Jun 232015
 

We are back with a very few updates and a look at the history of a classic style the Duchess favors.

Our first update involves a very brief story in The Daily Mail reporting Kate and William will be attending Wimbledon next week. The information has not been confirmed. If it turns out to be true it’s unlikely there will be any announcement until the morning of the event. Should it be confirmed we will post on our Very Latest page, as well as adding it to Kate’s Calendar.

Next, the ‘mystery jeans’ Kate wore to the Festival of Polo on the 14th of this month. With thanks to everyone who shared input here via a comment or email, as well as on the WKW Facebook page, we are going to leave that topic as it stands, with no specific resolution. My instinct says they are by Topshop and the company simply isn’t claiming them, but it’s entirely possible they are from another brand. Since I wrote this we have an update: Topshop now ackowledges the jeans are their merchandise.

©James Whatling/Splash News

©James Whatling/Splash News

The company confirmed this to Monique Jessen of People magazine; more from Monique’s story about the jeans:

The confusion stemmed from Kate’s cleverly disguised waistband.

“We didn’t realize that she was wearing maternity jeans,” a spokesperson for Topshop tells PEOPLE. “An older style of these maternity jeans were sent to Kate when she was pregnant with Prince George and she is re-wearing them.”

It’s nice to have that topic resolved. Our thanks to Simon Perry and Monique Jessen of People for their tenacity on this one, many an email went winging across the Atlantic as we tried to sort out whose jeans they were. A Tip of the Tiara also to Ashley Marie for noting that I used the wrong Leigh photos in the June 14th post, and for her link to the older photos of the Leigh. (She, like myself and others, believed the jeans were this Topshop pair.) 

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Next, Kate’s jeans from ME + EM. Sunday’s Telegraph has an excellent story focusing on ME + EM.

Last week, at ME+EM’s store, tucked away in chi-chi Connaught Street behind Marble Arch, the label’s founder Clare Hornby was still reeling from the ‘crazy’ impact on sales. ‘Overnight, it’s an international business – this past week 40 per cent of our sales have come from overseas; Japan, Australia, America’.

The £48 ‘Cobalt Stripe’ Breton top now has a 5k strong waiting list. The earliest dispatch date is expected to be September 23rd, but Hornby is confident her customers will wait.

Company founder Clare Hornby is also profiled in Angela Buttolph’s article. Ms. Hornby spoke about denim the Duchess has ordered from the company, the High Rise Skinny Jeans.

Hornby’s only disappointment: missing out on a head-to-toe ME+EM outfit on the Duchess. She shows me a pair of the High Rise Skinny Jeans ,‘we stitch the inside edge of pockets to the zip so they stay smooth across the front’, darker shading runs down the side of each thigh for a slimming effect.

‘She ordered these in a size 27 [inch waist]…

Below we show them in the Dark Rinse, but they’re available in a variety of colors and rinses.

ME + EM

ME + EM

The Telegraph piece also offers Ms. Hornby’s tips on “How to Dress Yourself Slim.”

One note for bargain hunters fond of ME + EM’s look: the label has an outlet page I was unaware of until today. Below we show a few items from the outlet section of the site, beginning with the Tailored Bodycon Dress in black on the left, (originally £128/$200, now £38.40/$60), then the Chunky Engineered Jumper in a cotton/cashmere blend in the middle (originally £128/$200, now £68/$100), and on the right we show ME + EM’s Fit and Flare Dress in deep peacock (originally £168/$265, now £50.40/$80).

ME + EM

ME + EM

Updating the availability of Kate’s cobalt blue Breton stripe top, the piece is now slated to ship September 25th.

ME + EM

ME + EM

Val, who has been fabulous in posting comments with updated info from her ME + EM email, notes the cobalt white version of the top is now slated for shipping on or before August 19th.

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The striped tops at ME + EM offer the perfect segueway to our quick backgrounder on the style. Believe it or not, the style was initially mandated by law back in 1858. The Navy Wear Act ordered they be worn by French Navy seamen; it was believed the shirts would make it easier to spot men in the water who fell overboard, the tops became part of the official uniform for French sailors. Initially the shirts had a specific number of stripes, 21; that is one stripe for each of Napoleon’s victories.

Saint James was the first company to manufacture the shirts. Here is the Saint James Binic II sweater, released in 1889.

Wiki Fashion

Wiki Fashion

Below, the company’s factory in 1900.

Saint James

Saint James

The design became increasingly popular over the years, migrating from a nautical standard to a fashion favorite. Below, Coco Chanel wearing a Breton stripe.

Wikimedia Creative Commons

Wikimedia Creative Commons

More about the French designer’s appreciation of the style from Wiki Fashion:

Inspired by sailors, after a visit to the French coast, Coco Chanel introduced the design to the fashion world through her nautical collection in 1917. The Breton top became a symbol of haute-bourgeois loveliness during the pre-war Riviera years.

And from blogger Carly Tati:

This must have been amusing to the sailors and workers of France to see the beautiful and stylish Chanel donning what was typically a man’s work shirt in such a fashionable way.

The style remained popular with celebrities, below you see Audrey Hepburn wearing Breton stripes in 1955.

There is a photo montage here showing Pablo Picasso, Ms. Hepburn and Coco Chanel wearing the stripe. Celebrities from James Dean to Alexa Chung have been photographed sporting the style, it remains a favorite of the fashion crowd still today.

Saint James has remained in business, more from the company’s website:

Its fame is based upon a cult item of clothing “the genuine pure new knitted woolen Breton seaman’s sweater”. Originally intended for deep sea fishermen, then adopted by known seafarers, and amateur yachtsmen.

Its pure wool, pure cotton, “seashore” lines attract a large clientele on the coast, but also in the major cities of France, and equally throughout Europe, the United States, Canada, and Japan.

Below, Saint James tops being steamed before shipment and the crew of the 1997 America’s Cup contender Enterprise, outfitted in shirts from Saint James.

Saint James

Saint James

Back to the company’s history:

With such thick and tight knitwear, they are considered almost waterproof… Knitted very close to the body, this sweater becomes “the seafarers’ second skin”.

Saint James still offers the shirt today, in a variety of models.

Saint James USA

Saint James USA

In Women’s styles we show the brand’s Mediterranee ($109), the Etrille ($81), and the Minquiers 10 ($75).

Saint James

Saint James

Below, the Naval II ($135) and Naval II Rouge ($145), both are mens/unisex styles.

Saint James

Saint James

There is a Saint James for J Crew collection. This is the Short Sleeve Slouchy Tee ($89) and Long Sleeve Slouchy Tee ($90).

J Crew

J Crew

Below, the Nauplie wool sweater from that J. Crew collection, it is $299.

J Crew

J Crew

Other sites offering French-made nautical merchandise include the Brittany Boutique and the UK’s Nautical Company.

There is also a standard J Crew version priced at $39.99, with an additional 40% off that price through June 23rd at midnight. (Use promo code DAYTWO for the additional 40% off the price.)

J Crew

J Crew

Of course, similar items can be purchased at a lower price via a broad variety of online sites, as well as brick and mortar stores. Below, a women’s style from LL Bean, on sale for $22.46; it is the French Sailor’s Shirt, 3/4 Sleeve Boatneck, offered in good, basic colors. Our thanks to Laura for her comment noting these were available and Sarah’s suggestion as well.

LL Bean

LL Bean

The shirt also comes in colors some might consider more fashion-forward. These styles are also on sale for $22.46.

LL Bean

LL Bean

Other women’s styles in the distinctive stripe at LL Bean include a Quarter Zip Pullover ($29.96) and Textured French Terry Pullover ($33.71).

Lands’ End carries a women’s 3/4 Sleeve Button Boatneck in a thinner stripe ($19.99), Breton Stripe Top ($13.99) , and men’s Seaworn Indigo Stripe Tee ($24.99).

Lands' End

Lands’ End

The style is actually offered at quite a few retailers, with a broad range of prices. The trick is to find one with the fit you like, at a quality level you are comfortable with, in a price range meeting your budget.

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Finally today, good news from one of our favorite sponsors, Beulah London: the company is continuing its free international shipping offer for purchases £150 and above until midnight this Sunday, the 28th.  That means pieces like the Petal Shawl in blue cashmere and rayon, flower spirits blush silk chiffon and red silk chiffon (£175, about $275 at today’s exchange rates), ship free.

Beulah London

Beulah London

There are new spring and summer styes at Beulah, in soft shades of cotton candy colors. From left to right we show the Elina Sleeveless Crepe Tulip Dress (£395, about $625) and Senna Jacket, both in mint (£345, about $545); on the right it’s the Senna Boxy Jacket in Dusky Pink (£345, roughly $545) atop the Ines Notch Neck Dress (£420, about $660), also in dusky pink.

Beulah London

Beulah London

Other pieces we like: the Dahlia Skirt with Dupioni Tie in an elegant black (£450, about $700) and Belle Pleated Chiffon Skirt (£295, approximately $465).

Beulah London

Beulah London

There are many other new styles at Beulah, click here to have a look.

 Posted by at 9:01 pm
May 292015
 

We are back a few quick updates and several retail notes of interest.

First, the latest on Kate’s schedule:

  • From all reports it seems Kate, George and Charlotte continue enjoying their time at Anmer Hall, the Cambridge’s country retreat on the grounds of Sandringham
  • The Sunday Times reported there will be more royal engagements with Prince George, quoting who say George will be “more visible over the next few months”. The article notes William & Kate realize there is “…good-natured [in him] from people”. The full story is here, but be aware it is behind a paywall, so if interested in reading the entire piece you will need to be, or become, a subscriber. (But the gist of the story is really in the first two paragraphs which are readily seen.)
  • As noted on Twitter by our friend Patricia Treble, the first family photos of Kate and William with George were released 30 days after his birth. It’s possible we are close to new family pictures being released with Charlotte.
Michael Middleton via PA Wire

Michael Middleton via PA Wire

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Continue reading »

Apr 282015
 

Hello, we are back with a quick briefing on the latest from the Lindo Wing and several updates.

We begin with something new, The Very Latest here on the blog. I started the page because frequently there are little tidbits or newsbytes in between posts that merit sharing, and this seems an easy way to keep everyone up to date on that sort of thing. We will include notes and links that may not warrant their own full-blown post, like retail updates (items back in stock, sales, copyKates, etc.), or items we want to get published right away that we’ll expand upon in a later post. It has actually turned out to be very handy as we await the birth of Kate and William’s next child, but it will remain a permanent fixture here on the blog. From today’s Very Latest updates:

  • While there was quite a flurry of activity at the Lindo Wing today it turns out Kate was nowhere near the hospital. Apparently the Duchess had gone for a swim with Prince George at Buckingham Palace. Rebecca English’s story in The Daily Mail has more: “Accompanied by up to five bodyguards, the royal mother-to-be drove herself in through the gates, with her son and what appeared to be his nanny, Maria Borrallo, in the rear of the car. The Duchess parked her vehicle discreetly around the side of the palace in order to get George from the car and left around an hour and a half later.” The entire story is here.
Kate middleton driving

Daily Mail Twitter

  • There was a special treat this morning for all of the royal fans who have been camped out at St. Mary’s Hospital, a surprise that came straight from the Duke and Duchess. From Victoria Murphy’s Daily Mirror story: “In a show of their appreciation for the fans who have been camped out for days waiting for a new royal baby to be born, the royals sent pastries and 10 hot drinks to the campers. A palace source said: “They saw they’d been camped out and wanted to send them breakfast.”
 James Whatling/Splash News

James Whatling/Splash News

  • Readers are no doubt aware, but it bears repeating: if the baby is born tomorrow it will arrive on Kate & William’s wedding anniversary. Four years ago tomorrow this was the scene at Buckingham Palace. Happy Anniversary to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge!
Splash News

Splash News

We will keep everyone updated on Kate’s situation via Facebook, Twitter and our Very Latest page right here on the blog.

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Moving on to the other topics, we have quite a few IDs that have been made in the last week, including one that resolves perhaps the Ultimate UFO here at WKW. Can you guess the item I’m referencing? Here is a visual clue.

Splash News/PA Wire

Splash News/PA Wire

Yes, it is the clutch that Kate has carried (and carried, and…well, you know the drill) for years, crafted in black suede with a petite grosgrain bow. Above we show the Duchess carrying the bag on a night out in Mayfair with William in 2012, as well as at the Order of the Garter in 2008. Here is a wide shot of Kate with the clutch on that 2012 night out.

SplashNews.com/Weir Photo-SplashNews.com

SplashNews.com/Weir Photo-SplashNews.com

Many of us looked and looked, and then looked some more for the bag’s maker. Yet we were never able to determine who made the clutch, it has remained a mystery all these years. That’s until last week, when Brittany from the Repli-Kate It page on Facebook shared this post:

Repli-Kate It Facebook page

Repli-Kate It Facebook page

That is Kate’s bag in another color, discovered via an auction on eBay for a pink version of the handbag, that is where these photos are from. (The auction is over, it ended on the 23rd.) The bag is by Mascaro, it measures 8″ x 4.5″, with a concealed snap closure on the inside of the flap.

eBay

eBay

A huge Tip of the Tiara to Brittany for solving the mystery, you can visit her Repli-Kate It page here, she is a whiz at putting together outfits, locating great repliKates, and more.

Mascaro is a brand whose accessories Kate has used for some time; below you see her carrying a Mascaro bag for the 2012 War Horse premiere, and wearing the brand’s heels at the 2011 wedding of Harry Aubrey-Fletcher and Louise Stourton. (We were fortunate that the inimitable Lizzie Darcy identified the heels several years ago.)

Splash News

Splash News

Next, the necklace Kate wore to a youth reception and barbecue during the 2011 North American tour. We knew the Duchess was wearing the Logo Leaf Earrings by Vinnie Day, but the necklace hadn’t been identified. We now know the necklace is also by Vinnie Day, the company got in touch with Anna of My Small Obsessions to let her know it was a bespoke piece made especially for Kate.

Canadian Heritage/Allpix-SplashNews.com

Canadian Heritage/Allpix-SplashNews.com

Also identified, the jacket Kate wore to the wedding of Peter Phillips and Autumn Kelly in May 2008. (In all candor, not my favorite look on the Duchess.) Again, the information came via MSO. The photo below is not from the Phillips/Kelly wedding, but from the wedding of Charlie and Lucy Savoy.

My Small Obsessions Facebook

My Small Obsessions Facebook

A Tip of the Tiara to Poppy Golightly on Facebook for making the ID and sharing the info with My Small Obsessions.

eBay

eBay

It seems Sanimi is no longer in business. From what I could glean online the company was located in North Kensington, it appears they specialized in party frocks, especially silk pieces, and perhaps lingerie. (Sources for items below: Pinterest, Clothes AgencyPinterest.) Perhaps one of our readers will be more familiar with the brand, and can fill us in via a comment or email.

Pinterest/Poshmark

Pinterest/Poshmark

One more item, it regards the jacket we have seen Kate wearing frequently and commonly thought to be by Barbour. Most recently the Duchess was seen wearing it when enjoying a playdate with George at Snettisham Park. It turns out the jacket is not by Barbour. Anna of My Small Obsessions contacted Barbour and they advised her it was not their piece.

Also today, Madderson London has released the maternity version of Kate’s ‘Naomi’ shift dress(£230), made of a lighter weight ponte jersey knit, and with only one set of the decorative flaps. The Duchess wore the Naomi in standard sizing (£450), it is a more robust weight, made of 100% wool.

Madderson London/Splash News/Madderson London

Madderson London/Splash News/Madderson London

Kate’s Wrap Skater Dress in Polka Dot ($63) from the ASOS Maternity collection is back in stock. The Duchess wore the frock in March for her visit to the Brookhill Children’s Centre in London.

UPDATE: This dress is slightly different from Kate’s, despite ASOS calling it the “Kate” dress. Out thanks to Lisa, she left a comment alerting us to the distinction, so we put the two dresses side-by-side to better highlight the difference between the two, it’s the way the polka dots are placed. In the original frock the dots are scattered randomly with no seeming pattern; in the new ‘Kate’ (ahem) version the dots are more organized, almost in rows.

ASOS Kate Middleton dress

ASOS

We are fortunate to have some photos from a WKW Facebook friend wearing the dress. Rachael Tagg (who is not expecting), is one of many Kate fashion followers who purchased the frock. Rachael very much likes the dress, and I can see why – it’s a great fit on Rachael!

Courtesy Rachel Tagg

Courtesy Rachael Tagg

Also back in stock: Seraphine’s Natasha cashmere blend coat ($349).

Nils Jorgensen/i-Images and Seraphine Courtesy Photo

Nils Jorgensen/i-Images and Seraphine Courtesy Photo

And one more retail note, this one from Target,. where two Kate-favored brands have combined for a small capsule collection. We’re talking about Orla Kiely and Aden and Anais; they have come up with a selection of Swaddle-Plus 4-Packs ($39.99) and Little Bib 3-Packs ($15.99) .

Orla Kiely for Aden and Anais at Target

Orla Kiely for Aden and Anais at Target

LINKAGE:

We will be watching the goings-on at St. Mary’s Hospital almost around the clock, and will continue to update as warranted.