May 112012

It was another formal affair for Kate and William tonight, they were guests of honor at the Greatest Team Rises event, something of an official launch party for Team GB and ParalympicsGB, marking the final countdown to the Games. The Duchess returned to a favorite designer for tonight’s gown, Jenny Packham.

Once royal journalists tweeted word that Kate was wearing Jenny Packham, the brilliant Anna of My Small Obsessions rapidly discovered the dress Kate’s was modeled after.


Kate is in a bespoke version of Jenny Packham’s ‘Aspen’ gown, a design showcasing beautiful silk chiffon, light and lacy cap sleeves and an ornately embellished waist. All the design traits combine for a knockout dress, this one is a head-turner.

We see another angle from the always wonderful David Wilkinson of CNN, he shared this image as Kate and William arrived.

David Wilkinson Twitter Feed

The back of the dress is exquisite, arguably prettier than the front.

This is how Jenny Packham describes the frock:

The style combines an emerald lace bodice embellished with Swarovski crystals and a pleated skirt, ribbon waisted with a crystal and flower embellishment and matching bespoke clutch bag.

Here we zoom in a bit to better show the stunning lace and shimmering crystals.

That image also shoes Kate’s elaborate updo of multiple braided sections. Below you can see a side angle of the style, as well as what appear to be new earrings for Kate, rhinestone or diamond-set dangles.

The dress is lovely, here we see it in a photo spread at Miss Bush Bridal Wear.

Photos: Eddie Judd Photography via Miss Bush Bridal Wear

Below we have another look at on model Ally Murray, she actually tweeted her delight in wearing the dress.

Ally Murray Twitter Feed

The MSRP on the Aspen gown was £2875, approximately $4620 USD at today’s exchange rates.

Kate carried a matching clutch in the same silk and lace, she also sported the glittering Jimmy Choo Vamp dress sandals.

Splash News

The shoes remain available on the Jimmy Choo website and also at Nordstrom.

Jimmy Choo

Guests signed messages of support for Olympic and Paralympic athletes on their way in to the event, below we see 5-time Olympic rower Sir Steve Redgrave writing well wishes, with thanks once again to CNN’s David Wilkinson for sharing his wonderful photos.

David Wilkinson/CNN Twitter Feed

More on the event from People‘s story:

Five-time gold medal-winning rower Sir Steve Redgrave escorted Kate into dinner, which included free-range chicken, lightly smoked ham-hock terrine, slowly braised British beef on spring cabbage and pancetta, and bitter chocolate mousse on shortbread, accompanied by passion fruit yogurt and freeze-dried mango and coconut.

Tonight saw the first performance of “One Vision,” the official Team GB and ParalympicsGB song, as well as other excitement, including adventurer/survivalist Bear Grylls making an aerial entry.

Team GB Twitter Feed

William addressed the crowd before dinner, Hello! magazine editor Rosie Nixon posted this photo.

Rosie Nixon, Hello! Magazine Twitter Feed (@Rosie_Nixon)

Paul Harrison of Sky News shared some of William’s remarks via Twitter.

Paul Harrison, Sky TV Twitter Feed (@SkyNewsRoyal)

The Duke also displayed his sense of humor:

Paul Harrison, Sky News (@SkyNewsRoyal)

This was an outstanding look for Kate, the gown offers a level of sophistication that very much suited her. The rich teal or turquoise (the jury is out on the precise color) enhanced Kate’s coloring, while the sheer elements of the frock provided a little va-va-voom without being inappropriate. The Duchess oozed elegance without being overpowering, a very tough combination to pull off.

As A Petite Princess pointed out, this is the second time we know that Kate has chosen a designer’s bridal gown for a formal event, Kate wore a bespoke version of a Temperley bridal dress to the War Horse premiere (more on that here) in January.

Splash News/Vogue Australia

The Telegraph’s story is here, Daily Mail’s story on the event may be found here, and a nice ITV video piece is here.

ITV News

The BBC’s story is here.

BBC News


We have a few quick updates to share as well this evening, beginning with word that Kate will be attending an upcoming garden party, Rebecca English of the Daily Mail has the exclusive story:

The Duchess of Cambridge is to notch up another major royal first when she attends a garden party at Buckingham Palace later this month.

Considered to be one of the highlights of the summer season, all eyes will be on Kate as she joins the Queen to take tea with 8,000 guests in the gardens of the royal residence, Mail Online can exclusively reveal.

Unfortunately the Duchess will have to carry out the engagement on her own as her husband, Prince William, cannot get time off from work at RAF Valley on Anglesey where he is a Search and Rescue pilot.

Rebecca reports the date hasn’t yet been disclosed because of security reasons. As soon as we know when it is we’ll be sure to let you know.

Also new since yesterday, photos of Kate on a camping trip with Lupo and some Scouts, PopSugar has the photos.

The event is part of Kate’s volunteer work with Scouting, she sported Paige Denim’s ‘Skyline Peg’ jeans (WKW Facebook friends Kerianne identified the jeans, Ashley Margot received confirmation from Paige), Le Chameau boots and an unidentified gilet.

UPDATED: Feb 2014: It turns out the vest is from UK retailer John Lewis.

The vest is shown in an eBay auction, discovered by eBay seller CopyKate. The piece is made of brown leather, with a full front zipper, interior drawstring waist and front pockets. (The vest has long been out of stock.) I have updated the original blog post, but wanted to note this is a great reminder for me: even retailers and designers can be mistaken in claiming an item is theirs, as in this instance.


One final note tonight, a quick reminder to be sure and enter the Great Kate $500 Giveaway from Shop It To Me. To learn more about the contest, read yesterday’s post. Or, scan this shortened version of things:

  1. Sign up for Shop It To Me (either at or
  2. Leave a comment on this post telling us your favorite Kate-inspired clothing brand.
  3. For an extra entry, tweet this and let us know you did: Hope I win the @WhatKateWore @ShopItToMe $500 Kate Middleton-inspired shopping spree! To enter, RT and visit

Good luck!


May 082012

While we have a little break in appearances we thought it a good time to peruse some of the spring and summer looks from designers/retailers the Duchess is fond of wearing.

We begin with a few styles from Reiss; I’m not convinced we will see Kate in loads more from this retailer (she seems to be leaning toward other designers), but I do think she will continue to wear the brand. Below we show the Carine dress.

Reiss Carine Dress

The Carine shows a number of design details Kate favors, including the ‘fit and flare’ silhouette, as well as the embellished bodice. Another frock with style features that Kate likes, the Nerissa, with a lacy look and once again, that wrapped waist and neckline detailing.

Reiss 'Nerissa' Dress

Here is a dress combining multiple elements of Kate’s Reiss Shola & Peacock dresses, the skirt is also reminiscent of the blue Zara dress wore the day after her wedding.

Reiss Kana Dress

That is the Kana Dress from Reiss, it also comes in a sunny yellow similar to Kate’s Jenny Packham dress, more than almost any other Reiss frock this one seems to exhibit features the Duchess looks for in a dress.

More Reiss dresses, from left to right, the Forella in stone, the Hetty in white (perhaps Wimbledon?), and the Edina.


Some Reiss items that carry a ‘Kate-ish look’ from the front are not-quite-so-Kate once the back of the garment is seen, like the Heidi.

Reiss Heidi

Two more possibilities, the Reiss Brandy and Magda dresses.

Reiss Brandy & Magda Dresses

Our final group from Reiss includes (from left to right) the Carlie in teal (offered in graphite as well, a very Kate-like color), the Bridge in firebrick (it also comes in fawn and black, the fawn seems a possibility) and Sophie in indigo.


There are several other things that would work for the Duchess, we’ll have to wait and see if she chooses any of them!


No one will be surprised to see pieces by LK Bennett featured in this space, we begin with the Cleo dress.  I doubt we will see Kate in the Raspberry or Maya Blue (turquoise), the purple seems like a possibility.

LK Bennett 'Cleo' Dress

One consideration, there is a matching jacket for the Cleo.

LK Bennett Cleo Jacket

LK Bennett launched its Black Ribbon line this spring, comprised of pieces considered a bit more upscale in construction and material, a touch more sophisticated in design.  From that new collection we show the ‘Kay‘ & ‘Ivina‘ Dresses, both have the side ruching detail Kate is so fond of, as well as necklines that are a step removed from more common designs.

LK Bennett 'Kay' & 'Ivina' Dresses

As an FYI, the new collection is exclusively available online and through Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge and L.K.Bennett stores in the UK. Below, the Errina jacket and Hallie blouse, both styles that seem ‘very Kate’.

LK Bennett Errina Jacket & Hallie Blouse

Other possibilities include the new Bello Cardigan and Dellio Top

LK Bennett Bello Cardigan & Dellio Top

Another dress in the new collection is the “Hiley,” below we see it on literary agent Felicity Blunt, she was at LK Bennett’s party last week celebrating its new store in the city. (More on that in a moment.)

LK Bennett/Scott Rudd -

As promised, we have a quick glance at LK Bennett’s brand new flagship in New York.

LK Bennett

The new store is located in the Time Warner center, it officially opened last month.

LK Bennett

Women’s Wear Daily reported on the party last Wednesday celebrating the store’s opening:

British accessories brand L.K. Bennett has gotten a bit of a bump in the last year thanks to the Duchess of Cambridge’s occasional favoring of its preppy — make that Sloaney — wears. It makes sense, then, that the retailer has made its way to New York as part of a wider U.S. rollout. On Wednesday night, a handful of Brits and American Anglophiles toasted the brand’s New York flagship…

If a trip to the city isn’t on your itinerary and you aren’t close to any of the other free standing US stores (Atlanta, Chicago, Houston), don’t give up hope, Fashionista offers this:

Robert Bensoussan, LK Bennett’s executive chairman, told the publication, “We think we could go to 20 stores in the US very quickly.”

If interested in seeing more photos of the new store, visit the LK Bennett Facebook page.


We move to our last group of things we believe Kate might wear, again looking at a brand the Duchess clearly likes, Links of London.  Most readers are familiar with some of the Links pieces Kate is frequently seen wearing, below we see her on one of the many occasions she wore the Hope Egg earrings.

Canadian Heritage/Links of London

Imagine my surprise when Anna of My Small Obsessions and WKW Facebook Friend Keriane shared word that the Duchess has been wearing the Hope Ring by Links of London.

Links of London

Like the earrings, the ring is sterling silver, awash in sparkling white topaz stones. Both ladies believe Kate has been wearing the ring for several years.

There is also a coordinating pendant, as well as Hope pieces without the white topaz, like the earrings on the right.

Links of London Hope Collection

Another style seen with some regularity, Kate’s Effervescence Bubble Stiletto earrings.

Canadian Heritage/Links of London

I didn’t realize how many other pieces there are in the Collection, including this matching bracelet.

Links of London Effervescence Bubble Bracelet

The piece has the same lavender iolites as those seen in the earrings.

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Kate wearing pieces from the company’s London 2012 collection (Links is the creator of the Official Jewellery Collection for the London games this summer). Below we see the official Team GB Olympic and Paralympic Games charms.

Links of London

We know Kate will wear cause-related jewelry, as she did for the EACH function back in March (more on that here), sporting the group’s fundraising bracelet.

Press Association/EACH

So many people wanted to purchase the bracelet after seeing Kate wear it, the sales frenzy briefly knocked the EACH site offline. (It was merely a temporary issue, the site is fine and the bracelets are still available for only £10, EACH will ship them worldwide.)

That is why it wouldn’t be a stretch for Kate to be seen wearing the Links Official Team GB Band.

Links London Team GB Band

The bracelets are available here.


A couple of quick updates to your Kate Calendars:

  • William and Kate are out tonight, celebrating the Duke’s 30th birthday with a dinner at the exclusive Thirty Club at Claridge’s. William will speak to the group of advertising and media executives, as his mother did, and Prince Philip. (We’ll do a new post if there are photos from tonight’s event.)
  • This Friday, May 11, we’ll see the couple in their roles as Olympic Ambassadors as they attend the “Our Greatest Team Rises” concert at Royal Albert Hall.
  • a new appointment is on the schedule for the Duke & Duchess, they will join almost all the other royals for the Sovereigns’ Luncheon on May 18 at Windsor Castle, a very big deal with monarchs from all over the world, more on this function from the Windsor Express: “Buckingham Palace has announced they will join the Queen and other royals at the historic gathering of crowned heads from reigning monarchs from around the globe.  Those expected to attend include the Emperor of Japan, the King of Tonga, President Khalifa bin Zayed of the UAE, the Sultan of Brunei, and the Emir of Qatar.”


We’ll be back with another post before Friday’s gala, one that I think you’ll like, it involves a *fabulous* giveaway.

EDITOR’S NOTE: While we are proud to have Links of London as a WKW blog sponsor, they do not influence blog content. They did not ask me to write about their jewelry, nor have they ever done so.