May 252016

We are back with a quick look at the new official photos of Kate.  In yesterday’s post we spoke about the new solo shot of the Duchess, something initially covered last Thursday. Then we saw another new official photo, this one of Kate and William together. That picture was shared on Twitter this morning by Paul Ratcliffe.

New Official Portrait Kate William by Chris Jelf via Paul Ratcliffe Twitter PDRatcliffe May 25 2016

©Chris Jelf via Paul Ratcliffe Twitter (@PDRatcliffe)

Mr. Ratcliffe received a ‘thank you’ from the Palace for his congratulatory correspondence to William and Kate on the occasion for their 5th anniversary.

Paul Ratcliffe Twitter (@PDRatcliffe)

Paul Ratcliffe Twitter (@PDRatcliffe)

The note on the card reads:

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were so touched that you took the trouble to write as you did on the occasion of their 5th Wedding Anniversary. It really was most thoughtful of you and Their Royal Highnesses send you their warmest thanks and best wishes.

Mr. Ratcliffe is a photographer who has been following the royal family for years. He says he has been “fascinated by the pomp and pageantry associated with the monarchy” since he was young. His blog, Royal Family Photography, showcases some of his work over the years. There are some lovely photographs, including many of the late Diana, Princess of Wales; I think you will enjoy visiting the site.

Now to the solo portrait of Kate.  It was initially seen when posted on Twitter by Stephen Connor while he attended the International Children’s Palliative Care Conference. Mr. Connor is the Executive Director of the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance and he shared the news that the Duchess sent a message of support to the Conference.

Stephen Connor (@

Stephen Connor  (@SRConnor)

It turned out Kate and  Archbishop Desmond Tutu were listed as Ambassadors in the Conference program.

Stephen Connor (@SRConnor)

Stephen Connor (@SRConnor)

Just yesterday we shared a photo of Kate’s letter of support, along with the new photo as published by E Hospice News.

E Hospice News

E Hospice News

Both of the new official photographs are by Chris Jelf. You may recall Mr. Jelf took the family photo used for the Cambridge Christmas card.

©Chris Jelf

©Chris Jelf

 Below, a closer look at the solo portrait of Kate by Mr. Jelf, shared by the International Children’s Palliative Care Network on the organization’s Facebook page .

©Chris Jelf via International Children's Palliative Care Network Facebook

©Chris Jelf via International Children’s Palliative Care Network Facebook

Kate wears a jacket that many of us thought bore resemblance to Rebecca Taylor styles. The tweedy, fringed look is something Ms. Taylor does very well, and Kate owns Rebecca Taylor pieces. But we were wrong, it turns out Kate is wearing a Philosophy by Alberta Ferretti piece. The ID was made by Melissa J on the What Kate Wore Facebook page.

©Chris Jelf/Lyst

©Chris Jelf/Lyst

The jacket was also offered in a rich, deep blue.

Kate New Chris Jelf Official Photo May 25 2016 Alberta Ferretti Philosophy Jacket White and Navy Blue Montage


The fitted jacket has front patch pockets, concealed front closure, three-quarter length sleeves and applied ribbon detailing at the collar, sleeves, front placket and the pockets. A closer look at the trim.



The jackets came with matching skirts.



As best we know this is a new brand for the Duchess. Philosophy is the Alberta Ferretti diffusion line targeting a younger demo, featuring more contemporary designs and lower price points. The brand is carried online at YOOX, as well as Barney’s Warehouse, and the Philosophy portion of the Alberta Ferretti website.

The Duchess appears to be in the Whistles Lina Dobby Skirt first seen in Los Angeles during the North American tour in 2011, although it is difficult to be sure without a full length view.



If for any reason Kate is in a different skirt she might have opted for something like this Joseph skirt, suggested by the ever-savvy Michelle from Perth Fashion.



There is nothing to suggest Kate is wearing a new skirt, this is merely a contemporary piece by a brand she favors.

The look reminds me of the separates worn to the Epsom Derby in 2011.

Kate New Chris Jelf Photo Official Philosophy Alberta Ferretti Jacket Epsom Derby 2011

Many thanks to Paul Ratcliffe, Anna of the Kate & Sophie blogs, and Melissa on the Facebook page for their contributions to the post!


Also today, a quick retail note about a shoe many were fond of, the Agata by LK Bennett.

Kate William ARK  June 2011 Jenny Packham Agata Polaris Splash May 25 2016

© Polaris/Splash

It was first worn to the ARK dinner in 2011, and now it has been reissued in new colors. Below left, the ‘pink mashmallow’ version ($395), and on the right, the new navy colorway ($425).

LK Bennett

LK Bennett

There are some differences between the new Agata and the style worn by Kate: the 2011 version is in the middle. On the left, you can see the new bow, which is wider than the 2011 version. On the right is the new black leather style ($395). With thanks to Lacey for her comment, the heel height is also significantly different: Kate’s style has a 4″ heel while the new Agata is listed at 2.7″.

LK Bennett

LK Bennett

It’s fun to see this shoe reissued, it is a favorite for many Kate fashion followers.

We leave you with this video released by Kensington Palace from last Friday when Kate went for a sail.

May 122016

We are back with an overview of Kate’s tour wardrobe, but first, two updates to Kate’s Calendar.

While we knew HM and Prince Philip were attending, we didn’t know about Kate, William & Harry taking part until seeing verification by Roya Nikkhah of The Sunday Times.

  • Monday, May 23: Kate, William & Harry will join HM, Prince Philip and other royals at the Royal Chelsea Flower Show.  This is the first time the Duke and Duchess will attend the show in their roles as senior royals. Some may recall the newly created Princess Charlotte chrysanthemum is in competition for Flower of the Year. (More about that here, scroll towards the end of the post.) I expect we will also see the royals spend time at the Field of Poppies exhibit featuring 300,000 individually crocheted poppies.

A quick refresher on the Princess Charlotte Chrysanthemum, taken from sister site What Kate’s Kids Wore: “…the Princess Charlotte flowers will help raise funds for EACH (East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices). Below, the ‘Rossano Charlotte,’ more commonly referred to as the Princess Charlotte chrysanthemum.


Deliflor Chrysanten Netherlands

The unique flower was created by Deliflor, the largest breeder of chrysanthemums in the world; it is distinguished by those light green tips on the pink flower petals. Deliflor and Beekenkamp Plants, a sister company, are donating 50% of royalties from plant sales to EACH. Kate is patron of EACH, it was one of her first patronages and it remains close to her heart.

The Field of Poppies exhibit is sure to be stunning. Below, an idea of how the exhibit will look as seen in this display at Melbourne’s Federation Square.

Secret London

Secret London

More info via Secret London:

The vision behind the exhibit is designer Phillip Johnson, who won Best Show Garden in 2013. He’s using thousands of individually crocheted poppies, which will cover more than 800 square-metres of the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea. The project is being done in partnership with 5000 Poppies,

The story behind 5000 Poppies is extraordinary.

Lynn Berry and Margaret Knight set out to crochet a humble 120 poppies to “plant” at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne Australia for Remembrance Day in 2013 in honour of their fathers Wal Beasley (14/32nd Battalion – Australian Imperial Forces) and Stan Knight (Queen’s Own West Kent Regiment – British Army).

It was this simple tribute of love and honour that sparked a massive community outpouring with an estimated 50,000 plus contributors to the project and hundreds of smaller localised installations throughout Australia, New Zealand and beyond.

You can learn more about 5000 Poppies here, as well as at the Flower Show site here.


Now to our primary topic, Kate’s sartorial selections for the recently completed tour of India and Bhutan. It’s something we’ll approach from two perspectives: one viewing tour ensembles strictly via numerics, the other sharing wardrobe critiques and thoughts from two renowned fashion columnists.

We begin with a look at ‘who’ Kate wore in terms of her cadre of ‘go-to’ designers; I counted 8 looks in total. Below you see the first four in this category: the blue Jenny Packham ensemble for the Bollywood fundraisertwo Temperley London styles, the brand’s Delphia separates worn to a birthday party for the Queen and the Desdemona lace dress Kate chose for lunch with the Prime Minister; and the Beulah London gown seen at a Bhutan reception.

© /Nunn Syndication, Polaris

©Splash News/Nunn Syndication, Polaris/Nunn Syndication, Polaris /Nunn Syndication, Polaris

The other four looks from Kate-favored brands: two styles by Emilia Wickstead and two from Alexander McQueen.


i-Images/i-Images/Splash News/i-Images

I considered adding the two Tory Burch styles to this group, but don’t think we’re at a point where Tory Burch is considered one of Kate’s “go to” luxury labels on the level of Temperley London, Alexander McQueen, Emilia Wickstead, Jenny Packham, and Beulah London.

Following are thoughts on the designers Kate chose from Vanessa Friedman, fashion director & chief fashion critic for The New York Times, in a story titled The Royal (Clothes) Tour of India.

The seven-day British royal tour of India and Bhutan….was an opportunity for many things, including benign national outreach and a show of good will between countries with a complicated history…

But it also raised the bar when it came to the modern art known as diplomatic fashion tradecraft, a.k.a. the use of a ceremonial political event to promote a specific national industry.

Consider the list, in no particular order, of British brands she wore on the tour: Alexander McQueen, Emilia Wickstead, Jenny Packham, Topshop, Paul & Joe,, L. K. Bennett, Mulberry, Rupert Sanderson, Accessorize/Monsoon, Russell & Bromley, Cassandra Goad, Temperley London, Kiki McDonough, Beulah, Pickett London, Jaeger, Really Wild and Penelope Chilvers.

As the tour just got underway, Lisa Armstrong, the Daily Telegraph’s Fashion Director wrote about Kate’s first three ensembles:

If the Duchess of Cambridge’s wardrobe choices for the first day of her India and Bhutan tour are anything to go by, then royal style enthusiasts are in for a week of her now signature deft balance of diplomacy, ease and classic glamour. Following in the footsteps of the Queen and Princess Diana, the Duchess’s three outfits each showed a respectful consideration for her host country, resulting in some beautifully bold colour choices, but also represented some of the best of British fashion.

Breaking pieces down by a brand’s home country offers the following data. (This is not about country of manufacture, but the country where the brands are located/headquartered.)

©2016 What Kate Wore

©2016 What Kate Wore

Ms. Armstrong’s column covered the history of the Alexander McQueen pattern worn by the Duchess when arriving in Mumbai.

Its decorative paisley print proved to be a masterful detail, subtly nodding to both Asian and British textile tradition.

The teardrop pattern was originally woven in the Kashmir region in the 11th century, eventually arriving in the United Kingdom via the East India Company in the 1700s. It became known as Paisley after the Scottish town which later began to produce sought-after scarves and fabrics in the swirling prints.

©Splash News/Alexander McQueen

©Splash News/Alexander McQueen

More from Ms. Armstrong’s piece about the first day’s outfits.

Kate enlisted another trusted British designer, Jenny Packham, to create a bespoke cobalt sari-like dress and shawl for the evening gala but care was taken to incorporate Indian elements; the intricate beading on the bodice and shawl was done in India while opulent blue earrings by Jaipur-based jewellers Amrapali finished the ensemble.

©Robin Nunn, Nunn Syndication, Polaris/James Whatling, Splash News

©Robin Nunn, Nunn Syndication, Polaris/James Whatling, Splash News

Here you have a closer look at the beading and handwork on the dress, shawl and handbag. If I’m not mistaken, many of the flowers are meant to be the lotus, India’s national flower.

Kate Bollywood Gala India Tour Blue Jenny Packham Gown Fabric and Handbag Clutch Closeups May 12 2016

Now to another piece in The Telegraph by Ms. Armstrong:

Which brings us to frockery: the art of using frocks to flatter nations.

Frockery requires rigorous research and tact. It must pay subtle yet unmistakable homage of to the traditions and crafts of the host country without laying itself open to accusations of cultural appropriation.

If all that weren’t sufficiently demanding of a frock, it must withstand the withering assault of a thousand mega-powered, fish-eyed, cruelly distorting lenses and the gazes of a gazillion fashion police. It must not turn transparent under flashlight, gust upwards even in a hurricane, crease, sag or droop. Underwear must never show…

Pieces that fit the description of that second paragraph above include the Anita Dongre dress worn in Mumbai and the kira-style skirt seen in Bhutan, crafted of fabric woven by local artisan Kelzang Wangmo.

©Nunn Syndication,Polaris/James Whatling, Splash News

©Nunn Syndication,Polaris/James Whatling, Splash News

The connection to the Duchess’s Taj Mahal dress was obvious; its designer, Naeem Khan, is from India. The red gown by Beulah London made sense for a function in Bhutan, it was covered with poppies, that country’s national flower.

Both Photos ©Robin Nunn/Nunn Syndication/Polaris

Both Photos ©Robin Nunn/Nunn Syndication/Polaris

At other times the significance was more nuanced, and occasionally overlooked, at least on my part, until pointed out by a source closer to the event. This is from a Times of India story:

Kate looks amazing in the multi-print Tory Burch chrissy dress. The multi-print pattern is a subtle nod to the Indian art.

That wasn’t something I had previously considered. I hope to make time for some more research on how things were received in India and Bhutan.

Back to Ms. Friedman’s column in The Times:

The clothes encompassed the very expensive (McQueen, Packham, Temperley), fast fashion (Topshop, Glamorous) and the already worn (one McQueen outfit), and they included shoes, bags and jewelry — all chronicled obsessively (and daily) in the British and fashion news media.

When it comes to color, here is the breakout: four pieces fell in the reddish/orange-ish category, one was yellow/gold.


©Splash News/Robin Nunn, Nunn Syndication, Polaris/Nunn Syndication, Polaris/Splash News/Robin Nunn, Nunn Syndication, Polaris

Two were all white (or ivory), 2 more were white with applied motifs, and didn’t readily fit in any color group.


©i-Images, Polaris/Nunn Syndication, Polaris/Nunn Syndication, Polaris/i-Images/James Whatling, Splash News

And we had two that were primarily pink, one in a minty green, one in blue & green, and the royal blue Packham gown.


©Nunn Syndication, Polaris /Splash News/Nunn Syndication, Polaris/Stephen Lock, i-Images/Splash News

That does not include the two casual ensembles featuring light tops with darker trousers.

© Robin Nunn, Nunn Syndication, Polaris/Robin Nunn, Nunn Syndication, Polaris

© Robin Nunn, Nunn Syndication, Polaris/Robin Nunn, Nunn Syndication, Polaris

There were three repeated styles seen on this tour:

Lisa Armstrong offered an interesting comment about Kate’s espadrille wedges in The Telegraph:

The ….Monsoon …. wedges are an odd yet endearingly Kate choice, and those £99 wedges have become a trademark, just as Launer bags are The Queen’s, and upturned brims and coats-and-matching-dresses were the Queen Mother’s.

Monsoon Wedge Two

Back to Vanessa Friedman’s Times column:

Compared with William and Catherine’s tour of the East Coast of the United States in 2014 (remember that?), the India trip stands out as a much more powerful piece of sartorial messaging, in part because it so consciously embraced British fashion as broadly as possible, leveraging the duchess’s influence to benefit the elite and the mass ends of the market — big names and those on the rise.

Put another way: She may have gone on a tour of India, but, in doing so, she also took everyone who was watching on a tour of the British clothing industry. That’s quite a trip.


Our final tidbit is not directly Kate-related, but something many of us have been following, the 2016 Invictus Games in Florida. This is a brief (1:16) video as the Closing Ceremony draws near.


May 092016

We begin today with news of two engagements added to Kate’s Calendar:

  • Monday, May 16: Kate, William & Harry will be at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for the official launch of Heads Together, the trio’s recently announced initiative aimed at destigmatizing mental health issues. They will meet with those benefiting from services provided by the charities that are part of the Heads Together partnership, as well as ambassadors for the charities, and sponsors supporting the campaign.
  • Friday, May 20: Kate will be in Portsmouth again in her role as patron of the 1851 Trust. She will launch two projects aimed at getting a more diverse mix of young people into sailing. Kate will introduce partnerships with the UKSA and the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation. This year the Trust will partner with the Foundation to offer free sailing lessons to young people in Portsmouth and the surrounding areas. The Duchess will also meet with students in a local STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths education) program; they are using STEM concepts in relationship to the America’s Cup challenge. (More info about this can be found here.) 


Next, our poll for footwear seen on the tour. We have divided this into two groups so the older pieces are in their own category; it didn’t make sense to have an oft-worn style like the Sebago Bala and the new Prada Nero Sandals in the same poll.

Our review of what shoes Kate wore on the tour begins with the LK Bennett Fern pumps. We saw them when Kate and William arrived in Mumbai, the Duchess accessorized her Alexander McQueen separates with the style. We saw the heels several times throughout the tour. (This shoe is available in limited sizes on the LK Bennett UK/International site. It is expected to be in stock on the US/CAN site in late May or June; LK Bennett suggests interested US/Canadian shoppers register their interest via their email signup page.)

LK Bennett/Polaris

LK Bennett/Polaris

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