Hello and happy weekend to all. We are back with word about Kate’s upcoming trip to Malta, as well as an early look at Beulah London’s fall/winter collection and Sarah Burton’s first public comments of any length regarding Kate’s wedding gown.
As many are aware, the Duchess will represent the Queen at activities celebrating the island’s 50th anniversary of its independence from the United Kingdom. The country is a Commonwealth nation and will play host to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2015. Here is a condensed version of the itinerary for the official visit. (For those curious about event timings when that information is released, Malta is 6 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time in the US, 1 hour ahead of London.)
Saturday September 20:
- The Duchess will formally call on Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, Malta’s President, at San Anton Palace, the President’s official residence. This is where Kate will be staying Saturday night, also where the Queen stayed when visiting the country. Kate will also make an official call on Prime Minister Dr. Joseph Muscat and his wife at the historic Auberge de Castille in Valleta.
- Later on Saturday the Duchess will view a series of military drills at the Palace Square in Valletta, including a re-enactment of the In Guardia, a 16th Century event in Malta’s history. (For a live look at the Square via webcam, click here.)
- Kate visits the National Library to look at historical documents.
For Saturday’s daytime events I would expect an ensemble similar to those worn on previous tours. Look for the Duchess to incorporate red and/or white in some way, those are the colors of Malta’s flag and also the traditional colors of the Knights of Malta. Also expect a hat. Below, the two Catherine Walkers worn by the Duchess on previous tours, as well as the Alexander McQueen dove gray dress and coat seen on Easter Sunday in Australia; they are shown merely to visually convey the kind of look I believe we can expect. Keep in mind Malta has a Mediterranean climate, average September temps are in the upper 70s and sometimes lower 80s (roughly 21℃ to 26℃).
- Saturday night the Duchess will be the guest of honor at Independence Day celebrations held at the Upper Barrakka Gardens, overlooking the Grand Harbour. This should be a spectacular event, the view over the Harbour will be stunning.
For Saturday night’s gala, I don’t believe the dress code is black or white tie, therefore there’s no expectation of a formal gown. Again, the following frocks are offered only for a barometer of how formally the Duchess might dress for the evening event: on the left we see the Alexander McQueen initially worn for the Queen’s Jubilee church service and the Jenny Packham from a state reception in New Zealand. They are not frocks I expect Kate to wear on this trip.
Sunday September 21:
- The Duchess attends Independence Day services at another architectural gem, St. John’s Cathedral, built by the Knights of Malta in the mid-1500s. She will also view works of art at the Cathedral’s Museum, including two priceless Caravaggios, The Beheading of St. John the Baptist and Saint Jerome Writing.
- Kate then visits Malta’s Agency for Youth before a walkabout in Vittoriosa Square, followed by a visit to view artwork at the Church of St Lawrence, the oldest church on Malta.
- This is followed by a boat ride across the Grand Harbour, after which Kate attends a garden party at the residence of the British High Commissioner, Rob Luke. There will also be another Independence Day celebration, which will take place at the High Commissioner’s residence as well.
On Sunday I would anticipate the Duchess in another fairly dressy ensemble complete with a hat for the church service and think we are likely to see a possible change to a different dress for the garden party at the High Commissioner’s.
The Daily Mail has a graphic showing the events that might be handy to use as a reference.
As we have mentioned in previous posts, the Queen is fond of Malta for personal reasons. More from Rebecca English’s Daily Mail story:
As young newly-weds, the Queen and Prince Philip – who was then serving in HMS Chequers with the Royal Navy’s Mediterranean Fleet – lived together on Malta for almost two years.
Although she and Prince Philip were accompanied to the island by a retinue which included an equerry, a valet, a lady-in-waiting, and the Princess’s childhood nanny, as well as their ever-present police bodyguards, the newly-weds were pretty much free to come and go as they pleased.
The Queen considers their time there as one of the happiest periods of her life as it was their only experience of living like an ‘ordinary’ couple. For the future Queen, this was simply unheard of. There were parties, picnics, swimming expeditions and boat trips. The young princess even went out shopping and on visits to the hairdressers with the other young officers’ wives.
“This is a seminal moment for her, when she will be showing herself to be stateswoman in her own right,” a palace source tells PEOPLE.
We move to fall and winter designs from Beulah London. The company released its lookbook for the new seasons yesterday, there are some new silhouettes, as well as more separates. We begin with the Chiara coat in optical white, a clean, tailored look that seems ‘very Kate.’ Next, the Seraphina dress is shown in both black and optical white. On the far right you see the black Blythe top paired with the Evangeline skirt in ‘bright white lights’.
There are several pieces in a rosy blush color officially called rose smoke. Below left we see the Seraphina dress showcasing this color; next we see the Blaze jacket and Evelyn trouser in plum; in the center it’s the Lumina coat in rose smoke; the Celeste dress in plum and navy is next, with the Dusk dress in rose smoke on the far right.
The next group features rich navy and icy blue hues: on the far left you see the Radiance top in bright white lights and Veil skirt in navy, an interesting piece with what looks like a hi-low hemline; next is the Luna coat in ice blue, followed by the Moonbeam dress in navy and black; second from the left is the Serenity dress in dove white; the Twilight sweater in navy and dove white is paired with the Evelyn trouser in navy.
Several styles offer a bit of a surprise when viewed from the back. The Seren has sleek, chic lines that almost look subdued from the front, but when viewed from the back its reveals a deep vee cut to the waist and a white insert modified kick pleat; the Faith in fiery red has a crossed vee-back accented by a demure bow; on the far right, the Lucille in black and dove white opens to the waist on the back.
The autumn/winter collection features a monochrome palette for many pieces, black and white are especially prominent. We see the combination in the fall accessories, including the Amala (I think this is an oversized scarf or wrap) in grey and dove white, the Nightfall scarf is tied in a whimsical bow in the center and on the right.
Several more styles from left to right: the Radiance dress in bright white lights; Serenity in fiery red; Ciana top in navy & dove white the Evelyn slacks; the Faith dress again; on the far right it’s the Joy blouse in white feather print and the Evangeline skirt in black.
There are not as many full-length gowns as in some previous seasons. Here we show the Angelica in fiery red, the Porcelain in white feather print, and the Painted Lady in bright white lights.
There is a lot to like in this collection, it offers quite a few styles with clean, elegant lines, with some pieces fitted nicely in the bodice opening to a flared skirt. There are also some highly wearable separates, with basics like the Evelyn trousers that can be worn in multiple ways for varying levels of dress. And there are several pieces that would work very well for Kate. Who knows – perhaps we’ll see one of the red Beulah dresses in Malta!
Also today, a brief note about Sarah Burton. T Magazine, the NY Times style publication, features a lengthy profile of the designer in its August 24th edition. Written by Scottish author and editor Andrew O’Hagan, the majority of the story focuses on things other than Kate’s wedding dress. We thought you might be interested in some of Ms. Burton’s thoughts on the process and the ultimate outcome, it is the most vocal she has ever been on the topic. From Mr. O’Hagan’s article:
Her biggest project to date, making the royal wedding dress in 2011, meant the press stalked her for months…
And that stalking came less than a year after Alexander McQueen’s death, something I hadn’t fully realized.
The designer wasn’t aware of the level of interest in the The Dress, telling Mr. O’Hagan ““I had no idea it would be as big as it was. Only the night before, seeing all the photographers outside the abbey, did I think, ‘Oh, my God. This is massive.’ ” In the profile Ms. Burton explains the primary reason she doesn’t speak about making Kate’s gown, citing an ethic I find admirable.
When I first brought the dress up with Burton, she wanted to wave the subject away. But during our second meeting, she appeared resolved to put the matter to rest. “I know we live in a culture obsessed with fame,” she said, “but I happen to believe privacy is a virtue, and the relationship I have with my clients is private.
I loved making the dress, I loved adapting my ideas to suit the person and the occasion, and we put our hearts into it. I respect the intimate nature of that lovely project and I respect the friendships that were forged during it. This is the era of blab, but we’re strong-minded here at McQueen, we always have been, and we’re proud of what we do. There are people in the media who will always want to invent sinister reasons for people’s discretion, but an instinctive, intelligent, imaginative young woman’s wish for a beautiful wedding dress — or any kind of dress — is the most natural thing in the world. And I was honored to pick up the challenge and always will be.”
It’s a fascinating profile, we recommend reading it in full.
- local newspapers include the Malta Star, the Times of Malta, and
- learn more about the Knights of Malta by clicking here, the Order is almost 1000 years old; you can also follow the Knights on their Facebook page
- read about St. John’s Cathedral by clicking here, see some of the Cathedral Museum’s efforts to restore priceless art works by clicking here, or visit the Cathedral’s Facebook page here
Wednesday 27th of August 2014
Sarah Burton will be designing for Kate for a long, long time, unless she decides to step away from fashion (and she could, with twins to raise). Undoubtedly, she had the grace to ask the palace if it would be okay to discuss the wedding gown.
Discretion is very much prized by the royals and sadly, not always in supply. At least in this case, Kate can rely on Sarah to say only the most non-controversial things.
Tuesday 26th of August 2014
Thanks for that link to the Sarah Burton interview. A very interesting and well written piece. She seems like a very nice woman and I do like most of her designs.
I'm looking forward to the Malta trip. I've never once thought of going to Malta on vacation but since reading about it and downloading information about the island, it sounds like a great place to spend some vacation time. Must put it on my list of places to go.
Tuesday 26th of August 2014
Maybe she will wear a pair of Louboutin' s on this trip! Red would suit her well!
Margo, Thrift at Home
Sunday 24th of August 2014
Kudos to Sarah Burton for her respectful, firm protection of her clients! What a rare gift in today's media!
Sunday 24th of August 2014
Love the article. I love Beulah dresses, they seem elegant but edgy. Kate's schedule in Malta is what most of us would call a vacation, as are all royal tours. Don't think that attending some parties and taking a walk through a place as beautiful as Malta counts as work - or as effort. I hope she does fine. Thanks Susan!
Wednesday 27th of August 2014
My vote is firmly on the side of 'that looks like hard work to me!'
Monday 25th of August 2014
Have you ever seen the old movie Roman Holiday in which Audrey Hepburn plays a young princess who has a nervous breakdown down during a high profile European tour? The need to be always on and picture perfect while you are whisked around to event after event and required to greet and interact with hundreds of strangers is the very opposite of a relaxing vacation.
I think that if any of us had to be Kate for a day on one of these tours we would quickly see how exhausting and draining they are.
Monday 25th of August 2014
Having to look good every moment of the day and in full public view, with that public all looking at you and many wanting to shake your hand, might be the sort of vacation you take but it doesn't resemble any holiday I've ever had :D Or Kate for that matter. Her holidays are, publically-speaking, low key and private.
Being a royal might well be a chance for her to travel to all sorts of glamorous places, and be treated like, well, the duchess she is, but she also has to be diplomatic, give a speech, and is representing not only the Queen, but the British monarchy and Britain and, for the first time she's doing it on her own. That's a lot on a young woman's shoulders, although she is quite capable of doing it.
In my view she is most certainly not on a vacation.