Kate went with an American designer for the evening reception at Government House, wearing a cocktail dress by Lela Rose.
The piece is the designer’s Circle Lace Trim Dress.
It was part of the Lela Rose 2012 spring/summer collection. Below we show it at Lyst.com.
The dress has long been sold out. From the product description at Far Fetch:
Lace peplum dress in ivory from Lela Rose.
This linen-blend sheath dress features a round neckline, circle lace short sleeves, circle lace peplum panel along waist, and a back center slit at skirt with concealed zipper closure.
These photos from Far Fetch better show a bit of the lace detail.
A look at the lace on Kate.
The dress is a linen/rayon blend with a touch of Spandex/Elastene for ease of movement.
There is a solid selection of the designer’s work at Neimans. If unfamiliar with this designer, a quick backgrounder: Lela Rose is a native Texan who founded her company in 1998; she is a Parsons (School of Design) graduate, and spent time honing her craft with notable designers like Richard Tyler. Her collections are carried at other upscale department stores like Nordstrom, Bergdorf and Saks. It is a brand I can personally recommend, in addition to the beautiful designs, the attention to detail is outstanding. There is also an extensive Bridal Collection.
Knowing I am a fan of the brand, it may come as a surprise that I wasn’t crazy about the dress. It’s more than likely this was lovely in person, but unfortunately, in some photographs it almost appears the Duchess has spider webs on her arms. The size of the actual lace circles is so big, the lace statement so dramatic, it overpowers the rest of the garment. it is one of the few occasions where I felt the dress was wearing Kate, not the other way around. Seeing how positive the feedback was on the dress last night, I was tempted to soft-pedal the personal reaction to it, but can’t, it’s not why we have the blog and community of readers/commenters.
Our final photo from the reception comes with an explanation: normally we avoid covering ancillary topics like Kate’s hair. Having said that, I know a number of readers who would be happy to see a tight shot of this particular updo.
As far as why Kate elected to wear a dress by an American designer, as opposed to something from a British or Australian label, here is my theory: I do not believe this was a case of Kate going out shopping for something specific to wear on the Tour and selecting a garment by an American designer. The dress is from the 2012 s/s collection, so it would have been in stores early in 2012. My guess is the Duchess saw the dress at that time and purchased it; we just hadn’t seen her wear it. This seems much more a case of “frugal Kate” opting for a piece she already owned that would be “new” for the occasion, rather than Kate purchasing another dress for the Tour and slighting a British or Australian label in the process.