We are back with the long-overdue dress polls. In an effort to keep them as manageable as possible we have divided the dresses into three categories:
- more casual dresses
- dressier frocks
- previously worn garments
I did the best I could trying to sort them into appropriate groups, hopefully everyone will be comfortable with how things are categorized.
We begin with the more casual styles. In February Kate opted for a dress by Jesire when visiting the National Portrait Gallery. The double-breasted dress had an exaggerated shawl collar, three-quarter sleeves and full skirt. There was a bit of chatter after Kate’s appearance that the defunct label might be revived, that no longer seems likely.
The Duchess was in an older-season dress by Oasis for her solo visit to Liverpool on Valentine’s Day 2012. The always-on-top-of-things Kate Middleton Style Blog says the knit dress is an older piece, the most we can add is that the turtleneck dress has long sleeves, and it is knee length.
Kate was busy last February, on the 21st she visited Oxford for engagements with the Art Room. She wore a piece by Irish designer Orla Kiely, the Birdie Shirt Dress. Made of a wool jacquard fabric, the dress has deep pleats in the skirt, side seam pockets, oversized buttons and self-belt.
We saw another Kiely dress in March when Prince Charles and Kate visited the Dulwich Gallery. The dress has a floral motif applique at the front neck, full pleated skirt, three-quarter sleeves and a self-belt. It was part of the brand’s autumn 2011 collection.
For her first public speaking engagement in March Kate wore a rich blue dress by Reiss to The Treehouse, a new children’s hospice being opened by EACH. The ‘Trina’ is from an older season, Kate’s mother, Carole Middleton, is said to have worn the dress to Ascot in 2010. It is double-breasted with an elaborate, oversized collar, scoop pockets at the hip and horizontally pieced fabric about 8 inches above the hem.
Kate wore Amanda Wakeley’s “Sculpted Felt Seamed dress” when visiting the Imperial War Museum with Prince William in April of last year. The fitted dress has three-quarter length sleeves, a slash neck and seam detailing. It came in three colors when originally released, the Duchess was in the Oatmeal version for an engagement at Royal Marsden Hospital in September 2011. The dress gets its name from its “felled seams,” a tailoring technique for a more polished finish on seams.
While Kate and Lupo watched William and Harry play polo she wore a Libelula dress, the Rebecca mermaid blue and brown petal. The knee-length dress is 100% silk, it has contrasting trim at the collar, waist, cuffs and buttons.
Many Diamond Jubilee events were in June of last year, our next item is from the Jubilee Concert on June 4th. Photographs were minimal (at best), Kate was in the ‘Bella Body Conscious Dress’ by Whistles. The fitted dress is shirred at the waist and has an exposed metal zipper on the back; it is mostly silk although the lining is primarily polyester.
Kate wore a Stella McCartney dress in July for an appearance at the National Portrait Gallery, the designer’s ‘Ridley’ stretch dress. The most distinctive feature of this piece: the darts on the outside of the garment, usually they are concealed inside a garment. The form fitting dress is is from the fall 2010 collection, it is made of a viscose/acetate blend with a touch of elastane for stretch, and features short sleeves and a hidden back zipper frock.
In July Kate joined Harry & William for the announcement of a new charitable initiative, she wore the ‘Wessex’ dress from Hobbs spring/summer 2012 collection. The piece has a modified boat neck, short sleeves, fitted waist, and full skirt.
While visiting the Solomon Islands on the Royal Tour the Duchess went with a sunny yellow Jaeger dress for a busy morning of activity. The dress was knee length, with cap sleeves, a button front, shirt collar, fitted top, full skirt, and a self-belt.
Another dress we saw during the tour: Mulberry’s knee-length, sleeveless style in ‘midnight navy’.
An “independent dressmaker” created this primrose yellow frock, design elements include a boat neckline, self-belted waistline and unlined short sleeves.
For the last day of their overseas Tour Kate wore Project D London, the Penelope dress. The silk crepe de chine frock has a fold-down collar, cuffed short sleeves, box pleats and an invisible zipper on the front.
When making the historic visit to Cambridge this November Kate wore two pieces by MaxMara Studio, her coat and the dress underneath. The dress has a gathered waist, elbow-length sleeves, full skirt and round neck. It looks to be made of a sheer silk chiffon with a nude underlining.
Now it’s your chance to cast your vote!
For our look at “dressier” pieces (that was the best term I could come up with) we begin with a dress initially worn when Kate and William traveled to Denmark in 2011 for UNICEF. It was worn again when Kate visited Newcastle in October, and then once more at the unveiling of her portrait (shown below). We’re talking about the Sofie Rae dress by Whistles: 100% silk, with a deep vee neckline and what some call a granddad collar, there is also significant fabric gathering at the waist and shoulder.
Next, the Matthew Williamson Kate wore to the April premiere of African Cats, a fundraiser for the Tusk Trust. The dress is originally from Mr. Williamson’s pre-fall 2012 collection, additional embellishment of the ornate beadwork was added to the neckline on Kate’s version. This piece also has an exposed zipper in the back and that peplum detailing Kate is so fond of.
In May we saw Kate wear a soft pink dress by Emilia Wickstead for two different functions. The first was the Sovereigns’ Luncheon on May 18 (center & right photos), the second a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on the 29th. Kate’s dress was knee length with a full pleated skirt. It also features a fitted bodice with concealed off-center closure and an inset waistband above the skirt.
For the Queen’s Jubilee River Pageant in June Kate wore a bright-red crepe dress Alexander McQueen dress from the pre-fall 2011 collection. The dress is 100% wool, featuring a fitted top with cut-out front hem, pleated skirt and a hidden back zipper. (Kate’s version had sleeves added.)
Kate wore another piece by McQueen for the solemn Jubilee Service of Thanksgiving The knee length dress showcased exquisite lace atop a white or ivory base, long sleeves, a modified boat neckline, and satin ribbon or sash detailing at the waist.
There were more ceremonial events in June of last year, including Trooping the Colour on the 16th. The Duchess chose a silvery grey frock by Erdem, a fully bespoke piece created especially for her. The dress was based on the designer’s classic sheath profile, incorporating several of Erdem’s signature design elements: a gored bodice, seamed waist, three-quarter sleeves.
When attending the wedding of her close friend, Alice St. John Webster, Kate went to a label she has worn previously, Beulah London. She wore the Blossom Dress, made of 100% silk chiffon, with pleating on the shoulders and cuffs, there is also a thin tie around waist.
The Royal Tour showcased several styles that were more formal in line and fabric, including Kate’s first look in Singapore, it was created by Jenny Packham. The dress for welcoming ceremonies and a visit to the famed Botanic Gardens was pale pink, showcasing hand-painted orchids, a kimono inspired neckline/waist detailing, as well as three-quarter sleeves.
For a State Dinner hosted by the President of Singapore, Tony Tan Keng Yam, the Duchess chose a dress by Singapore-born designer Prabal Gurung. The wool-silk blend dress featured a dramatic print, bateau neckline, three-quarter sleeves, and a concealed zipper.
Kate returned to Erdem for another Tour frock, this one worn to a reception at Eden Hall, the British High Commissioner’s residence. The Duchess’s dress was a modified version of a piece from the designer’s spring collection, crafted of silk chiffon with a pleated skirt, exposed back and flyaway sleeves. (The sleeves were the element added to Kate’s frock.)
Kate returned to Jenny Packham for another custom frock on the Tour, this one for a solemn visit to the Kranji War Memorial. The dress featured a button front bodice, lace overlay on the bodice and sleeves, a full, pleated skirt, done in ‘duck egg blue’ color.
We enjoyed another elegant look when the Duchess donned a style by Alice Temperley for tea at the British High Commissioner’s residence in Kuala Lumpur. The piece is from the designer’s fall 2012 collection, it features that exquisite white embroidery contrasting with an almost Wedgwood blue lining, bateau neckline, flared skirt and sheer three quarter sleeves.
One of the more challenging items to identify this year was the dress worn underneath an elegant black dress coat that Kate wore for an evening out in October. After much detective work it turns out Kate was wearing another piece from Reiss, a dress dating back to 2009, the Rozalia. With apologies for the less-than-stellar photos, it’s all I can find, but I felt I should include this one.
Our final piece in the ‘dressy dresses’ category is another Temperley, the Esmeralda. Kate wore a version of this style to the Buckingham Palace reception for Team GB members in late October, clearly, her garment was embellished with sequins and lace.
That wraps up our new styles, it’s time to vote.
Now we move to our final category, dresses Kate has previously worn. Our first is the iconic blue Zara dress Kate wore the day after she married William, then reprised for the church service of thanks to celebrate the 90th birthday of Prince Philip. In 2012 Kate wore it for engagements in Nottingham, you can just a bit of it peeking out from behind the M Missoni coat in the photo below left.
When William, Harry & Kate all attended Emily McCorquodale’s wedding in June the Duchess brought back a Jenny Packham dress worn on the 2011 North American Tour. It was the “de Gournay silver and marble grey hand-painted chinoiserie silk dress, seen on the Duchess during the polo match in Santa Barbara, California.
We saw Kate bring back her Reiss ‘Peacock’ dress, wearing it for Order of the Garter ceremonies in June. She first wore this piece to the Epsom Derby in June of 2011 (shown below right). The dress was tough to spot under Kate’s much-loved McQueen coat (below left), but fashion fans were able to discern it was the Peacock. The style has corded embroidery on the bodice, a round neck, cinched-in waist, and full skirt that is heavily lined.
Kate repeated her Alexander McQueen ‘Sailor Dress,’ although it is actually separates it seemed more appropriate to include it with the dresses category. The dress was first worn on July 4 of 2011, in Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island (seen below right), part of the North American Tour. This time the Duchess wore it to watch tennis at Wimbledon in early July (left & center photos).
For Kate’s second trip to Wimbledon last summer she brought back another frock first seen on the 2011 Tour, Joseph’s ‘Vanessa’ dress. The piece was described this way: “sleeveless scoop-neck dress features grosgrain banding and ruching at the waist. Vertical grosgrain banding at hidden back zip. Serged edges at neckline and at arm openings, lined skirt.”
We also had another look at the Roksanda Ilincic ‘Peridot’ dress, initially worn for Kate and William’s arrival in Los Angeles in 2011, seen last year for a GREAT Campaign reception. The dress is described as ‘light blue-grey with cap sleeves, a draped neck to one side with pleats down to waistband, pleated skirt, white tulle neckline and cuff trim, exposed centre back zip and beige grosgrain front tie.”
Our final ‘previously seen’ dress was worn to the Natural History Museum last November when Kate was on hand to officially open a new gallery. It is the ‘Full Pleated Shirt Dress’ from Mulberry, featuring a Peter Pan collar, pleats just about everywhere, and long sleeves gathered at the cuff. The 100% silk material has Mulberry’s Peace and Love pattern woven into it, and the color is officially called cabbage.
I am eager to see how the voting turns out on all three of these groups.