We are back with a couple of quick updates and then a special treat.
First, our updates, some of which you may have already seen on the WKW Facebook page or other sites. Monday’s Daily Mail had a story by Rebecca English about Kate getting some errands done; below we show some of the things she is said to have purchased at Baby Gap: the Contrast Trim Stripe Footed One-piece ($24.95), a Plaid Button-up Bodysuit in ‘lush green’ ($24.95), and Stripe Pants in heather gray ($12.95).
It seems the Duchess may have also purchased something for herself, back to Rebecca’s story:
On the way out Kate – who was dressed in knee-high leather boots, black tights and a short patterned skirt – couldn’t resist picking up two pairs of trousers for herself from the store’s women’s department.
Members of staff said the Duchess had become a ‘regular shopper at the store’ since becoming a mother.
You can read the entire story here, there is also a photo of Kate in a skirt we talk about in just a moment.
(For a slightly larger view of the family portrait, click here.) Rebecca English reported that the sweater was a gift from Prince Charles, made by a Welsh company, Corgi Hosiery.
‘We were so happy to see such a beautiful picture of the prince with his parents and we were thrilled when we noticed that he was wearing our gift,’ he said.
‘The staff who designed and produced the jumper are very excited, as are we, to know that his parents chose to dress him a Corgi jumper for such an important occasion.
The Carmarthenshire-based company gave it as a gift to Prince Charles to celebrate the birth of his first grandson, who then passed it onto his son and wife
The company specializes in wool, cotton and cashmere socks for men and women.
They also offer other knitwear. The personalized socks shown in the middle were for an employee’s wedding day.
Founded in 1892, Corgi is now run by a brother and sister, Chris Jones and Lisa Wood, descendants of the founders. A hand-knitting machine is still used to make the socks, hats, sweaters and other items offered by Corgi. Located in Wales, Corgi has been a Royal Warrant holder since 1989. You can learn more about the company on it website, or the Corgi blog.
For anyone interested in a sweater like Prince George’s, with the personalization woven right into the piece, MJK Knits is a brand I can personally vouch for, available at Saks and smaller boutiques.
Kate’s skirt (referenced above) was identified by Jane Barr in her blog “From Berkshire to Buckingham,” it is the ‘Maria’ style from the Whistles’ spring/summer 2014 collection.
It certainly sounds comfortable:
With the comfort of an elasticated waist band and contrasting, free flowing pleats, this whistles skirt offers casual, lightweight chic to see you through the summer and into the new season. The Maria pleated skirt can be effortlessly teamed with essential separates.
Originally the skirt retailed for $75, it was then discounted to $42. It is now sold out.
Now, our special treat from my friend Pascale: an insider’s look at the zoo Prince George is scheduled to visit on Easter Sunday, where a bilby habitat is being named after him. Some readers may remember that Pascale’s company, StyleRocks, helped out last year by sponsoring a giveaway for a stunning citrine ring as part of our fundraiser for EACH, one of Kate’s patronages.
It turns out Pascale’s twins are regular visitors at the Zoo, they live just 5 minutes away. When we were talking about the tour Pascale offered to take some photos during the family’s next visit and write an overview of the Zoo’s attractions. Here is her report:
Taronga Zoo is Sydney’s, if not Australia’s, most famous Zoo. Not only does it have world-class facilities for its animals but, located only a short distance from Sydney’s Central Business District in a lovely leafy suburb called Mosman, it has to be one of the most accessible zoos globally. Either a 20-minute bus ride or a 10-minute ferry trip are your options, with the ferry depositing you right at the bottom entrance of the Zoo. The Taronga Zoo impresses close millions of visitors each year with its incredible Sydney views.
Apart from having a huge range of superbly cared-for animals, the Zoo has lots of other events to appeal to the public. You can camp in special tents as part of their ‘Roar & Snore’ program, designed to allow you to sleep under the stars and wake up to the lions roaring!
In addition to events, there are often educational or artistic installations. Last year, there were real-life sized dinosaurs everywhere as part of an educational campaign; Master & Miss StyleRocks still talk about the brachiosaurus and the T-rex. The current display is the ‘Wild!’ rhino conservation campaign which features a trail of life-sized brightly painted sculptures. Master & Miss StyleRocks had an impromptu photoshoot with the rhinos – you will notice Miss StyleRocks wearing a tiara, it’s a permanent fixture these days. You can only begin to imagine her reaction when told of an impending visit to the Zoo by a real life princess!
First up was a trip in the Sky Safari, the cable car ride. As the Zoo is built into the side of a hill, the Sky Safari is a great way of getting from the top of the zoo to the bottom, and definitely helps with weary legs. Here’s Team StyleRocks boarding the cable car.
The Sky Safari is free once you’ve entered the Zoo, and you can travel in it as many times as you like. It’s a great way to see the animals from the air, and also enjoy the panoramic view of Sydney.
An important decision to make: take the left-hand path (to Australian animals) or the right-hand one to African animals? Of course, all the paths join up eventually but this initial decision can cause no end of debate! We ended up taking the African path but not before we had a look at the koalas. These cuddly little Australian natives can actually be quite ferocious but are safe in their native habitat which is eating eucalyptus leaves. The Zoo’s enclosure for this is really open, consisting of an spiralling ramp that circles the trees that the koalas reside in. The picture below shows some people on the ramp on the other side of the trees – hopefully you get an idea of how close to the koala they are, it would be a couple of metres at most.
The koala viewing platform is highly popular for an important Zoo visitor…it’s a safe bet that the Cambridges will have a photo opportunity or two here.
As you round the corner after leaving the koalas in their dazed state (the eucalyptus leaves make them…well…stoned), this is where the breathtaking views of the Zoo really start. Here we have picture-postcard views of Sydney Harbour, complete with the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.
Walking down the hill from the entrance, you reach the animals with the most expensive piece of real estate in Sydney – the giraffes. These are perhaps the most photographed animals at Taronga Zoo simply because their home is…well, a multi-million dollar one! Super-friendly, again you can get right up close to our African friends. Another prime photo opportunity for the Cambridges; this author will eat her hat if the press pack isn’t assembled here.
On to the elephants whose accommodation is a vast expanse of land and water too; here we can see how those travelling in the cable car have an eagle eye view of the elephants too.
Continuing on our African-themed safari, we visited the snakes. This author must confess to an aversion to snakes, so managed only a few photos – including this one of Miss StyleRocks (still with tiara, of course) getting far too close to the python for Mummy’s comfort. Yes, the python was behind seriously thick glass, but still.
The Zoo is brilliantly designed for children; there are lots of food outlets and baby change stations throughout, which no doubt the Duchess – and the Duke!- will be grateful for. There are lots of rest areas with entertainment for children – which will come in very handy for young Prince George. There are life-sized stone animals to play with too, and cutout animal photobooths: here are Miss & Master StyleRocks ‘riding’ a lizard. (You didn’t know meerkats wore tiaras did you!)
Apart from African and Australian animals, there are of course all kinds of other animals. Seals, gorillas, chimpanzees, lions, tigers, birds, frogs, hippos…the list goes on. Pretty much any animal you can think of exists here – including a pelican who thought Miss StyleRocks looked quite tasty!
Finally a look at the wallabies & kangaroos enclosure: lots of wallabies but no kangaroos at the time we visited. Again this is another ‘up close & personal’ experience, where the animals can come right up to you. There are of course designated feeding times – for them, the koalas and giraffes and others – if visitors would like to do that.
By this stage Master & Miss StyleRocks were getting a little weary so it was time for one last photo.
Anyone planning a visit to Sydney should make visiting Taronga Zoo a ‘must-do’ on their calendar. Useful links can be found here:
The author paid for her own entry to Taronga Zoo and has not been commissioned by them or any other related party to write this article.
- I want to thank Pascale and her husband for sharing their twins, their time and their terrific Zoo, it looks like a spectacular place to visit.
- The Cambridges are scheduled to visit the Zoo on Easter Sunday, April 20. A bilby habitat is to be named after Prince George, as part of a gift from the Prime Minister on the occasion of his More from the Taronga Conservation Society:
“Taronga Zoo was so happy for the Royal couple that the Australian Government gave them a bilby! The bilby will stay living in Australia at Taronga Zoo in Sydney. It will just be adopted by Prince George! This means there will be a sign in front of its exhibit in the Nocturnal House, saying that the bilby has been dedicated to the Prince and that the billies are a symbol of friendship between Australia and England!”
Harper’s Bazaar UK is reporting that Kate has commissioned a bespoke gown from Ralph and Russo to wear on the tour. Presumably, it would be worn when the tour is in Australia, the label’s owners are Australian-born, but the company is based in London. More from the magazine’s story:
“It appears that the Duchess of Cambridge is taking the wardrobe for her forthcoming world tour of Australia and New Zealand very seriously (with all those scrutinising eyes and so many public appearances, is it any surprise?) The royal has reportedly commissioned couture label Ralph & Russo to create one particularly show-stopping gown.”
I have long been a fan of the creations by designers Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo, they know their craft and practice it exceptionally well. More from Women’s Wear Daily:
Given the abundance of peplum and bustles, the old-time glamour quotient ran high. Tamara Ralph, the Australian creative director behind Ralph & Russo, has a high-profile client list that already includes Beyoncé Knowles, Angelina Jolie and the Queen of Qatar, Sheikha Mozah.
The company does serious party frocks in a very broad range of styles, running the gamut from soft, romantic looks to simpler, sleek styles to dramatic, sculptural statement pieces.
You can see why the company is the first and only British fashion house authorized by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture to show during Haute Couture Week in Paris. More from WWD:
This presentation marked the first time since 1915 that a British brand was invited to show on the official couture calendar — a milestone trumpeted by the Union Jack colors peppering the show.
The level of detail work is extraordinary.
We’ll be back in the next day or so with an advance look at arrival plans for William, Kate and George on Monday. The weather forecast calls for rain and a high of 60°, that’s about 15℃.
- the Taronga Zoo website is here and its Facebook page is here
- you might enjoy the Tatler’s glossary of local lingo in New Zealand and Australia
- Hello! has a photo slide show of places on the tour
- the Daily Mail has an overview of several stops Kate, William and Prince George will make, part of their story on a deluxe ‘royal tour’ anyone can take (if they can afford it)
- the office of New Zealand’s Governor-General has an info-laden site here, a good resource
- read about Kaiya, the 6-year-old who will present Kate with a bouquet as the Cambridges are welcomed to the country on Monday
- we’ll leave you with the cover of Hello! Canada, they have just published a special collector’s edition of the magazine
Monday 7th of April 2014
The maria skirt is available again in size 8
Saturday 5th of April 2014
Well, that’s one label that came well out of left field – I’d have said such stagy costumes were quite alien to Kate’s usual style aesthetic and much better suited to A-listers performing on red carpets. There’s too much clutter going on for me here, and it makes for confusion.
The outfits picked show some sharp, clean lines but gratuitous scatterings of sequins and embroidery seem out of place on them and serve to show how much more at home Jenny Packham is with such decoration. I think Packham suits them much more to fabric and style than the present Ralph & Russo offerings.
I can’t see how the little capes work, even if they are attached to the outfit they seem less than practical for meeting and greeting and if Kate starts walking around in exaggerated bustles and overblown fabric roses I fear she may start looking more like a panto dame than dignified royal.
Interesting that you have a magazine cover showing the pink Packham, I’d half wished that might turn up on a visit to the Opera House, and if that full length party frock far left is anything to go by maybe this is her way of repeating the style. I find it ominous that she’s been looking at that heavily brocaded coat of Trelise Cooper and these showy designers, and am relieved to see that her Whistles skirt at least conforms to the reserve she has usually shown in the past.
Thanks so much for a fascinating and full post. I much enjoyed my trip to the zoo with Master and Miss StyleRocks. Where did she get the tiara – I think I might want one!
Friday 4th of April 2014
Love the Ralph and Russo pieces, thank you for posting these! The pink suit is fantastic, and the GLOVES...coveting.
Friday 4th of April 2014
I like the Whistles skirt, though I think the pleating with substantial gathering at the waist and the short length wouldn't flatter a lot of women. I commented recently on the trend for pleated skirts this spring, and I read that the Duchess had apparently purchased an accordion-pleated example at Zara. I had eyed it myself and mentioned in a previous post that I wondered whether the Duchess might buy such a skirt. I looked at it at Zara yesterday, and it's longer than the Whistles skirt, in keeping with this season's lower hemlines. Accordion pleats are more flattering to the hips than wider pleats and gathering.
I love the elegant and quite refined Ralph and Russo designs and look forward to seeing the Duchess in an R and R dress. I rather think she'll eschew one of their more dramatic offerings, though it would be fun to see her in one. The day dresses are to die for, and very 50's, especially with their currently fashionable midi hemlines. As I've commented before, though, it's so easy to get the proportions wrong. The midi length can look dowdy on a lot of women.
Friday 4th of April 2014
I forgot to add: I'm a real zoo nut myself. Any zoo lover visiting the Chicago area should try to see the Brookfield Zoo, which is a fantastic place to spend much of a day.
Friday 4th of April 2014
Love this post ;) And really like Ralph and Russo picks! :) So beautiful ;)