Jun 082017
 

We are back with a quick update to Kate’s Calendar, and then a look at a topic many of us have wondered about as we have followed the Duchess’s style. First, the engagement added to Kate’s calendar.

Friday, June 16:  In her role as Patron of the 1851 Trust, the Duchess will attend the charity’s final Land Rover BAR Roadshow at the Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre east of London. Kate will join in an educational treasure hunt with students from four East London schools; the group will also spend time with Sir Ben Ainslie, leading the British effort to win the 2017 Cup.

Qualifying races for the finals have been underway in Bermuda for 10 days. This is the latest from the America’s Cup site:

…the four teams competing in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs Semi-Finals; Sir Ben Ainslie’s Land Rover BAR, Dean Barker’s SoftBank Team Japan, Peter Burling’s Emirates Team New Zealand and Nathan Outteridge’s Artemis Racing, are set to resume their battles with each other today. 

Sir Ben Ainslie’s team currently trail the Kwis 3-1 in the battle to the first-to-five points needed to progress through to The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs Finals.

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Now to our primary focus, answering often-asked questions about some confusing fashion terminology. Our guide through the different terms is by contributing writer Brooke Nurthen, who has authored some terrific posts for What Kate’s Kids Wore.

While the Duchess of Cambridge frequently wears one-off designs, the distinction between haute couture, bespoke, custom-made and made-to-measure can be tricky.

The majority of Kate’s wardrobe is ready-to-wear (RTW) clothing, purchased ‘off the peg’. We’ve noted in many instances the Duchess having had alterations or tailoring done to a certain piece, to improve the fit, ensure the piece falls and wears appropriately on her, or just to change a design element to be more to her liking. Good examples of off-the-rack designs are the LK Bennett Jude jacket and Davina dress first worn for engagements in Leicester and again for ICAP Charity Day.

Kate Middleton LK Bennett Davina Jude outfit ICAP Charity Day

©Polaris/Splash News/Polaris

The umbrella term ‘custom’, applies to most of what we’ll discuss today – a made-to-measure, bespoke or haute couture garment could all be described as ‘custom made’.

To start from the top – haute couture is the pinnacle of art and expense in the fashion world. ‘Haute Couture’ is a strictly protected term, and only designers accredited by the French Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture can use the term. To qualify, fashion labels must meet the following criteria:

  • Fashion houses must have a workshop in Paris.
  • Employ at least 20 full-time technicians (who may be specialty seamstresses or embroiderers, as well as those who measure, fit and cut).
  • Present two haute couture collections in Paris per year. These collections must comprise both day and evening wear.

Fourteen official members, five foreign ‘correspondent’ members and nine guest members currently make up the Chambre. The full list can be found here; members include Givenchy, Christian Dior, Giambattista Valli and Maison Margiela. While haute couture designs can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, these houses also will usually also produce pret-a-porter (ready to wear) garments and show at regular fashion week events in March and September. More detail about haute couture pieces via a 2015 Huffington Post story:

Due to the insane amount of time fashion houses put into creating haute couture pieces, it should come as no surprise that a garment like that is going to cost you a pretty penny. The cheapest of couture pieces will cost you $10,000, but evening gowns start at $60,000 and can cost upwards of $100,000.

Needless to say, with a price tag like that, the market for haute couture isn’t that big. It is reported that about 2,000 women worldwide purchase haute couture and of those 2,000, only 200 are regular buyers.

As far as we know, the haute couture label isn’t applicable to anything we’ve seen the Duchess wear. As we’ll explain, this doesn’t mean we haven’t been treated to some incredible custom-made fashions in Kate’s wardrobe. We’ll get to those in a minute; first, a sampling of couture designs from the spring shows. London-based luxury label Ralph and Russo, designed by Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo, is currently a guest member of the Haute Couture Chambre. The duo presented some wondrous pieces in their January show – and some which I can definitely imagine modified, or as-is, for Kate.

Ralph and Russo Haute Couture collection

RalphandRusso.com

Chanel, worn recently by the Duchess in Paris, is also an haute couture house and showed these designs as part of a 66-look show in Paris this past January.

Chanel Haute Couture Collection spring 2017

Chanel.com

The next step down the fashion ladder is ‘bespoke’, which refers to a design imagined and made specifically for the client. To be truly bespoke, the item’s pattern is made entirely from body measurements of the future wearer. ‘Bespoke’ needs distinguishing from ‘Made-to-Measure’ – garments also created from the client’s body measurements but adapted to a pre-existing pattern. Bespoke is Kate’s arena. This is where we find the bulk of her special pieces and an area which will only grow for her in years to come. Examples of bespoke items worn by Kate would include her wedding dresses and the Jenny Packham pieces worn leaving the hospital on the birth of Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

Kate Middleton Duchess Cambridge McQueen Wedding Gown Jenny Packham Lindo Wing

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

The Alexander McQueen look worn to Prince George’s christening is a good example of a made-to-measure style. The original design for the garment originated with the spring/summer 2012 collection. It was an elegant, thoughtful and well-made design, but without the label of ‘haute couture,’ something clearly not necessary to the creation of a beautiful and appropriate garment.

Duchess Cambridge Kate Middleton McQueen Christening Prince George

PA Wire/Lyst

Kate works with a small network of designers – Alexander McQueen, Jenny Packham, and Catherine Walker, to name a few – who cater to the most special of occasions. State dinners, christenings, and other major events warrant a bespoke creation. There’s an oft-mentioned theory that bespoke garments draw less attention to Kate’s wardrobe for particularly serious or sombre occasions. And, as a duchess with a husband second in line to the throne, the prerogative to have some items made up to your style – particularly in the formative years of a lifelong position in a worldwide spotlight – is surely hers.

Some memorable bespoke daywear looks from recent years are seen below.

Duchess Kate Middleton Emilia Wickstead Jenny Packham McQueen Lace Aubergine Coat Christmas 2011

Splash News / Stephen Lock, i-Images / John Stillwell, Pool / Nunn Syndication Polaris

From left to right: the Emilia Wickstead coat worn for the Order of the Thistle service back in 2012; the Alexander McQueen lace dress initially seen at the 2012 Jubilee church service, and then again at a 2014 summer garden party; the black-lined, cream lace dress attributed to Jenny Packham, worn to the service for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme in 2016; and the aubergine coat first seen at Christmas in 2011. Kensington Palace only specified that the coat was created by an ‘independent dressmaker’ – often speculated to be one of the Queen’s seamstresses.

‘Bespoke’ would also be the right word to describe the vast majority of the Queen’s wardrobe. While this isn’t ‘What Her Majesty Wore’, for further reading on the topic of bespoke fashion in the royal world I can highly recommend the 2012 book, Dressing the Queen by Angela Kelly, HM’s personal assistant and the head of her wardrobe team. It’s a truly fascinating read covering the fabrics, colours and designs of the Queen’s wardrobe, and explaining the full design process. It’s a must-read for the keen royal style watcher and displays the epitome of beautiful, considered, bespoke fashion.

How long does it take to create your average bespoke garment? This comes via a Grazia UK story cited in our original post about the Emilia Wickstead coatdress:

Our pals at Emilia Wickstead tell Grazia Daily that this is a bespoke dress specially made for Kate…. the yellow-gold raffia fabric featured a lot in the Spring Summer 2012 collection. They also tell us that altogether a dress like this takes about 6 weeks to complete.

Kate Middleton Emilia Wickstead coat

©Splash News

We’ve also seen a number of bespoke evening gowns over the years. From left to right: the royal blue Jenny Packham beaded design worn for a gala in India; another Packham creation in red for the diplomatic reception at Buckingham Palace in 2016; and back in 2012, the Alexander McQueen white and gold gown worn to a state dinner in Malaysia. Even though all of these may appear to fit the definition of haute couture they do not, as they were not created by one of the official Chambre fashion houses.

©

©James Whatling, Splash / Pool, i-Images / Splash

A big ‘thank you’ to Brooke, for doing such a stellar job walking us through fashion terminology that can bewilder and confuse many a fashion follower.

While many of us would love to see Kate in an haute couture design, I think that is unlikely. Not only is the price far beyond what she typically pays for bespoke pieces, I don’t think she is so committed to fashion she would be interested in the time and energy involved in commissioning a piece from one of the officially recognized brands.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We originally included the Jenny Packham evening gown Kate wore in Paris in the montage of bespoke evening gowns. It should not have been have been described as a bespoke piece, because, as Laurie pointed out in a comment, the same design was worn by Taylor Swift several years ago. A *big* thank you to Laurie for letting us know so we could correct the post.

  64 Responses to “About That Bespoke Word….and Kate’s Wardrobe”

  1. Thanks so much for such a gorgeous post with lots of sumptuous dresses to contemplate. While I’ve been too busy to get here it’s been cheering me up to think of as I ploughed through life off-line.

    It’s great to have these frequently interchangeable terms laid out. I must have read the conditions for haute couture a thousand times but somehow when you spell it out it becomes so much more crystal clear. I suppose part of the problem is the way the words like couture, customised and bespoke get bandied around about the same outfit. I really miss Lili’s input on a topic like this.

    The Ralph and Russo dresses are mouth-watering, the Chanel outfits quite perfect, imaginative and edgy in classic silhouettes. They might be a bit sharp for Kate but those suits are superb. Glad to see we have a new date in sight, Kate has been taking a break which is understandable as I feel we’ve seen her virtually every week since the New Year.

  2. I enjoyed this article; thanks for enlightening us! Could you write further about this: What kind of ‘creative control’ might designers have when Kate obtains a garment (off the rack, made to measure or bespoke) and then wears their creations in public? I imagine that a big house can handle Kate looking less than fabulous in their garment, but for a small new designer, they need Kate to show their piece at its best. I can imagine them saying, ” Kate, call me anytime, we’ll tailor it. ANytime, Kate!” And would a designer tell Kate that a certain look or a certain design element just doesn’t suit her?

  3. Thank you for giving us this wonderful post with so much information. Especially when the Duchess is not out and about these days. So glad I checked your post this morning!

    Such a fascination on what goes into her choices and what it takes to make such beautiful pieces. I often wonder after looking at all the dresses the duchess has worn, where are they kept? what determines which will be worn again? Are their notes taken on pieces and public response? Or is this all the mystery that surrounds the Royal Family?

    Thank you again for a wonderful read!

    • Wouldn’t we love to know – what I wouldn’t give for a peek inside that closet! Thank you Carol!

      • I would also love to see inside her closet. I imagine it’s lovely to look at and full of beautiful things…*blissful sigh*

  4. This was a great post and very informative.

    It made me think about all the clothes she has made especially for her and one thing that has always intrigued me, like her Christopher Kane outfit or even some of her Sarah Burton designs. I was wondering if you can actually say these are under the Christopher Kane label, or some of the designs by Sarah Burton actually be classified as a McQueen piece. As some of the things, specifically the Christopher Kane, look nothing like the aesthetic this brand shows? Technically you could employ a seamstress from any high end label to create these designs for you? Some of the first clothes she wore by Sarah Burton, were referred to by the media as Sarah Burton for McQueen. Some of these have then later become available under the McQueen label, others have not? Like the Queen has most her clothes made by Angela Kelly, Kate could technically employee her own seamstress and have most of her bespoke outfits made by this one person, not by different fashion houses, as a lot of these do not fit/match silhouettes/fabrics they are known for?
    Also her McQueen Blackwatch Coat, would you say that is a Hybrid of Bespoke and Made to Measure, as it is based off a McQ piece but designed for Kate?

    • Those are all great points, Michelle, and excellent topics of discussion. I actually referred to some of the early pieces as “Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen,” for several months, if I remember correctly. One thing that pushed me toward simply saying “Alexander McQueen” was the volume of items from the brand Kate was wearing. It seemed that the Duchess was going to wear the label with some frequency, and I thought it possible, if not likely, Kate might be working with other personnel, staff under Ms, Burton’s guidance. I’m sure Sarah Burton signs off on anything the Duchess is going to wear, but I don’t imagine Kate works exclusively with her when she is ordering items.
      I agree with you; we have seen garments that don’t epitomize the design aesthetic of specific labels, especially those that might be considered hipper or edgier. The two you note, Christopher Kane and Alexander McQueen, come most quickly to mind. Although I think the longer Sarah Burton has been at the helm, the more we see RTW collections that appeal to a broader market. Many of Kate’s dresses/coats are almost identical to styles sold at higher-end retailers. So the deviation from the original McQueen aesthetic isn’t as jarring as it might be for some brands. (Oddly, looking at Christopher Kane before writing this, I was struck by how “mainstream” his pre-fall and fall 2017 RTW designs seemed.)
      A major contributor to the equation: If I’m Christopher Kane, or Sarah Burton, or almost any other designer, I’m not likely to turn down a request to create a dress for the Duchess of Cambridge; I accept the commission with the understanding the piece will need to be integrated into a wardrobe that is not one worn by a fashionista, but a royal, and it will likely entail a more conservative approach.
      Really good points for converation! :)

      • Yes that is so true. I don’t think you would ever turn down a commission by the Duchess or any other Royal. The exposure for your Brand/Label is huge.

        I think as well at the time when Kate got married McQueen wasn’t as widely popular as now and the Fall 2011 Collection was just released I think almost just a month or so before the wedding? It echoed a kind of bridal look (more reason people thought McQueen was the designer) it was very edgy, medieval with an Armour look, bordering on Avant Garde, and every one was so used to the Skulls and Theatrics. So when we all saw Kate’s dress it was so different and paired back it was quite a shock for people and probably very hard to make the connection between the wedding gown and what had just been shown on the Runway. I guess that is where a lot of confusion could stem from with the crossover between Kates’ inspiration and use of the Couture Collection, RTW and Bespoke McQueen?

    • I agree with Susan, great points Michelle! I also agree that no designer is going to turn the Duchess down if she asks for a custom made piece with their label on it. It definitely begs the question as to whether in future she will employ someone along the lines of HM’s Angela Kelly, to make these items for her exclusively. This would be much more likely when she becomes Princess of Wales, it may be felt to be too extravagant for now, even if it did technically work out to be more cost-savvy.

      I wanted to add another reason “Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen” is often referenced, particularly in regards to the wedding dress. As an eponymous label with a recently deceased head designer, I believe KP, AMcQ and others referred to the designs as “Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen” to avoid confusion and highlight the true designer – given the label itself doesnt bear her name. Does that make sense?

      As for the Black Watch coat, it’s very hard to say (we aren’t really to know whether pattern pieces were borrowed from another piece or not, and it’s so hard to tell!) but I’d wager it’s technically bespoke and was conceived entirely as a one off for Kate… but I could definitely be wrong!

      Thank you for your comment! :)

      • I’m not so sure that designers are always keen to take a royal client on board. In her book following Diana’s death I seem to recall Catherine Walker saying it took a lot of attention for a one-off outfit which could often be ordered at short notice.

        It certainly gets the designer’s name noticed, but doesn’t in itself generate sales to keep them in business.

  5. I don’t think anybody has mentioned this but wouldn’t the beautiful tweed (?) piece by Channel the DOC wore in Paris be Haute Couturre? If so, she has worn Haute Coururre.

  6. Very interesting, thanks for sharing this information!!

  7. Fabulous post, You two did an outstanding job, Brooke and Susan – the dynamic duo!

    And how I love that white and gold McQueen she wore in Malaysia – so flattering and elegant. Quite possibly my fav gown of DOC.

  8. This was a really interesting article!

    If anyone is interested in seeing what haute couture on a royal lady is like, check out Sheikah Mozah of Qatar. She wears haute couture almost exclusively- especially Chanel. It fascinating to see how she has alterations made to her wardrobe to fit Muslim dress standards she follows.

  9. I love this post! Very informative. I had never heard the word ‘bespoke’ until I started following Kate, and I love learning new things about fashion through this blog. Thank you to both of you!

  10. This is very interesting and informative. Thank you!

  11. Loved this post! Just curious – how are “guest members” of the Haute Couture Chambre selected? Is there a set period of time for the guest membership?

    The Ralph and Russo gowns are gorgeous, definitely look very suited to Kate’s style and figure.

    • That is a very good question. I wish I had an answer for you, but I have been unable to find information that details the criteria used to select guest members. :(

    • If it’s not clear, I would guess a whole lot of backroom politics.

    • Thanks JR! As Susan said, this info isn’t widely available and the cynic in me agrees with Brenda, there would be a lot of wheeling and dealing involved in this, I think. It reminds me of someone receiving a judicial appointment!

  12. I learn so much by reading WKW. Many thanks for the education and the fun.

  13. Thank you ladies for clarifying those different terms. My knowledge of fashion (and everything that goes into fashion) has grown so much from being an avid reader of What Kate Wore. Keep up the good work :)

  14. Thanks Susan and Brooke! Informative and fascinating as usual. Would be fun to see Kate in a donated-by-the-designer couture piece…subsequently auctioned for one of her patronages.

    • Rebecca I love this idea! And this is the great thing about watching Kate’s style – we’ve got about 60-odd years to make all these things happen! ;)

  15. Susan, this was a very interesting post, especially to those of us who sew and who have had clothes made.
    Kate is such an important figure that at this point, she may be best off going with bespoke for the majority of her public events.

    Of course, she’ll want jeans, Breton tops, trainers and the like off the rack. But the likelihood of someone else wearing one of her dresses if it is not bespoke is very high, and you don’t want the inevitable “who wore it best” features. Also, bespoke is always a better way to showcase your assets. Royal women through the years have gone that route, especially The Queen, so the tradition is established.

    • So interesting, isn’t it? I can imagine this happening when Kate becomes Princess of Wales or perhaps even Queen, at this point in time given her relatively low level of engagements I don’t think a personal seamstress would go down too well, but I can totally imagine it happening.

  16. You have often shown how some of the Duchess’s gowns were created by a blend of elements from two different pre-existing patterns. If “bespoke” means “made entirely from body measurements of the future wearer”, and made-to-measure means “garments created from the client’s body measurements but adapted to a pre-existing pattern”, what category would you put such pieces in? I’m assuming “bespoke” “which refers to a [final] design imagined and made specifically for the client”…

    • That’s a really good question. I would put them in the bespoke category, for the very reason you suggest. They may combine multiple elements of a variety of existing designs but the piece is essentially being started from scratch for Kate’s measurements and approval. A true fashion expert might disagree, but from this layperson, I would go with bespoke. :)

    • Thanks Cassy! I would agree with Susan that these items are likely bespoke. The truth is, only very few people would know if, in the making of the garment, pattern pieces from other designs were used to form the Duchess’ final garment (the designer, the patternmaker, machinist and a few others at the label would be about it)… so it is quite hard to say, the best we can do is compare Kate’s garments with older pieces and take an educated guess, and for most of them I guess bespoke!

  17. Thank you, thank you, Susan! Love learning along the way!

  18. Haute couturre is currently a form of certification, much like dolphin safe tuna, or fair trade coffee. Coffee does not have to be certified fair trade to be fair trade, but consumers would be mindboggled to find one amongst the sea of coffee, if not for the certification.

    Due to high labor costs, in the west, bespoke seems to be only affordable for the very rich. In Asia, it is still a very affordable luxury for the middle class.

    • Thank you! That is an *excellent* comparison in terms of the certification.

      You are right about bespoke in the west, and being in Australia I have many friends who will have bespoke pieces made on visits to Asia (being relatively close, for us at least!)

    • So for my two cents haute couture is an artificial label. Bespoke and made to measure have huge overlaps depending on the designer… So to me a custom made man’
      s suit by a tailor, means you go in, get measured, look at fabrics and buttons and pant styles and get your suit made:). For a woman it mainly means you go in, get measured and for the most part get garments altered to fit you… I have had a few dresses made for me, it is a very different process… You are measured, you work with the designer to make a garment for you that you want based purely on your taste in fabrics and style. It is truly a one of a kind garment, any seamstress/designer can do that for you. If they are just starting out, maybe under 1,000 dollars if established then the sky is the limit.

      • Actual French haute couture is NOT an artificial label. In order to call itself haute couture, a house must be certified by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. It must have clients. It must employ at least 15 people. It must present collections of at least 15 designs, day and evening, at least twice a year. Both the employment and the collection requirements knock numerous designers out of the field.

  19. Excellent article! Thank you and Brooke for taking time to explain these various pieces and terms!

  20. Thank you very much, Brooke and Susan — very helpful.

    I can imagine that if the Duchess appeared in haute couture, it would actually be quite a statement. She seems to work mostly with British designers for her bespoke pieces. (See me use all these fashion words correctly! :-) I hope! )

    • Thanks Mary! You definitely used all those words perfectly ;) (my work here is done! hehe)

      You’re right, a haute couture look would be a huge statement and probably unnecessary (imo) in her position. The exception might be working with a British designer (eg Ralph and Russo) and one of their bespoke creations falling under the certification of ‘haute couture’ without that really being the intention. I can’t imagine Kate being hugely fussed on that ‘haute couture’ label!

  21. I’m not sure it’s accurate that the Jenny Packham evening gown the Duchess wore in Paris is bespoke. Taylor Swift wore the same dress several years ago in a champagne color.

    • An enormous ‘thank you’ to you Laurie, I completely forgot about that. You’re wonderful to let me know so I could correct the post. :)

      • Happy to help! I’ve been searching for an image of Taylor in the gown, but can’t find one. I remember seeing it in a magazine.

        • I personally feel that this is a case of similar elements, but not the same dress. They are both long gowns, with floral embellishments that are somewhat similar from bodice to waist, but the similarities end there.

          Taylor’s embroidery ends in a pointed free fall, has a deep v-neckline, and short sleeves. The dress has a billowing skirt, and the hem ‘pools’ on the floor. The neckline and sleeves of Taylor’s dress are crafted to seemingly blend into the wearer’s arms so that it is interesting to tell where the dress ends and the person’s skin begins.

          Kate’s gown is column-shaped, has a rounded/bateau neckline, elbow-length sleeves, and her embroidery reaches all the way to the ends of her gown. Her gown also ends at or just above the tips of her toes (heels). Kate’s neckline and the edges of her sleeves are embroidered, clearly delineating the edges.

          I think this is an instance where Jenny Packham’s trademarks are clearly visible in both dresses, but the dresses are dissimilar enough for Kate’s dress to be considered bespoke.
          Otherwise, for example, Kate’s McQueen lace dress would not be bespoke, as Anne Hathaway has also worn similar lace McQueen dresses.

    • If you scroll about halfway down this page, you can see the version worn by Kate, and the shorter champagne colored cocktail version that was worn by Taylor.
      http://www.polyvore.com/jenny_packham_dresses/collection?id=1162952

    • Ah goodness me! Thank you Laurie, that one definitely slipped my mind, and thanks Susan for the update :)

  22. I’ve been a reader since the Duchess was still known as Kate Middleton, but this is my first comment. Just wanted to say thank you for the very interesting piece on fashion! I love your blog and am always fond of learning about the various organizations members of the Royal family work with and the places they visit, in addition to getting a closer look at “What Kate Wore.” :)

  23. It is always a delight to see a new post here! I keep checking it every alternate day if not everyday. I have learnt so much over the years about fashion. Being from India, the fabrics, style, tailoring & decorum observed in ‘western’ clothing is not as obvious to me as this is not something I picked up growing up or watching my mom dress etc.

    As one of the first followers of this blog, from the time Kate’s engagement was announced, it’s been a pleasure to see it grow and evolve. Thank you for all your hard work Susan. You have created a community and not just another web blog.

    And who is Brooke? :)

    • Hi Raman, it is such a treat to hear from one of our longtime WKW friends! Many of us have also learned a lot about fashion, especially styles in parts of the world we weren’t at all knowledgeable about. Brooke Nurthen is a contributing writer, she has authored some terrific posts for What Kate’s Kids Wore. Just this Monday I suggested we create a bio page for her on the WKKW site, hopefully that will be complete by next Monday. She also happens to be an utter delight! Here is a link to her WKKW posts. :)
      http://whatkateskidswore.com/?s=nurthen

    • Hi Raman! Thank you Susan for the intro.

      Raman, I recently ordered Kate’s Anita Dongre dress and had a wondrous time on her website looking at all the beautiful fabrics and embellishments and different styles… I’m sure that likewise you could teach us all a thing or two about the beautiful world of Indian fashion! (PS – even a ‘fashion native’ like me learned a thing or two in composing this post!)

      • Great to have you on board Brooke! The outfit that Kate wore of Anita Dongre for the Cricket match in Mumbai was a typical Jaipuri print. Jaipur is a city in north of India famous for jewelry and fabrics. In India most of the states have their own signature prints, motifs, embroidery and different styles of jewelry along with their own languages and dialects. There is a chain in India called Anokhee that is very affordable and has beautiful off the rack styles in Jaipuri prints that our Moms raid for the summer.

        The blue Jenny Packam Kate wore in Mumbai which was a take on what we call a ‘Lehnga’ – top and skirt separates worn with a scarf was not really appreciated by either the media or the people as the embroidery on it looked cheap, tacky and typical ready to wear that noone wears unless you can’t afford something better. So its always interesting to see different reactions based on where you come from!

        Our mums would never ever wear off the rack or ready to wear since tailoring and embroidery was and is so cheap. They wear traditional salwar Kameez and you would typically go to a store – select the fabric, color, embroidery and get it tailored for yourself. So everything Bespoke! Now they have moved to wearing Long shirts (Kameez) with culottes or straight pants and forego the scarfs for daily wear which is a more westernized version of the traditional Indian outfits. On the lines of what Princess Diana wore to her visit in Pakistan for Imraan Khan’s opening of the Cancer Hospital. Even Jemima Khan’s (Goldsmith) outfits were on those lines.

        That is the Indian take on Bespoke, off the rack or ready to wear! And now I know we dont have Haute Couture! :)

        • Thanks for the insight Raman, I love it! Does Anokhee have an online storefront?

          • Hey JR! Glad you enjoyed reading that. Just checked online, there’s anokhiusa.com but it very limited stuff on it and nothing that I liked. Search ‘Anokhi’ on Facebook and you will see what all they do! :)

  24. Thank you so much for this fascinating post……I had asked about this before, and now I am delighted to read about bespoke, haute couture, custom made and made-to-measure.

  25. What a fascinating read! This is what I love about your blog. It really speaks to the fashion, as opposed to more of a fan girl thing. Of course we all love the Duchess, but I really enjoy the detail you put in to each post.

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