmly. Nonetheless, when it came to our centenary issue…I approached her again. This time there was a new connection…the National Portrait Gallery.

British Vogue/Petite Bateau/Burberry

Because of the Portrait Gallery’s plans to host an exhibit showing 100 British Vogue covers, and Kate’s role as patron of the NPG, Ms. Shulman thought there might be hopes for a cover story with the Duchess. It turns out she was right. In her article the editor notes the relaxed atmosphere during the day spent outside on the Sandringham estate; Kate arrived wearing a “parka, jeans and big rollers” in her hair.

It was very clear from the outset these pictures were to be of the woman herself rather than of a figurehead, and they would be as informal as possible. The Duchess liked the idea of being photographed in the countryside, and she wanted the pictures to reflect an element of her private existence.  

British Vogue/Burberry/7 for all Mankind

British Vogue/Burberry/7 for all Mankind

There is more background on the shoot itself in Ms. Shulman’s story; it notes that Kate “sifted through the clothes on the rails, laughing at some of the options.” Other tidbits:

  • Kate was “cheerful and incredibly patient throughout the day – constantly asking if we were happy with what we were getting.”
  • “She didn’t want to be dressed as a fashion plate and was not keen to be shot in gala gowns and tiaras.”
Josh Olins/British Vogue, Cabbages & Roses

Josh Olins/British Vogue, Cabbages & Roses

In the story Alexandra Shulman says that while everyone was bundled to combat the cold January temps Kate “…posed uncomplaining, often in a thin cotton shirt.”

AG/British Vogue/Dune London

AG/British Vogue/Dune London

In the monthly ‘Field Notes’ section of the magazine photographer Josh Olins is quoted:

You’d imagine a centenary shoot being so extravagant, but it was all wellingtons…and sausage rolls. The day before the Duchess popped in with her kids to look at the clothes rails, and had a cup of tea.

Lupo was more than welcome at the shoot; below you see Mr. Olins photographing Kate as she plays with the family’s cocker spaniel.

British Vogue

British Vogue

The photos have generated substantial online discussion about what Kate is wearing, especially the overalls and the palazzo-cut jeans. Some are wondering if these are styles we should expect to see Kate wearing in the future; I don’t think so. Kate recognizes the broad distance between editorial content in a high fashion magazine like Vogue, and RTW (ready to wear) designs we all buy off the rack. There can be an enormous space between those two points, as seen with these Vogue pictures. The magazine’s content is meant to be transportative to some degree, taking us all to some not-quite-real fashion planet where we might imagine ourselves wearing the designer dresses, breathtaking jewelry and incredible accessories shown in the glossy pages or online imagery. But here in the real world I think The Duchess is devoted to her skinny jeans, wedges and other items unlikely to be covered in current fashion magazines.

British Vogue goes on sale in the US and most other countries Thursday. For those looking to purchase a hard copy of the magazine I would try Barnes and Noble and/or your local independent bookstore. Another option is Newsstand UK (although I don’t know where they will ship) or Magazine Cafe. Following are a few places where it can be purchased online:

Many thanks to The Sun’s Emily Andrews for sharing some pictures of the Vogue article, it was very helpful in trying to identify what Kate wears in the magazine.  We’ll see you tomorrow for Kate’s engagements.

NOTE: The post has been updated to correct errors about the Cabbages and Roses shirt; the company is British, and not based in New Zealand as originally stated.


  38 Responses to “Kate Says Goodbye to Skinny Jeans & Hello to Overalls in British Vogue Shoot”

  1. hello there,
    i’m french and the right answer is “petit bateau” and not “petite bateau” ;)
    Petit Bateau means literally “Little Boat” in English

    congratulations for What Kate Wore, it’s very useful!

  2. I have to agree with many here and I’m disappointed with this shoot. First of all, the pictures barely look like her. Second of all, while I appreciate that she wants to look like a ‘normal’ girl, the fact is – she’s a royal, not a farmer! I mean, overall pants? Seriously? The fashion choices are just not flattering at all. This could (and should) have been so much better.

  3. Oh dear, if these are the jeans styles we can expect to show up in stores in the next few years, I need to stock up on skinnies!! I am really not a fan of the wide leg style and I think it even looks silly on Kate. That said, I know it is meant to be a fashion shoot and I think she does a great job conveying the country look she was going for. I love the plaid shirts and the cashmere sweater is lovely too. The photo with the Cabbages and Roses shirts is one of my favourite of the shoot.

  4. glad to see someone convinced her to get her makeup professionally done. Brows are “in” now, so she got brows. But best of all, no black rimmed eyes.

  5. I don’t like the clothes she’s wearing at all-any of them. I don’t subscribe to “high” fashion magazines, but if I’m getting my hair colored or am at a dentist appointment, etc., I will always pick up a copy, thumb through it, and shake my head at the incongruity of the clothing. Nevertheless, it is always fun to look. Catherine, as many have said, can look beautiful in a burlap sack, and beyond that, I love the photos because she looks so happy and natural. The eyebrow thing doesn’t bother me at all because if you look back at photos of her young years, she looks more like her “real” self. She is confident and joyful.
    Just a comment on the wide-leg pants: The fashion industry obviously dictates these things, but as I have been around for many decades(!), I always think it’s interesting that most people balk at the wide legs and eventually buy in, yet when the straight and narrow (pun intended) come back, most sigh in relief. Actually, the best silhouette is a very slight flair at the bottom of a pant leg to balance things out.
    FYI, I ordered from Magazine Café, so thank you, Susan, for the tip!

  6. Thanks for the link darling, just ordered my copy! Can’t wait to see it in person!!

  7. I love, love, love the photo of her and Lupo! But the great hair, classic shirt and jeans, outdoors, and family pet seemed hauntingly familiar. And then it hit me! Those lovely, black-and-white photos of a laid back Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy and the couple’s dog, Friday, taken by Bruce Weber for September 1999′s Vanity Fair issue featuring her as “The Private Princess.” Interesting, how two women, with quite a few similarities, chose to present themselves on their first cover in a similar way.

  8. It’s not a look I could pull off (the wide leg) but Catherine looks classy and comfortable. It’s nice to see her casual but not in the skinny jeans/wedges we are used to seeing.

  9. Love the photos. Especially the one with the Breton stripe shirt, looking off in the distance. I think they made her eyebrows look like 2 caterpillars, but other than that, I like it.

    I’d like to see her wear pants that fit the way the pants on the overalls fit. That’s a more attractive, more grown-up look than the skinnies she wears.

  10. It sounds like I’m in the minority but I LOVE the power brows, the overalls, the entire shoot. I’ve been waiting and wishing for a Kate Vogue cover since she married William! While the brows are definitely a departure from the norm for her, they make her look very model-esque. Very Cara Delevingne. The overalls show off her lean, long figure (a figure that is very impressive post-two children!). She looks so lovely and relaxed. As fun as a shoot of gowns and tiaras would have been for us, I think this shoot was much more “Kate” than “Duchess Catherine” and I can’t wait to buy the issue to fawn over it further.

  11. I love that she didn’t want to be super made up and fancy. I adore that she wanted the shoot to reflect her own life and style. I believe it speaks to her confidence and I hope she continues to do things her way.

  12. I absolutely love the picture of Kate in the Cabbage and Rose shirt. Its a brilliant picture! To me that captures her very essence. In my head that’s who Kate is – beautiful, happy, serene and not wanting to be a fashionista.

    I think the biggest thing that sets Kate apart is her ability to not give into vanity. To say no to the typical royal vogue shoots that have been done before with tiaras, couture gowns, perfect lighting and setting and instead to be photographed in fields wearing dungarees petting Lupo! Only the Kate would do that!

    Are these clothes reflective of her own style – no. But thats what makes it fun!

    Its amazing how everyone complains about her not taking risks and then they rip her apart any time she does something bit out of the ordinary. Stay the way you are Kate!

    • Thanks Raman. I echo everything you say! People seem only happy when complain, no matter what she do.

  13. I love the alternative to those ever present skinny jeans – leggings, really. The 70′s vibe is nice, looks modern.

  14. Being a confirmed city girl (though I did spend a fair portion of my childhood summers on a horse farm), I find it difficult to appreciate most of the clothes featured in this shoot. Plaid shirts of that ilk tend to make me think that the only appropriate accessory is a piece of straw poking out of one’s mouth, and I don’t care how stylish the overalls, I’d have to be in fear of my life to put them on. Even then, I’d have to think it over.

    I do understand that this shoot was attempting to capture a sort of upscale countryside look reflecting the Duchess’s relaxed life in Norfolk, and from that point of view, it did a reasonably good job of conveying the flavor of that life. The almost no-make-up look of the cover announces the goal right away and is refreshingly pared down and straightforward. However, I’m just not a fan of faux-rural fashion (Ralph Lauren’s versions always make me giggle), and like others here, and as I’ve said before, I’m also not on board with the retro 70s look that some of these items represent.

    I do have two positive things to say. The suede trench is cut virtually identically to my vintage Burberry, which is now almost 35 years old. I still happily wear it, because the cut is classic and the length covers almost everything. I haven’t been very happy with Burberry’s shorter lengths in recent years. Incidentally, as expensive as Burberry’s coats are, they pay for themselves many times over because they LAST. Mine has required significant attention from Burberry’s tailors only once, and that was just a few years ago, after I’d owned it for over 3 decades.

    Finally, though I am not a fan of flared jeans and hated them when I was a teenager (it wasn’t easy to find straight legs then), those Palazzo jeans are not the worst examples I’ve ever seen. I could probably be persuaded into them — at least if the alternative were to appear naked in public.

    • That plaid shirt just finished it for me. It belongs in the rag bag. And faux-rural is a concept which all too easily backfires in the hands of even the best couturier.

  15. Kate looks sooo different, I wonder if they flipped the negatives to fit the layout requirements? That would explain why her bone structure and smile seem visually unusual. Any way to find out?

    • Her engagement ring is on her left hand in all the photos, so looks like they didn’t flip the negatives…

  16. Well, I’ll have to keep quiet about the dull conventionality of Kate’s usual choices now as I much prefer the classic approach to the Vogue choices. I find these clothes dire.

    I have a particular loathing of grown women dressed in dungarees as it’s too much like trying to be a little girl, the unpleasant tones of which are flaunted by this pair being called Lolita. Yee-ukk.

    That corny check shirt and those wide leg trousers — double Yee-ukk. Too much Farmer Giles down on the farm and all in the artificial urban manner of metropolitan fashionistas who’d wither to limp rags after five minutes in real countryside.

    Harrumph — but thanks for a great post!!

    • Agree, agree, agree, especially with your comment about dungarees/overalls. “Down on the farm” is not a great look for anyone, never mind a princess. This is all such a contrived look, because it is not how Kate dresses, ever. Most of us would prefer a spread with gorgeous evening gowns, or gracious daytime dresses.

      • Well, the jeans (OK, maybe not the wide leg, but jeans) and Breton top are indeed exactly what she wears when she’s “off duty.” Gorgeous evening gowns and gracious daytime dresses are her “work clothes,” and one gets the sense that she didn’t want to wear work clothes for this shoot. She is, at heart, a sporty small-town girl. But I agree that a great photog could find new and exciting angles on the more formal outfits we usually see her in, and perhaps somewhere down the line we’ll see that.

        • Yes, Kate is a sporty small town girl, but she is not a farmer. There is a difference between country casual and dungarees or overalls. As a few others have said, the shirt is corny and not what Kate would wear. I get it that Vogue is a fashion magazine, but these clothes are not really stylish, or fashion forward…although the wide leg pants are exaggerated. Someone really doing jobs on a farm would be in old, comfy working clothes. As I said before, the whole look is just too contrived.

          • I think we’re talking about different shirts. The Breton top could have come out of her own closet. But I agree the plaid button-downs are a little silly — especially at that price! O_o

    • The clothes in the shoot actually upset you a bit ElizaMo :) I see your point though about dungarees. But I guess it being Vogue they did need to do something bit edgy or out of the box. Considering they had to play within the very tight parameters Kate would have set… :)

      • Oh, I agree, Raman! Edgy was what they were doing, exploring the parameters of her conservative image. I have the misfortune of having lived through enormous flares the first time around and they still give me the horrors.

        I perfectly accept for those younger than me — in the majority no doubt — that all this represents progress in fashion and ‘edgy’. I’m all in favour of Kate experimenting, and agree with your comments about wishing she would break out a bit and then not liking it when she does. Just for today I am an unabashed stick-in-the-mud ;-)

    • *looks around* What’s wrong with dungarees? You will get nowhere cleaning out stalls and dealing with horses if you’re pulling up your pants (and trust me, even the most well fit pants will droop in a barn.) You need some dungarees. I love Kate’s dungarees and would love to own them for everyday wear. Using them in a barn is a no-go because of the potential of tripping all over yourself.

      The Vogue spread I believe is more of a nod to her childhood days when she lived in Buckleberry which is in the country. She’s just as home in “country” outfits a she is in “duchess” outfits. I quite love them as I am an equestrian living in suburbia, so I’m naturally a wee bit more country than most people! Jeans, breton stripes, plaid, boots and dungarees (and honestly, my old dungarees just died) are staples.

  17. I don’t find the cover photograph flattering at all. It doesn’t even look like her! My first thought was Sawyer Fredericks, last year’s winner on “The Voice”. The hat and the eyebrows are just too much.
    She does look very happy in all the pictures, though.

    • I agree about the cover photo. It’s VERY airbrushed and gives me an uncanny valley vibe. I quite like some of the photos IN the magazine, though I do wish she would embrace the fact she is royalty and allow herself to be seen more in that light instead of country bumpkin.

  18. Great to see her in other options that her ‘skinnies’. It really shows how all the styles are flattering on her. Would love to see her in them in more regular occassions.

  19. Great post!

  20. I love that Kate went out of her zone for the shoot, and yet stayed so in her zone! She modeled clothes she would probably never wear, while being true to who she is out in the Norfolk countryside. She looks SO happy in these photos. Clearly she was having a grand time and loving supporting the art of photography, couture, the National Gallery, and just having fun.

    No doubt, the photo of her leaning on the wooden rail fence looks the most Kate. It’s a beautiful shot and you can see her owning that top (though not the pants). She looks relaxed and happy and in her element. It’s a lovely angle, a beautiful moment in time, and the afternoon light and background farm building, etc. are delicious. I think most are wondering what the heck the makeup artist was thinking with those eyebrows, but it doesn’t take away one ounce from her beauty and the natural joy that radiates from her face.

    I do kind of love those funky overalls — so un-Kate that it makes it all the more fun to see her in them. I think they look better without the belt, but the best does add an even more 70s vibe which is fun. No doubt throughout the shoot she was thinking, “What the heck! Why not?”

    Unlike some I think the coat is beautiful and interesting, and I love the shot of her pushing the bicycle. Fedoras are definitely not her most flattering, but again I can see her deliberately trying something out of her comfort zone just for fun. And it works — just a quirky moment in a casual hat in the countryside. Her smile says it all. I love it.

    We’ll all see it better when we see the actual photos rather than photos of the photos … but even with the distorted images we now have, her joy in life and love of art and beauty pour out of these photos. What a lovely, unexpected endeavor for her to be a part of!

  21. I had thought that the cover photo didn’t really look like the duchess, and I blamed it on her eyebrows, thinking them too heavily accentuated by the makeup artist. For the record, I didn’t mind the eyebrows; I only found them distracting. However, in these pictures without the hat, she looks so happy and beautiful, and the eyebrows are just a normal part of her natural face instead of a distraction. So I now blame the hat for the duchess not looking quite like herself.

    Those palazzo jeans look ridiculous for real life, but I enjoy them in a fashion magazine. It reminds us that this is, after all, a fashion spread, not a “duchess at home” feature.

    I like the overalls! The Burberry pants have a red line on the fly that doesn’t show up in the fence picture, but I don’t doubt the identification.

  22. This photo shoot shows a very, very, strong Catherine…someone who is sharing with us that she is confident in who she is and about her path. Well done.

  23. A throwback to the 1970s. Not sure if I can ever get behind the overall trends that come and go, unless you are actually working on a farm. It seems like a Vogue Americana shoot, not something from the British countryside. It’s funny, since her kids are dressed very British in their photos! I do like the three original releases better than these new ones (and the only picture I really, really like is the one by the fence), but Lupo is featured here which is fun.

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