Mar 012012
 

Kate broke with tradition today, selecting a non-British designer for her appearance with the Queen and the Duchess of Cornwall. The trio visited Fortnum and Mason’s flagship store in Piccadilly, the event marking rejuvenation efforts in that area of central London.

Fortnum & Mason

Kate chose a lovely blue coat by M Missoni, the diffusion line from parent brand Missoni. All three royal women were in shades of blue, clearly some color coordination went on ahead of time.

Toby Melville - Ian Jones Photography/SplashNews.com

The collarless coat featured multiple panels in the back, exposed seams, and fringe trim at the neck and down the front placket.

In the UK M Missoni is carried at Selfridge’s, Harvey Nichols and Harrod’s in the UK, although Simon Perry, People magazine’s chief foreign correspondent, shared that the coat was something of a bargain.

Simon Perry Twitter Feed (@SPerryPeopleMag)

Kate’s coat is similar to another M Missoni garment, the cut, exposed seams and fringe are the same on this coat, although it is made from woven cotton, as opposed to the knit bouclé seen on Kate.

The Outnet

It also has characteristics of these past season pieces at Nordstrom and The Outnet.

Nordstrom/The Outnet

Our thanks to WKW FB friend Michelle (aka Shellie Bells on Twitter), she spotted the blue jacket on the far left that is the shorter version of Kate’s coat and was good enough to share the photo with everyone.  We also want to thank Elisa Roche of the Daily Express for sharing confirmation the coat was definitely a M Missoni piece.

The regal group received hampers laden with goodies from the upscale grocer.  From The Telegraph’s story:

They laughed as they rummaged through their goodies and spotted the “hearty treats for happy hounds”.

While the Queen is known for her love of corgis, Kate and William recently acquired a cocker spaniel they have named Lupo.

Another look at Fortnum’s interior:

Fortnum & Mason Piccadilly

Kate wore two daffodils while Her Majesty and Camilla wore leek brooches, in honor of St. David’s Day. He is the patron saint of Wales, daffodils and leeks are both symbols honoring Welsh heritage; all three women were presented with bouquets of fresh daffodils upon leaving Fortnum’s.

The British Monarchy

More on the visit from Hello!:

As a military wife, Kate was particularly interested to meet staff working on the Gifts For Troops scheme, an initiative which sends packages to soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

We saw the return of Kate’s Rupert Sanderson Malone heels in grey suede, previously seen at Order of the Garter events back in June. The shoe features a rounded toe and 4″ heel, it is currently stocked in all sizes, selling at €425, about $565 at today’s exchange rates.

Rupert Sanderson

We also saw the return of Kate’s Hope Egg earrings by Links of London.

Links of London

Kate also repeated the well known blue Zara dress first seen the day after her wedding, repeated for Prince Philip’s 90th birthday.

One of the more intriguing things about Kate’s ensemble today is what was omitted: she carried no clutch or other handbag, something of a departure for the Duchess.

It was also a repeat appearance for the Queen’s ensemble by Angela Kelly (Majesty Magazine’s Joe Little shared that it was first worn in Oman in 2010), Camilla was in a navy and cream Bruce Oldfield coat.

One of the topics discussed with Kate while inside the store was tea, People has more:

She apparently likes it, too. “I would really like to learn to make the perfect cup of tea, as when I last made a pot of tea with dried tea leaves I got it very wrong,” Kate admitted.

Fortnum’s has also unveiled their Diamond Jubilee gift collection.

Fortnum & Mason

We thought it a strong sartorial selection by Kate. Some found the look too staid, saying it was “boxy” and “too old,” while others had more favorable feelings about the style. I am among the latter group, thinking it was ideal for the occasion: a classic cut that was understated but also elegant, and appropriate to the occasion, not something that was likely to distract or overshadow the Queen, a paramount concern. It was a beautiful blue that is very pretty with Kate’s coloring, it was also nice to see her in something other than earth tones.

In conjunction with its story about the appearance The Mirror is running an online poll asking if the choice is a fashion “hit… or Missoni”, here is how the voting looks:

The Mirror

For The Telegraph’s video, click here.

The Telegraph

ITV also has a nice story, its video may be found here.

ITV

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Our other item today is quite lighthearted, it deals with something near and dear to many fashion fans: shoes. As some readers may know, next week the Jubilee Tour is officially launched in Leicester, in central England. The Queen, Prince Philip and Kate will be in Leicester for a dizzying number of events, including a competition among students from the Footwear Design course at De Montfort University.  More than 100 students took part in the competition, the list is now down to 6 finalists.

Kate will pick the winning design herself while visiting DMU, and the shoe will then actually be created and she will wear it. How amazing would that be for any young designer, let alone students working hard to learn their craft? Once word of the competition was public, the always-on-top-of-things Carly from Kate Middleton Style blog suggested a poll might be fun, letting WKW readers select their favorite of the six designs.

Not one to turn aside a brilliant idea, we share all six designs (you can see them on the DMU Facebook page), as well as some background information on each.

We begin with a royal blue shoe by Becka Hunt.

Becka Hunt / De Montfort University Leicester

This design is crafted from blue suede with beaded lace overlay, and we all know how much The Duchess enjoys her lace.  The styleboard shows that there would be no platform, the heel would not be “too high,” not more than 3″ to 4″.  Ms. Hunt counts Jimmy Choo and Alexander McQueen among her idols, sharing more about her inspiration in a Peterborough Today story:

“My design is inspired by 19th century fashions and based around the things Kate wears, her engagement ring and her style.”
She said: “I love her fashion sense. She’s really elegant.”

You can read the entire story about Ms. Hunt by clicking here.

Kay Yeng-Chen’s shoe sits atop a sizable platform, similar to that of Kate’s nude Sledge heels from LK Bennett.

Kay Yeng-Chen/De Montfort University Leicester

The primary motif is that of a fairytale, showcased in lavender and fuchsia.

Mei Chun-Lai created a design that celebrates the Year of the Dragon.

Mei Chun-Lai/De Montfort University

The shoe’s shape is inspired by Chinese lanterns, the primary colors are orange and blue. Ms. Chun-Lai shares more of her idea with This is Leicestershire:

“Kate’s style is really elegant but I think she might choose something a bit different with this, maybe.”

In his design Sam Sawkill also used lace, incorporating an English rose theme.

Sam Sawkill/De Montfort University

He told The Mirror:

Sam said: “I wanted to make a cool and sexy shoe for a formal occasion and it’s fantastic to have been shortlisted but it would be great to be selected over all as it would get me recognised as a designer.”

Summer Spencer uses colors from Kate and William’s Coat of Arms in her design.

Summer Rose Spencer/De Montfort University

The tartan plaid is used as a reminder of the couple’s time at the University in Scotland. This student is also smart, demonstrating  her familiarity with shoes previously seen on Kate, including the blue “Art” courts worn to to open Darwen Academy.

Tabitha Duffield has created a classic shoe with what looks like a fairly high heel in nude and soft pink.

Tabitha Duffield/De Montfort University

But Ms. Duffield has also updated the silhouette with laser-cut flowers and a flourish at the back, she shares thoughts all of the finalists would echo More from this student, again via This is Leicester:

“It would mean the world if she chose my design. The fact this competition has even come our way is amazing.”

It is obviously a talented group of young designers, it was fun reading the reasons certain elements and themes were chosen for inclusion in the designs.

Now it’s time for you to vote: of these six designs, which shoe do you think best reflects Kate’s taste and is the one she is most likely to select?

[polldaddy poll=5997217]

Mar 282011
 

Welcome to another ‘catch-up’ post, as we continue getting up to speed on some of the more important, or notable garments worn thus far by Kate Middleton. A piece definitely fitting under this heading would be the Reiss dress seen in one of the two formal engagement photos by Mario Testino.

PHOTO: Reiss

The dress worn by Miss Middleton is the Nannette style by Reiss, a company we hadn’t previously heard of until the photos were released last fall. Here is what was originally posted on the company’s blog:

The Nannette dress that Kate is wearing comes as part of our core dress offering that we are renowned for. While this particular style is not currently available, there will be a version coming out mid January as part of our SS11 collection

Reiss Blog

A description of the dress from The Daily Mail:

“The Nannette dress has 3/4 sleeves, an asymmetric draped neck line, paneled waist band and side pockets and an overlay on the front skirt.

It features a cascading frill alongside an exposed zip that fastens the dress at the front.”

While more dresses were briefly available, they sold out almost immediately. A number of comments on the Reiss blog provide more timely information for those still interested in acquiring the dress:

“Due to the unprecedented demand, we are not taking orders for this dress at the moment, keep an eye on the website for further updates. If you’re not a fan of our facebook, we would encourage you sign up as you’ll be the first to know.”

“We’re sorry you didn’t manage to get hold of the dress, due to the unprecedented demand we sold out within hours.”

The dress is one of those garments that looks unremarkable on the hanger, it needs to be tried on before any sense of style emerges.

One of the more interesting aspects about Miss Middleton’s dress choice is the fact the dress was more than two years old.  Here is a portion of comments on that fact from the Huffington Post:

“….Kate looks uncommonly chic in a dress that she has owned for 2 years from her very own closet. The dress is a rich looking winter white by UK store Reiss.

She has always been one to buy off-the rack from popular retailers (the High Street), but wearing an off-the rack dress from two years ago ushers in a new era of royal fashion accessibility.”

Miss Middleton accessorized with white topaz earrings by Links of London.

Links of London

(The Hope Egg Earrings are also sold out.)

Mary Hall’s HuffPo story on the photos posits that “thrift is the new chic”:

“I’ve written before about Kate’s style essentials. She has always been one to buy off-the rack from popular retailers (the High Street), but wearing an off-the rack dress from two years ago ushers in a new era of royal fashion accessibility. When Diana Spencer was still Lady Diana she also choose an off the rack garment for her engagement photo.  Remember the charmingly demure blue suit she wore from Harrod’s with the blouse with the little tie bow at the neck?”

Multiple references have been made linking that blue suit with Miss Middleton in her blue Issa dress (more on that here).

As an FYI, Prince William is wearing a Turnbull & Asser shirt, and it turns out he actually borrowed the sweater he is wearing from photographer Mario Testino as the pictures were being shot.