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Tour Tidbits, McQueen Spring Styles, Emilia Wickstead Fall Collection, Kiwi Designers

We are back with a few updates, including spring styles from Alexander McQueen, a look at Emilia Wickstead’s fall collection, but first we share several news updates. Our first comes via the office of New Zealand’s Governor-General.

Governor General New Zealand

Governor-General New Zealand

More accurately, the news comes via the Governor-General’s Twitter feed. As noted on the screen grab shown above, a listing will be released next Monday of the best places to see the Duke and Duchess while they’re in New Zealand.  The list will be on the Governor-General’s Facebook page, and the Twitter account will also offer the information.

Next, news about the ALICE by Temperley diffusion line: it will no longer be a standalone brand, it is being folded into the Temperley London mainline collection. More from British Vogue:

The last offering under the contemporary line – which first launched in 2010 – will stay in stores until autumn/winter 2014.

It makes sense to provide a consistent offering under one brand, Temperley London,” Temperley told us this morning. “This is the core of our business and where our voice lies – beautiful clothes, fine attention to detail, novel and luxurious fabrics and sourcing.”

The Duchess has worn pieces from the ALICE line, notably on royal tours. Below left we see Kate in the ALICE by Temperley ‘Beatrice’ dress during the Jubilee Tour in 2012 and a blouse from the line at the 2011 Calgary Stampede parade.

Arthur Edwards-PA Wire/ALICE by Temperley/ALICE by Temperley/Calgary Stampede

Arthur Edwards-PA Wire/ALICE by Temperley/ALICE by Temperley/Calgary Stampede

Shortly after putting up a post on the WKW Facebook page with news about the ALICE brand several WKW friends noted they were recently asked to fill out a questionnaire from the company, with a significant portion of the survey involving prices. Hopefully we will continue to see pieces with the younger, edgier vibe as those in current ALICE by Temperley collections.

We have another Temperley tidbit, this one an interview with Alice Temperley in a Wall Street Journal story about fuller skirts becoming fashionable again. Reporter Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan turns to Alice Temperley for an insider’s perspective on how best to wear the style, the quotes below are from the designer.

This season’s skirts come in a range of lengths, and it’s important to adjust the level of volume accordingly, she says. Although it depends on the cut of the skirt, generally, the longer the skirt, the less poufy the shape should be.

If you’re petite, however, it’s best to keep the volume a little more subdued, she cautions. “If you’re really little, you can look like a doll,” she says. “You don’t want to look like a decoration on top of a wedding cake.”

Below, Temperley’s Primrose Embellished Silk Organza skirt, and Tula Fil-Coup Floral Embroidered Organza skirt, as seen at Net-a-Porter.Net-a-Porter

Back to the article:

A flattering cut is essential, Ms. Temperley says. Because she has “a very rounded shape,” she says, a skirt that flares out right from the waistband wouldn’t work. Instead, she seeks pieces with a defined waist and yoke that offer “some fit and then flare out,” she says. That style “gives my waist and hips some shape.” For longer full skirts, Ms. Temperley likes cuts that are slightly fitted down through the hip and then flared out.

Click here to read the entire story in the Journal.


We move now to news about a New Zealand designer we thought the Duchess might enjoy wearing during the upcoming tour. We’re talking about Trelise Cooper, a label we showcased in this post.  Actually, I should be referring to the gifted designer as Dame Trelise Cooper, she was invested as a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in a recent ceremony at Government House in Wellington. Government House is also where Kate, William and George will be staying for most of their time in Wellington. The designer and philanthropist is shown below with Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae after the ceremony.

The reason we’re sharing all of this? It turns out the coat worn by Ms. Cooper for the investiture ceremony is actually a design that the Duchess expressed interest in. More on the nude and neon pink piece from Fairfax NZ News:

The coat had caught Kate Middleton’s eye and been sent to London for her to try on, Dame Trelise said.

In the end the Duchess of Cambridge decided not to wear it while in New Zealand next month for a royal tour with Prince William and their son Prince George.

As noted by Ms. Cooper in the article, even though Kate won’t be wearing the coat, it did have an outing at Government House; you can read the entire story here. (BTW, I am not 100% convinced we won’t see Kate in a piece by Ms. Cooper.)


New spring fashions continue to arrive at retailers; it seemed timely to share fresh styles from one of Kate’s favorite designers, Alexander McQueen.Alexander McQueen

The Bandage Knit Mini Dress (above left) takes Kate’s appreciation for exposed seaming with frayed edges to an extreme. While the garment isn’t appropriate for Kate to wear as shown (too short and too snug), at least on official engagements, it does strike me as something she would find appealing. Above right, the Grid Jacquard Knit Pencil Dress is done in a rayon/poly blend. I don’t have as strong a feeling this would be something Kate would wear as I do with the bandage frock.

An item that caught my eye as soon as I saw it, the Utility Peplum Coat Dress in powder blue, we show it from different angles in an effort to demonstrate the different way the extra flaps are worn.Alexander McQueen

The Utility Peplum Coat Dress in black (below left) does not have a collar, nor does it have the upper ‘flaps,’ or peplum seen on the powder blue version. Below right, the Embroidered Neckline Pencil Dress; we include a closeup of the trim at the neckline, it is very ornate.Alexander McQueen

Also new this spring, the Belted Pencil Dress in pale rose silk at Net-a-Porter; on the right, it’s McQueen’s Spine Lace Flare dress. The latter is shown primarily for the fabric, a soft blue and cream jacquard that seems “very Kate”.


Below left, Floral Brocade Bodycon dress at multi-brand online retailer Farfetch. On the right, a Crepe Pencil Dress in that rich red the label does so well.My Theresa/Harrod's

A few separates (left to right): Zip Detailed Crepe Jacket in black, red Cutout Crepe Column Gown, an Embossed Tailored Jacket in cream (it has an elegant raised print that is impossible to show on a computer monitor), a similar design in red, the Flared Hem Tailored Jacket, and the Pleated Crepe Mini Skirt in black.5 McQueen Spring 2014 Designs

Almost any of these would work for the Duchess, although several would require modification. I imagine we’ll see her in several Alexander McQueen pieces during the upcoming tour.


We move now to a look at Emilia Wickstead’s Fall 2014 collection. Last week Moda Operandi offered the opportunity to pre-order fall styles, providing a good look at what’s coming in the collection. Below left, we show the Sleeveless Dress with Tuille (the model wears it with a turtleneck underneath) in a nubby black fabric. The Lace Dress with Peplum (below right) showcases blue lace atop nude crepe, the yoke and arms are sheer and the pencil skirt is split at the back.

Emilia Wickstead Fall a:w 2014 Two Looks

Moda Operandi

Several more pieces from the collection (shown left to right): on our top row the Jacket with Crystals featuring lace and with pearl beaded trim on the front; the collarless Gray Boucle Jacket has a wrap front, flap breast pockets and rounded shoulders; the  Wool Crepe Top in ‘clay’ is cropped and has an open back. Pieces in the second row are as follows: the Pencil Skirt with Crystals has a high waist and slight trumpet silhouette; a Sleeveless Blouse is organza done in a snake print motif; the Wrap Skirt in clay has a wrap front and high waist.

Moda Operandi

Moda Operandi

Our next group of designs includes another lace look, this one in Blue Crepe with Crystals, featuring a high neck and rhinestone/pearl bead embellishment; a Silver Jacquard Floral Dress in the center, and Organza Halter Dress with an open back.

Moda Operandi

Moda Operandi

Some of the detail work is lovely.

Moda Operandi

Moda Operandi

Our final group of styles: the short-sleeved Organza Dress and the long-sleeved Silk Organza Coat Dress with crystals, both done in a snake print seen throughout the collection; on the right, the Mock Neck Dress in ‘bobble fabric,’ (what I refer to as ‘nubby’ material).

Moda Operandi

Moda Operandi

Moda Operandi also posted an interview with the designer.

Moda Operandi

Moda Operandi

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kate wearing Emilia Wickstead design when she steps off the plane in Wellington.


Our final designer offering garments in styles that would work with Kate’s design aesthetic: Kate Sylvester. The company was launched in 1993; more from the brand’s website:

New Zealand designer Kate Sylvester’s conceptual collections embody intelligence, witty irreverence, sophistication and modern femininity.

Kate Sylvester consciously designs for herself and her fiercely loyal client’s lifestyles. These are real clothes for real life.

More dress designs below: on the left, we show the Odile dress in a very pale Blush, and also in Ink. On the right we show the Venetia in silk (with a touch of spandex for stretch and ease of movement), the colors are Dusk and Black.  The tailoring and fabric volume on the Odile are somewhat reminiscent of Emilia Wickstead frocks.Kate Sylvester

More on the company’s growth from Britomart, a shopping and business district in Auckland:

Today there are Kate Sylvester stores in New Zealand and Australia and her designs are sold at high fashion boutiques in Australasia, France and the US. The brand has an established sustainability policy, including a commitment to onshore production and an expanding stable of ethical and organic fabric options. Kate Sylvester is a past winner of a National Sustainable Business Network Award.

The collections are sophisticated and wearable, built around timeless pieces that transcend the seasons and the latest trends. Kate describes her customer as a woman ‘smart enough to know that it’s far more provocative and stylish to be subtly sexy and have a sense of humour about dressing up’.

The primary Kate Sylvester line is accompanied by a diffusion label called simply Sylvester, with its younger, grittier vibe. Below, styles from the Sylvester line, including a look second from the left on Lauren, a Kate Sylvester store manager, she is wearing the Sylvester Tough dress.

Sylvester by Kate Sylvester

Sylvester by Kate Sylvester

You can learn more about the designer in a New Zealand Herald Q&A piece from 2013.

Our thanks to Tiffany from the WKW Facebook page for her tip on several designers, including WORLD. We also appreciate Marianne’s input, she suggested we consider Kate Sylvester as a possible designer.

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Thursday 27th of March 2014

Great post. Love the McQueens but Sophie Wessex has not only worn the Peplum coat dress as mentioned by ALI, but also the Floral Brocade Bodycon in white.

I didnt like the peplum coat on Sophie because it is very bulky at the waist and there are those pleats at the back - for me it is too busy. The Floral brocade dress (Sophie wore with black jacket) is lovely and Catherine would look good in it - but not with black - perhaps red or a lovely cobalt blue.

I think that there is a strong possibility that she will find something dressy in a gold colour - a nod to Australia.

Lovely choices. Thank you


Tuesday 25th of March 2014

I agree with everyone on the McQueens. The reason they stand out is their construction and also the quality of the fabric. There is a reason why they are so expensive, relative to other designs. And for Kate, these pieces would be custom fitted.

I'm over the moon about the Kate Sylvester russet colored lace skirt and black turtleneck. It's something you could picture the Duchess wearing on a weekend.

One note about the skirt lengths. As with the green coat, they just look too long. I know mid-calf skirts are back, but they seem ill-proportioned. More Kardashian than Kate.


Tuesday 25th of March 2014

For those interested in Alice Temperley, there is an interesting story about her country house in the current New York Times T Magazine. The house has quite a history. I love the dining room but I could do without allowing the neighbor goats in the living room!


Monday 24th of March 2014

Quite a few intriguing possibilities for the Duchess, I see -- so many that I can't possibly comment on everything intelligently. I'll make just a couple of observations.

It's true that full skirts are suddenly "in" again, and though the Duchess never eschewed them, it will be interesting to see whether she adds some new examples to her wardrobe. I've commented that I'm not a huge fan of full skirts, but I saw some accordion-pleated examples that I truly liked and recently bought one. One problem with full, pleated skirts is that they can make you look "hippy" even if you're not, so Alice Temperley's designs with a wide yoke at the waist are precisely the sort of thing we should all be seeking and precisely the kind of skirt I bought. As she says, the yoke hugs the hips and the pleats flare out below it, avoiding the "hippy" effect. I chose my new pleated skirt because it had that design feature.

Of course, the Duchess has very boyish hips that are in no danger of looming large in a pleated skirt, as was clear when she wore a gray and black Orla Kiely dress with an accordion-pleated skirt to an engagement with Prince Charles.

I wondered recently whether the Duchess would drop her hemlines in line with runway trends, and the Emilia Wickstead designs raise the question again. I'll repeat that although I bought a couple of longer items last fall and plan to buy more later this spring, I'm very cautious with the "midi" length because it's so easy to look dowdy in it if you get the proportions wrong. The Duchess will have to be especially careful about that owing to her long torso and relatively short legs. Choosing the right shoes helps. (Never wear anything with ankle straps, for one thing.)

I think the Duchess could certainly wear the McQueen peplum coatdress despite the fact that the Countess of Wessex has worn it. I'm sure Sarah Burton would be happy to tweak it a bit for a more original look. She's certainly done it before.


Monday 24th of March 2014

I say, Kate should ignore every other designer and just get ALL McQueens for this tour. All the other designs pictured look amateur compared to McQueen. Emilia Wickstadt is okay but those others look like they were done by recent design school graduates, especially that Sylvester and WORLD. Are they designing for pre-teens?

Also, Sophie did look good in the McQueen peplum coatdress but I don't see why Kate couldn't wear the same thing in another color. There's no law against that. McQueen makes everybody look good.

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