Kate opted for familiarity today, selecting favored brands for her engagements with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip as the UK portion of the Diamond Jubilee tour was launched.
Below we see Her Majesty and the Duchess as they are leaving London for Leicester this morning, the Queen was resplendent in another Angela Kelly ensemble, a cashmere coat and hat trimmed in black, Kate wore LK Bennett.
The British Monarchy/Clarence House
It was an important day for Kate, her first full day of official engagements with the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh. A high point of the morning was seeing Prince Philip looking so healthy.
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.
It also has characteristics of these past season pieces at Nordstrom and 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.Â 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.Â 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.
As a military wife, Kate was particularly interested toÂ 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 â‚¬425, about $565 at today’s exchange rates.
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.
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.
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.Â 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.Â The styleboard shows that there would be no platform, the heel would not be “too high,” not more than 3″ to 4″.Â 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.â€
She said: â€œI love her fashion sense. Sheâ€™s really elegant.â€
Sam said: â€œI wanted to make a cool and sexy shoe for a formal occasion and itâ€™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.â€
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, demonstratingÂ 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?
The Duchess, who studied history of art at university, chose The Art Room as one of the first four charities to which she has given her patronage, as she is a firm believer in the power of art to help build self-esteem.
The charity helps to fund art teachers who give children intensive sessions in a specially-designated part of each school, where they create objects they can take home and keep
The students created an apron for Kate, much like those worn by their Art Room teachers.
Mark Stewart (@RegalEyes)
Here we see Kate with one of the young artists at Rose Hill, watching students paint their interpretations of the famous Edward Lear poem “The Owl and The Pussycat.”
After her time at Rose Hill Kate moved on to Oxford Spires, where students eagerly awaited her arrival.
Twitter Feed (@MaxFosterCNN)
Below we see Kate being presented with flowers as she arrives.
The British Monarchy
The dress is officially called the Birdie Shirt Dress, crafted of a wool jacquard. The dress originally retailed at £325 ($485), but was on sale for £162 ($242), a discount of 50%.
Orla Kiely Birdie Print Dress
It features 4 oversized buttons on the front bodice, deep pleats at the waist front and back, pockets on the side seams and a self-belt.
The UK site offered the piece in Walnut and Turquoise, while the US site also carried it in Slate, all sizes at all online sites now appear to be sold out.
This talented designer is best known for her distinctive prints, her products have been sold handbags, stationery and other paper products, housewares and tabletop pieces, she also did a line for the Tate. You can visit the Orla Kiely shop here, and have a peek at her spring styles. If you would like a look at many of the Kiely style’s shown for London Fashion Week, they are in our previous post here.
Some US residents may have been first introduced to her work via her collaboration with Target in 2009.
She has even designed for cars and other motor vehicles, like this bus.