Jan 062017
 

We are back with some quick updates and then the first of our pieces reviewing what Kate wore in 2016.

We begin with two new engagements on Kate’s Calendar next week.

  • Wednesday, January 11th: Kate and William will visit Child Bereavement UK’s London Centre; this is the Centre’s one year anniversary. The Duke & Duchess will see a Family Support Group session where children, their parents, and carers meet other families to explore themes of memories, feelings, support networks and resilience.  Prince William is the organization’s royal patron.
  • Wednesday, January 11th: The Duchess will also visit the Anna Freud Centre’s Early Years Parenting Unit (EYPU) to learn more about their work with families who have children under five years old. This is the Duchess’ second visit to the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families since she became the charity’s patron in May of last year.

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Also today, news about an honor I thought was announced last year, but apparently was not: Kate has been made an honorary lifetime member of the Royal Photographic Society.

©Todd G / Macca / Splash News

©Todd G / Macca / Splash News

The honor is not for the sort of photos Kate has taken on tour (above, Kate in Canada in July 2011), but for the pictures she has taken of Prince George and Princess Charlotte. From ta BBC story:

Chief executive Michael Pritchard praised the duchess for her “talent and enthusiasm” behind the lens. Kate, 34, took the first official photograph of Princess Charlotte when her daughter was born in 2015.

©HRH The Duchess of Cambridge

©HRH The Duchess of Cambridge

Back to that story:

Mr Pritchard said the society chose to recognise Kate for her “long-standing” interest in photography and its history. “She is latest in a long line of royal photographers and the society is pleased to recognise her talent,” he said.

1-pic-released-may-2016-princess-charlotte-pink-dress-george-holding-charlotte-as-infant-baby-jan-6-2017

©HRH The Duchess of Cambridge

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Now, to our primary topic, an in-depth look at what Kate wore in 2016. Strictly addressing apparel, unless otherwise mentioned, here are the themes that stood out:

  • Kate remains true to her practice of mixing designer pieces (e.g., Erdem, Jenny Packham, Temperley London and Alexander McQueen) with high street brands (like LK Bennett, Reiss, and Russell & Bromley), as well as fast fashion labels like H & M and Topshop.
  • The Duchess continues to champion the British and Scottish fashion industries, showcasing UK brands at engagements both home and abroad.
  • Kate wore styles from many of her ‘go-to’ designers, but also broadened the spectrum of labels in her closet, adding new styles by companies based in Italy, France, and the US.
  • Kate’s sartorial diplomacy skills were evident again this year. For both royal tours, she included pieces by high-end designers with local ties like Naeem Khan (India) and Sentaler (Canada), as well as mid-range companies like Anita Dongre.  She also wore very inexpensive items like the pair of artisan-made earrings she discovered at a tourist shop in Bhutan.

But the most striking theme about Kate’s clothing choices last year is one that transcends the others: it appears the Duchess decided to kick things up a notch, taking risks and injecting some bolder looks into her wardrobe. We saw a few daring designs that were a departure from Kate’s generally conservative aesthetic. And, we saw the Duchess embracing some contemporary trends more than she has in the past. It is unlikely we will ever know if this was a conscious decision Kate made, something she discussed with stylist Natasha Archer or something that happened gradually over the course of the year. It should be noted that for the majority of her appearances Kate was dressed in her more ‘standard uniform’ (for lack of a better term): a dress, often a sheath, fit and flare, or shirtwaist style, and heels with a coordinating bag. However, we are seeing Kate taking risks and trying new looks more frequently than we have in the past.

This change in approach was evident in the work of designers new to Kate’s closet: a total of 23 new brands if one includes pieces worn on the India/Bhutan and Canada tours.  With one exception, we only included apparel brands in the count, not accessories or jewelry. This excludes items like the Monreal sweat/track pants worn in Edinburgh, and the Henri Lloyd sailing separates, things unlikely to be seen at more formal engagements.

We’ll start our review with the tour wardrobes. These are separated from the rest of Kate’s ensembles because we’ll never really know if they are items she would have purchased were she not going on tour. I don’t know that the Duchess would have shopped for a maxi dress at Glamorous like the one worn in India, or purchased a Carolina Herrera coat were it not in that precise red matching the Canadian flag were she not going on tour. I should also note that we deliberately did not include the styles Kate wore for the British Vogue shoot as part of this post.

For an afternoon cricket match, Kate wore a new dress by Anita Dongre, one of India’s best-known designers. She chose the Gulrukh Tunic Dress ($236.60) in a classic pattern. When visiting a Delhi train station, Kate showcased a brand based in Manchester, England, Glamorous UK. The maxi dress featured a placed print and lace-up front, and its original retail price was just £50.  

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©Polaris/Polaris/Polaris/Polaris

We saw an unexpected brand when Kate and William attended a Bihu celebration in Kaziranga National Park; Kate chose a dress by American designer Anna Sui for that event. The Printed Crinkled Silk Chiffon Dress featured multiple patterns and colors and was influenced by the designer’s boho design aesthetic. For official welcoming ceremonies in Bhutan, the Duchess wore a half-Kira skirt crafted of locally-made fabric and a cape by a French firm, Paul and Joe. That company was launched in the 90s and named after founder Sophie Mechaly’s two sons.

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©i-Images/i-Images/Splash News/Polaris

Of course, the Naeem Khan dress worn for the couple’s visit to the Taj Mahal was a favorite among Kate fashion followers. Founded by Mumbai-born Naeem Khan, the brand is known for its elegant and intricate evening gowns and dresses, many made of custom-woven fabrics.

© All Nunn Syndication/Polaris

© All Nunn Syndication/Polaris

Piece(s) from this tour most likely to be seen again: the Naeem Khan dress.

Now to the tour of Canada. We’ll get the two jackets out of the way off the top. I don’t believe these are necessarily items Kate would have purchased were it not for the opportunity to showcase two British companies while in Canada. There’s nothing wrong with the pieces, but we do know that Kate is fond of her Barbour jackets. Below left, the ‘Lightweight Multi-pocket Safari Jacket’ worn for a rainforest visit; the piece is by British heritage label Holland and Holland. On the right, the Troy London Wax Summer Parka the Duchess sported for a tour of Victoria Harbour.

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©i-Images/Polaris/Splash News/Canadian Heritage

For the most formal event of the tour, a reception at Government House, the Duchess wore a vibrant red dress from British luxury label Preen. Founded in 1996 by Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi, and headquartered in London, Preen has become immensely popular; the brand is worn by clientele ranging from Gwyneth Paltrow to Michelle Obama. For engagements in Whitehorse, the Duchess debuted a new coat from another new designer, Carolina Herrera. The coat is from the CH Carolina Herrera collection, a diffusion line offering “ready-to-wear and accessories for men, women, and children.” 

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©Splash News/Splash News/i-Images/Polaris

For the highly anticipated children’s party Kate wore the Pointelle Knit Cotton Blend Dress from See by Chloé, the diffusion line of parent brand Chloé. The label is based in France but its design director, Clare Waight Keller, is British. On the right, a piece from Canada’s Sentaler brand, the firm’s Wrap Coat with Ribbed Sleeves (for anyone still waiting for one of these, the site says it is still on backorder until April).

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©Canadian Heritage/Splash News/Canadian Heritage/i-Images

From the Canadian tour, there are several garments we may well see again. They include the Preen and See by Chloé dresses and the CH Carolina Herrera coat.

The first new label we saw in 2016 was Le Kilt, a Scottish brand worn in February when Kate visited a primary school in Edinburgh, Scotland. (If fond of Kate’s houndstooth kilt, it is on sale at Le Kilt, discounted from £480 to £335 [an original price of roughly $600, now on sale for $415].) Le Kilt is a young firm, founded in 2014. It sources its fabrics in the UK, and the styles are manufactured in Scotland. For a film screening at Kensington Palace in March Kate wore a new frock from the now-defunct Jonathan Saunders diffusion line at British retailer Debenhams. The bird print dress dates back to roughly 2012, so it was something Kate had in her wardrobe for some time. It was a pocketbook-friendly piece, originally selling for just £60 at the time, about $75.

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©Polaris/Splash/Splash/Polaris

Kate opted for a suit by another British label, Eponine London, for a March mentoring engagement. This is also a young company, and it too manufactures its products locally, in this case, in London.  The retro-inspired suit showcases a fitted top and A-line skirt with pleats.

©Splash News

© All by Splash News

In May we learned about a new official photograph of the Duchess. In the new image, Kate wears a Philosophy jacket; Philosophy is the diffusion line from Alberta Ferretti, an Italian-based brand. Collections are geared to a younger customer but still have many of the feminine touches Alberta Ferretti is known for.  At the opposite end of the spectrum, we saw Kate in a piece from fast fashion retailer H&M when visiting Cornwall in September.  The top worn under her Smythe blazer is an off the shoulder piece originally priced at $34.95, on sale it retailed for $15.

©Chris Jelf/

©Chris Jelf/Ben Stevens, i-Images

In July the Duchess made a strong style statement at the Art Fund Awards, wearing a dress by Brazilian-born Barbara Casasola. The London-based designer’s off-the-shoulder style generated quite a bit of buzz online. We rarely see Kate with bare shoulders unless she is in an evening gown and that factor, coupled with the form-fitting design, created a more glamorous, sophisticated look for the Duchess. Many felt the dress was a nod to the approaching Olympic Games in Brazil; Kate wore a new shoe brand that is Brazilian, Schutz shoes. In a British Vogue interview, Ms. Casasola described her label as “Pared-back but sensual,” perhaps an apt description for Kate’s dress.

Kate debuted another unexpected label when she wore a dress by Altazurra for a September school engagement. She was in the US-based company’s ‘Aimee’ dress from the designer’s pre-fall collection. Made of a stretch-crepe the dress showcased many different design elements, including side ruching, gathered shoulders, and a thigh-high slit. It was proof positive the Duchess was taking stronger steps, wearing things we would not have seen her in a few years back. 

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When attending a film premiere in November, the Duchess wore a gown by Self Portrait, another London-based brand. The dress showcased some of the brand’s popular design traits, particularly the use of lace and sense of femininity.

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©i-Images/Splash News/Polaris

For World Mental Health day events the Duchess was in a new dress from Kate Spade, another US label.  Known for its whimsical take on the preppy style, the brand still carries its signature handbags and accessories but has expanded into home goods and other merchandise categories. Label founder Kate Spade sold her remaining interest in the company in 2006; she has started a new retail endeavor, Frances Valentine. (FYI, Kate’s dress is discounted and still available in many sizes at Kate Spade.) At the Heads Together Christmas and volunteer gathering the Duchess debuted a new dress by French designer Vanessa Seward, the ‘Cai’ style in a festive red and green print.

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©Nunn Syndication, Polaris / Allpix, Splash / Splash News / Nunn Syndication, Polaris

At a special Cub Scout meeting in December, we saw an online-only brand added to Kate’s closet, as the Duchess wore the Grace Cashmere Jumper from Iris and Ink. The label is the house brand for discounter The Outnet; The Outnet was an offshoot of luxury fashion site Net-a-Porter, it stocks the site’s overruns, returns, and other goods.   

©i-Images/Splash

©i-Images/Splash

There were some pieces that stood out to me from this batch of new designers: the Self-Portrait, Preen, Altazurra, Barbara Casasola and CH Carolina Herrera. Fashion insiders covet styles by almost all of these designers. Some of them provided a bit of an edge, while all seemed to imbue the Duchess with an extra fillip of poise and polish, she looked confident and comfortable in the designs.

© As Noted

© As Noted

I mentioned there was one new brand that was not a clothing retailer; it is milliner John Boyd.

©i-Images /

©i-Images / Splash News

Kate wore two hats by the milliner last year, both of them with wide, sweeping brims. I include Mr. Boyd’s work because it represented a departure from Kate’s usual fascinators and small hats, these both made strong style statements. The Duchess wore the gray chapeau to the Commonwealth Church Service in March, and the black was worn for both Remembrance Sunday and a memorial service.

There are several pieces from Kate’s existing groups of designers and brands that also stood out last year; we will take a closer look at those pieces next week.  There was also a wealth of new jewelry brands the Duchess sported in 2016, as well as the new shoes added to her collection. We will also look at them more closely in a future post.

 

 

Dec 252016
 

Kate was in an old favorite for Christmas church services this morning.

©Pete Maclaine / i-Images / Polaris

©Pete Maclaine / i-Images / Polaris

But the bigger news is that we saw George and Charlotte accompany their parents to church for the first time. The Cambridge family is spending the Christmas holiday with the Middletons at their home in Berkshire.

©Reuters/Pool/Splash News

©Reuters/Pool/Splash News

Above you see Carole, Michael and James Middleton; Pippa and fiancé James Matthews are somewhat obscured. Carole Middleton’s arm looks like it was in a sling. UPDATE: Although it looked like Carole Middleton’s arm was in a sling, it turns out it was not. In the video at the bottom of the post (at about :22 into the video) you can see both arms are moving freely, it looked more like she was carrying something(s). Our thanks to Vicki for noting that and letting me know.

©Pool / Reuters / Splash

©Pool / Reuters / Splash

From The Daily Mail:

Prince George and Princess Charlotte attended their first Christmas communion service at the 12th century St Mark’s Church in Englefield near the Middleton family home. Bells rang as the Royals arrived outside the church where some 100 smiling locals were seen entering for its 10.30am Sunday service.

St. Mark’s is where Kate and William attended Christmas Day services in 2012. It is also where Pippa Middleton’s wedding is expected to take place this May.

©Pete Maclaine / i-Images

©Pete Maclaine / i-Images

We learn a bit more about the music from the service via Richard Palmer’s story in The Express:

At the service, overseen by The Rev Nick Wynne-Jones, they joined the congregation singing three much-loved carols: Hark the Herald Angels Sing, O Little Town of Bethlehem, and  O Come All Ye Faithful.

Below, William and George after the service.

©Pool/Reuters/Splash

©Pool/Reuters/Splash

You can see Carole, Michael and James Middleton behind Kate in this photo.

©Zak Hussein/SilverHub/REX/Shutterstock

©Zak Hussein/SilverHub/REX/Shutterstock

Now to what Kate wore this morning. Many will recognize her ‘Celeste’ coat by Hobbs; it was also worn by the Duchess when attending that 2012 Christmas service with her family.

Kind Courtesy Jesal Parshotam

Kind Courtesy Jesal Parshotam

This is the 5th time we’ve seen Kate wearing the piece. Previous occasions include the Duchess’s visit to Liverpool on Valentine’s Day in 2012; as mentioned above, Christmas Day of 2012; and also for engagements in Grimsby in 2013. It was also worn at Balmoral in September 2013, but photos from that day are of Kate inside a car and little is seen of the garment.

As Shown

As Shown

The coat is crafted in a wool crepe in a color called chestnut brown, and embellished with studded leather cuff straps and coordinating belt. 

Hobbs

Hobbs

This offers a look at the back of the coat.

©Pete Maclaine / i-Images / Polaris

©Pete Maclaine / i-Images / Polaris

As you might guess, we have all been chattering about what Kate was wearing beneath her coat; what dress, or skirt and top, she might have on. Here is the best closeup I could make using the photos I have licensed.

©REX / Shutterstock

©REX / Shutterstock

The piece that really seemed to make the look sing is the faux fur collar the Duchess added to her ensemble. The always-on-top-of-things Gemma of Food, Fash, Fit suggested the Duchess was wearing the ASOS Faux Fur Mini Sloth-Through Collar, and I think she is spot-on.

kate-faux-fur-collar-christmas-day-2016-st-marks-i-images-asos-product-shot

©Pete Maclaine, i-Images/ASOS

The piece was described as being “Super soft-touch faux-fur. Satin-style lining. Stretch band to secure in place. Machine wash.” Originally priced at $23, the collar was most recently selling for $16. Unfortunately, it is now sold out.

©ASOS/REX,Shutterstock

©ASOS/REX,Shutterstock

Janet Evelyn noted on the WKW Facebook page the look was similar to a fur collar shown on the Michael Kors runway; the model was wearing a suit jacket Kate owns.

Michael Kors/Andrew Parsons, i-Images, Polaris

Michael Kors/Andrew Parsons, i-Images, Polaris

Kate wore her Tod’s Fringed Leather Pumps, first seen during the Canada tour in September.  The design showcases a block heel, fringe leather trim with a gold buckle, and the brand’s pebbled sole. The color is called burgundy.  

Tod's / Pete Maclaine, i-Images

Tod’s / Pete Maclaine, i-Images

She carried another familiar item, her Bayswater Wallet Clutch by Mulberry, a design no longer being made.

©Mulberry/Pool, Reuters, Splash

©Mulberry/Pool, Reuters, Splash

Her earrings are one of the loaned pairs from the Queen we have seen recently. Below left they are shown as worn today; on the right, Kate wearing them for the Duke of Westminster’s memorial service in November.

©Polaris/i-Images

©Polaris/i-Images

One update I think people will want to know about: for the first time in 30 years, the Queen did not attend Christmas services at Sandringham. The cold that bothered her last week continues to be a problem, she stayed inside today.  From The Telegraph:

In a statement issued this morning, a Palace spokesman said: “Her Majesty The Queen will not attend Church at Sandringham this morning. The Queen continues to recover from a heavy cold and will stay indoors to assist with her recovery.  Her Majesty will participate in the Royal Family Christmas celebrations during the day.”

It was a treat to see the entire family this morning, a lovely surprise on a Christmas morning.  I thought they looked terrific, the blues and wine/maroon shades worn by the four coordinated nicely, and George and Charlotte looked just precious. For all of the details on what they wore, pop over to our sister site, What Kate’s Kids wore. I hope everyone celebrating Christmas has had a beautiful day, as well as those marking the second night of Hanukkah. Until then, we’ll leave you this picture of Prince George, the expression on his face is priceless.

©Pete Maclaine / i-Images

©Pete Maclaine / i-Images


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Dec 202016
 

We are back with a brief (*very* brief) post on today’s luncheon at Buckingham Palace.

As you can see in the photo, the Duchess was not the lady in red for the annual Christmas party hosted by the Queen and Prince Philip, as she has been in the past.

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© i-Images, Polaris / James Whatling, Splash News / Ben Stevens, i-Images

Below, Prince George seated behind Prince William. It looks like he is in his Neck and Neck shirt worn in Canada to the children’s party. For details on Prince George’s shirt and snappy new jacket, have a peek at today’s What Kate’s Kids Wore post.

Not nearly as visible as George, Princess Charlotte. From The Daily Mail’s coverage:

Eagle-eyed royal watchers may have caught a brief glimpse of Princess Charlotte who appeared to be sitting to the left of her mother in the back seat

Here is the one other photo we currently have available, and it offers no better view.

It appears the Duchess is wearing magenta or purple, with a black scarf or shawl. (I’m not 100% ruling out the possibility it is a black garment topped by a purple wrap or scarf, but I don’t *think* that is the case.) Anna of My Small Obsessions writes on her HRH Duchess of Cambridge post that she believes Kate is wearing her Kiki McDonough Morganite Cushion Drop Earrings with the White Gold Classic Hoops with Pavé Diamonds. (The center photo is not from today, it is from World Mental Health Day engagements in October.)

Kiki McDonough / / Kiki McDonough

Kiki McDonough / Splash / Kiki McDonough

Several people have wondered if it might be the Issa dress worn during the 2011 Canada tour. 

Canadian Heritage

Canadian Heritage

The color match looks good, but if Kate elected to start wearing the label again I don’t believe it would be at a function hosted by HM and the Duke of Edinburgh. (Here is a brief refresher on why I think Kate doesn’t wear the brand, from a previous post on the topic:

It’s more-than-unlikely Kate will wear anything from this collection, or any other Issa creation, past, present or future.

Not only has the label’s founder, Daniella Helayel, left the company, but prior to her departure she sold a controlling interest in the brand to Camilla al-Fayed.

Why should that matter? Because her father, Mohamed al-Fayed, previous Harrod’s owner, has been vocal in his belief the Royal Family is responsible for the death of his son, Dodi al-Fayed, along with Princess Diana. That topic is the subject of a film he financed, Unlawful Killing. In the movie the Queen is referred to as ‘a gangster in a tiara’ and Prince Philip is called a psychopath.”)

Having said this, there is an interesting side note via Anna of My Small Obsessions. She writes the Sophie, Countess of Wessex blog, and Anna tells me Sophie has continued to wear Issa on occasion. Most recently the Countess wore the Issa Bay Knitted Dress in June when on tour in Canada.

The label is out of business; founder Daniella Helayel has done a capsule collection for Monsoon and is launching a new line of her own called Dhela. If a fan of the brand there are some great deals on remaining pieces. The UK Outnet site offers 42 pieces; among them, Kate’s Phylis Dress in a black & white print (£285, roughly $350); the Robbie Brushed Wool Blend coat (£397, about $500); and the Chrissy Jersey Dress in black (£193, about $240).

The Outnet UK

The Outnet UK

The Outnet US also has a selection of styles, including the aqua Mills Metallic Stretch Knit Jacket ($170), the Cropped Stretch Knit Cardigan ($81, originally $425); and the Stretch Knit Mini Dress ($104 -n $208 depending on color) in coordinating colors.

The Outnet

The Outnet US

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Also today, word of Kate’s newest patronage, Wimbledon.  This morning the palace released a list of 25 patronages from which HM is retiring. More from The Mirror

The Queen is stepping down from 25 of the 600 organisations she is patron of at the end of this year, Buckingham Palace has announced.

The move sees the 90-year-old monarch pass the baton of a chunk of her charity work to younger members of her family.

In a statement today Buckingham Palace said: “Her Majesty will continue to serve as Patron to hundreds of charities and institutions but will now share this work with her family.

As expected, Kate is the new patron. Below, Kate and William at Wimbledon this summer.

Wimbledon AELTC

Wimbledon AELTC

From a Wimbledon news release:

We would like to welcome HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, who will take up The Queen’s former duties as our Patron, and also recognise with appreciation the ongoing contribution of HRH The Duke of Kent, who will continue his long-standing role as our President.”

The All England Club put together a 1-minute video of the Queen’s visit to Wimbledon in 2010.

Kate at Wimbledon over the years.

i-Images, Polaris/Mirrorpix, Splash News/

i-Images, Polaris/Mirrorpix, Splash News/

We will see you before the end of the week!