Kate chose a Jenny Packham gown for tonight’s inaugural Tusk Conservation Awards.
Another view of the royals as they arrived.
Prince William spoke about the couple’s night away from Prince George in his remarks at the podium:
“As you might have gathered, Catherine and I have recently become proud parents – of a baby who has a voice to match any lion’s roar.
“This is actually our first evening out without him, so please excuse us if you see us nervously casting cheeky glances at our mobile phones to check all is well back home.”
More on tonight’s Awards from The Telegraph:
The winners of the two awards – Lifetime Achievement Award and the Conservation Award, the latter for an “up-and-coming conservationist” – receive cash contributions to their projects of, respectively, £30,000 and £15,000, as well as the trophies presented by the Duke of Cambridge.
Investec Asset Management helped sponsor tonight’s awards, they shared a photo of Prince William presenting Clive Stockil the Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in Zimbabwe, where Mr. Stockil has worked on conservation efforts for more than forty years.
The Conservation Award went to Tom Lalampaa for his work with the Northern Rangelands Trust in Kenya.
More about Mr. Lalampaa’s work from a Tusk news release:
…his outstanding work brokering peace through conservation amongst feuding tribal groups in northern Kenya. Lalampaa has been key to creating a conservation area of 3 million acres under the Northern Rangelands Trust, benefiting over 150,000 people. The NRT is recognized as the leading model for community conservation in Kenya.
Kate as she arrived at the event.
We had quite a time with Kate’s gown. Once we knew that it was by Jenny Packham the search began to see precisely which dress it was. Initially we thought it was this gown from 2011, but
then decided that was not the case. Jenny Packham says this *is* the dress, please see update below.
Then we thought it was a No. 1 Jenny Packham for Debenhams dress. No. 1 is the designer’s diffusion line for the retailer, a collection we have written about previously. Here is a look at the front of the Debenhams frockand Kate’s dress.
And the back.
The No. 1 dress is described this way:
This gold designer maxi dress from No1 by Jenny Packham is embellished with sequins and beaded patterns at the front of the high waist.
The dress is polyester with a boat neckline and concealed zipper in the back. It originally retailed for £225 (about $350) and was then discounted by 20% USD.
However, there is an obvious distinction between the Debenhams embellishment and what was on Kate’s dress just below the bust. Kate’s more closely matches this ornament, seen on the 2011 gown.
At this point we don’t know precisely which dress Kate is wearing, or if she is wearing an entirely bespoke piece from the designer. I can’t imagine Kate (or a Palace seamstress) attaching the ornamentation from the older gown to a $350 dress, so we’ll have to wait for the definitive answer from Jenny Packham. As soon as we hear we will update.
UPDATED 9AM FRIDAY 9-13:
Although similar to an existing design, the Duchess’ dress was custom-made, and costs approximately $6,300 in U.S. currency.
NEW UPDATE 11AM FRIDAY 9-13:
From the Jenny Packham Facebook page:
London, England – The Duchess of Cambridge attended The Tusk Conservation Awards wearing a full length pale gold sequin evening gown with crystal motif.
Anna of My Small Obsessions posted a question on the page asking what specific style the dress is, here is the response:
This dress is not bespoke and was available to buy, however it sold out before The Duchess of Cambridge wore it last night.
When asked on the Facebook page if it was the dress shown below (and also above), Anna was told “yes,” it is this dress. You can just see a hint of the nude fabric insert in the photo on the right.
The dress description included these details: “All-over sequin embellishment, bateau neckline, figure-hugging silhouette, floor length with a brooch-accented empire waist and back keyhole detail.”
Many noted the nude panel under Kate’s arms.
Fortunately WKW Facebook friends shared why the panels are there: as a way of minimizing or preventing the skin irritation that comes from being continually rubbed against the sequins. That is something I did not know. It is immensely sensible, although I can’t imagine the nude inserted fabric is meant to be this visible. UPDATE: Some comments note the fabric inserts on the side seams are meant to be this visible.
The Duchess accessorized with her Vamp sandals by Jimmy Choo.
They remain available at Jimmy Choo for $795. Kate also wore the diamond bracelet we have seen previously & the matching earrings, although it was difficult to see because of her hair.
She did not carry a handbag this evening.
Earlier in the day there was big news from the Palace, with an official statement that after 7-1/2 years of service, William has left the military.
He will continue to support the work of The Queen and the Royal Family through a programme of official engagements, both at home and overseas, with The Duchess of Cambridge.
The Duke will continue to work with his charities on issues relating to children and young people, veterans and serving members of the Armed Forces. The Duke is currently considering a number of options for public service, a further announcement on which will follow in due course.
This does not mean Kate and/or William are going to become full-time working royals, officials are referring to it as a “transitional year” for the Duke. It was a bit of a surprise as many thought William would be leaving his position in Anglesey with the RAF to take up another position in the military, a part-time position. The Palace also said the couple will be moving into their Kensington Palace apartment in the next few weeks.
There was another Palace announcement almost immediately, revealing that Prince William is now heading up a newly formed coalition of influential conservation organizations called United for Wildlife. Participating groups include the World Wildlife Fund and the Nature Conservancy.
This Sunday (the 15th) both CNN and ITV will air documentaries showcasing Prince William’s conservation concerns and work, as well as accomplishments of tonight’s Tusk Award nominees and winners. CNN’s Max Foster says the show will also look at William in his newest role, that of a father.
In the film, Prince William recalls how his love for Africa was born, remembering his late mother Princess Diana when she returned from her trips: “She would come back with all these stories and full of excitement and just passion for what she had been doing and I sort of used to sit there, quite a sort of surprised little boy at the time, taking it all in.”
CNN has released a portion of the program, click here to view the video. Below, one more photo of William and Kate, this is as they are leaving the function.
Also today, a taste of what we have been seeing at Fashion Week. New York’s week just wrapped up, London Fashion Week officially gets underway tomorrow. We’ll be sharing news and spring 2014 styles by Kate’s favorite designers, tonight we share styles from the Jenny Packham collection just shown in New York. Jessica Vince of Grazia caught up with the designer in New York, asking about her reaction when learning Kate wore one of her designs when leaving the hospital with Prince George. More from her story:
‘I was in Japan on holiday at the time,’ Packham told us backstage at her show. ‘It was the middle of the night when I first saw pictures of her in the dress so I was frustrated not to there and be a part of it.’ But that doesn’t mean the Brit designer didn’t celebrate like the rest of us. ‘I was very excited and it was such a lovely moment to involved in. It was quite surreal, actually’. We can imagine!
Jenny Packham posted a Facebook photo of the actress with TV presenter Louise Roe. Ms. Roe is said to be wearing a sugar pink tea length skirt from this fall’s collection, along with an embellished top from spring 2013. Ms, Hendricks is in a beaded cocktail in montera blue, on the right we show what looks like a full-length version of that frock currently shown at Stylebop.
She also shared this picture, noting “Definitely see Kate Middleton in this Jenny Packham fit-for-a-princess gown”.
The Fashion Adroit tweeted “With only one super chic muse, uhhh uhhh, princess in mind!!!” as the caption for these three styles.
The Grazia story reports that inspiration for the spring collection is a 1975 Australian film “Picnic at Hanging Rock.” Below, four styles as they came down the catwalk.
Signature touches were evident throughout the collection: floaty, light, almost weightless fabrics, intricate beading and lines designed to flatter.
The retro feel could be seen in the big bows and full skirts.
It definitely isn’t for everyone, but I am a fan of the Hollywood waistline seen on the trousers below, reminiscent of Katherine Hepburn’s understated elegance.
There are many more looks for next spring I think you will enjoy seeing, click here for the entire Grazia story.
- The Tusk Trust site is here, its Facebook page here and Twitter feed here
- Learn more about William’s work with the Trust in his role as Royal Patron here
- Read more about the Tusk Conservation Awards here, tonight’s winners and nominees here
- Visit the site of the new organization William is heading up by visiting the United for Wildlife website
- Read the official Palace news releases on leaving the military and the new conservation coalition
- Click here to see Max Foster of CNN sharing the background on how his interview with Prince William happened, his first after Prince George’s birth
- The Telegraph’s story on Jenny Packham’s collection is here, British Vogue‘s piece is here, and the Style review can be read here
- For the Daily Mail‘s photo-laden story on the gala click here, the Telegraph‘s video story is here, the ITN video is here Sky TV’s report is here