Feb 212012

Kate chose Irish designer Orla Kiely for her engagements in Oxford today.

James Whatling/Splash News

James Whatling/Splash News

The Duchess was greeted by cheering crowds at Rose Hill Primary school and Oxford Spires Academy, she was visiting both on behalf of The Art Room, one of her patronages.

Georgina Brewer ITV Twitter Feed (@GeorginaITV)

More on the organization and its work from The Telegraph’s story:

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.”

British Monarchy

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.

Orla Kiely

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.

Orla Kiely

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.


There is also an Orla Kiely yoga mat created as a fundraiser for another of Kate’s charities, Action on Addiction.

Action on Addiction/Orla Kiely – Yoga Matters

Many will recognize Kate’s booties, they are the Aquatalia Rouge, originally noted by fashion fans when the Duchess joined her fiance at the time, William, for an appearance in Anglesey.

Via Aquatalia Passport to Style

The booties are now sold only at Nordstrom, they have been renamed the “Royal,” and appear to be available in all sizes as of this writing.

Kate also carried her black clutch and wore her Kiki McDonough Grace earrings.

Kiki McDonough

To learn more about the Art Room, visit its web page here, or its Facebook page here, or visit the group’s online shop.

For more on what Kate wore, the Mirror’s story is here, the Daily Mail piece is here, and the Telegraph’s is here.

The Telegraph

The BBC also has a video story up, as well as a slide show with wonderful (and large) photos, and The Independent’s stories (print & video) are found here.


Also today, a quick look at several style by designers at London Fashion Week.

McQ by Alexander McQueen held its first London show in quite some time, below we share two pieces well-suited to the Duchess, in a silhouette she seems to like.


If one added several inches in length to either of the red McQ frocks they would appear almost tailor-made for Kate.

NOW Fashion

Showing in London yesterday, Erdem.


The designer’s signature touches were evident: the lace overlays, circumspect hem lengths, along with sophisticated suits and dresses.


Simply put, the collection exuded a ladylike aesthetic, one Kate appreciates.


Today’s final note involves Kate and William’s dog, Lupo. That’s right, today it was revealed the four-legged family member has been named Lupo.

Feb 142012

Kate selected a Hobbs coat purchased back in September for her visit to Liverpool today.


It is the ‘Celeste” model in chestnut brown, here is a more detailed look at the coat.

Continue reading »

Feb 082012

Tonight Kate made what many are calling her first solo performance at an official public engagement, she attended a private viewing of the National Portrait Gallery’s Lucian Freud exhibit. The evening last October when she stepped in on behalf of Prince Charles for a charity dinner is apparently not considered a public engagement. (More on that evening here.)

The Duchess’s attire this evening definitely stymied Kate fashion followers.

Via Majesty Magazine Twitter

The Palace revealed it was made by now-defunct fashion brand Jesiré, a bit of a surprise for many Kate fashion aficianados. The double breasted coat dress had an exaggerated shawl collar, three-quarter sleeves and the full skirt style Kate is known to favor, she also wore an ornate belt.  Many of us have looked high and low, we’ve yet to locate any photos of this exact piece.

Here we see Kate speaking with Sarah Howgate, curator of the exhibit, and Sandy Nairne, he is the National Portrait Gallery Director.

Picture by Jorge Herrera © Jorge Herrera 2012 via National Portrait Gallery Facebook Page

Here is a better look at the back of the garment.

Frances Vale, Sky News Twitter

Kate accessorized with the glittering diamond bracelet and earrings we first saw in Canada, described only as being “a gift”.  She also wore the Asprey Button Pendant again, white pavé diamonds surrounding a central amethyst, all set in 18ct white gold.


We also saw the reappearance of Kate’s sky high black suede heels (previously discussed in this post), originally identified by WKW FB friend Ashley and others.  This evening we were able to look at an outstanding closeup of the shoe’s sole, the general consensus is now that these are the Jimmy Choo Cosmic.

Via Net-a-Porter

The heel really is high, 5″, but there is also a 1″ platform, making it less of a nightmare to walk in. More on the style from Net-a-Porter.

These shoes are part of the Jimmy Choo 24:7 capsule collection of best-sellers and classic styles that every woman should own. Jimmy Choo’s black suede pumps provide a chic foundation to any outfit. Wear them to punctuate a draped dress for a polished evening look.

The style can be found in many other shops, just not the black suede version. Kate also carried her black suede clutch with the tiny bow.

Many will remember that Kate’s degree from St. Andrews is in art history, the show is something very much up her alley. Also on hand for the event, Sir Paul McCartney’s daughter Mary, who is a photographer and a Museum Trustee. Other notables at the function included Lucian Freud’s daughter, Bella.

Reaction to Kate’s first big solo appearance from London media was interesting:

The Daily Mail:

The Duchess of Cambridge looked buoyed and confident as she embarked on her first solo engagement since joining the royal family.

Kate may have slipped on a belted Jesire coat dress (aka a Cress – consider it a formal Jacardigan) for the Lucian Freud Portraits exhibition but the subdued colour and black accessories are light (slash bright) years away from her favoured green and/or red frocks of late.

The Express:

THE Duchess of Cambridge looked every inch the confident royal tonight as stepped out for her first solo public engagement.

Below we see Kate leaving the Gallery.

Peter Hunt, BBC Twitter Feed

For those interested in learning more about the exhibit, tickets, etc., click here. The Gallery has a wonderful selection of items in its gift shop related to the Lucian Freud Portraits show.

National Portrait Gallery Shop

As far as upcoming engagements, not including the Liverpool appointments on the 14th, here is a snippet of the Telegraph’s story:

A spokesman for the Duchess said: “It’s an honour for the Duchess to be patron of such a distinguished body and having spent the last few months preparing for the role she has been looking forward very much to this.

“It marks the start of a six to eight-week period in which the Duchess will visit all of the charities of which she is Patron.”

The Daily Mail has a brief video of Kate’s arrival, it gives you an idea of the blinding flashbulbs she faces on occasions like tonight’s.

The Daily Mail

As far as Kate’s portrait being done, the London Evening Standard has more:

Kate, who broke with protocol when she refused to pose for a formal painting as a new royal bride, has begun talks to sit for her first official portrait.

Gallery director Sandy Nairne said: “It’s very early days, but we’ve started a discussion. It will be at least the summer before there’s anything concrete and we can start to look for an artist.”

The paper also has solid background on Kate’s initial meetings with the Gallery about being a patron.

Mr Nairne said: “It’s very exciting. She came to see us last September when she was deciding which organisations to support. She was fizzing with intelligent questions.”

This was a stellar appearance by Kate, the piece was tasteful, she accessorized elegantly and looked very nice.  It had to be somewhat daunting for the Duchess, making her first (or second, depending on your perspective) solo appearance, from all accounts she handled it with aplomb and looked lovely while doing so.