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Kate Surprises at National Portrait Gallery in Jesire

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.

The Palace revealed it was made by now-defunct fashion brand Jesire, a bit of a surprise for many Kate fashion aficionados. 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, but we’ve yet to locate any photos of this exact piece.

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.

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.

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Wednesday 15th of February 2012

Why did Kate refuse an official wedding portrait?


Wednesday 15th of February 2012

For those who may be looking for a version of the Jesire dress, Michael Kors has a version that is VERY similar in cut, design, color and fabric. It's a much lighter grey but would go lovely with grey or black heels and a grey or black belt. Not sure what the design is. I saw the Kors dress at the TJ Maxx/Marshall's chain of high-end discount retail shops in Illinois in the U.S. Unfortunately, the chain does not sell online, only in store.

Janet W

Monday 13th of February 2012

I had dinner a few weeks ago with one of the most fashionable young ladies I have ever met -- her mother is the publisher of a fashion magazine. Long story short, her silhouette was exactly like Kate's -- cinched in waist, full skirt, she was even wearing an Alexander McQueen belt. Maybe this is fashion forward? In a retro Mad Men way?

Jenny Lin

Sunday 12th of February 2012

I saw some other photos of her and it looked like she was wearing blue mascara, which would have been a new, interesting, and bold choice!

She does look like she's put on a little weight (in a healthy way, not a bad one)... cue the pregnancy rumors! ;)


Sunday 12th of February 2012

Look what just emerged!!

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