Kate paired a new dress by Jonathan Saunders and her Erdem coat for today’s engagements focused on suicide and mental illness support.
William and Kate started their day with a private visit to Maytree Suicide Respite Centre, a charity supporting those in suicidal crisis situations.
They then went to St. Thomas Hospital, where they met with Jonny Benjamin and Neil Laybourn, seen below.
More about the gentlemen and why they were meeting with William and Kate in Richard Palmer’s story for The Express:
…Jonny Benjamin, who started the FindMike search in 2014 to find the unknown passer-by who stopped him leaping to his death from Waterloo Bridge in central London six years earlier. Mr Benjamin, then 20, had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and said he felt his life had hit “rock bottom” before the kindly intervention of a stranger, later identified as Neil Laybourn when the search went viral.
St. Thomas is the hospital where Mr. Benjamin was treated following Mr. Laybourn’s intervention. In his blog he notes that suicide takes the lives of 17 people each day in the UK and has become the biggest killer of men under 50. The Rethink Mental Illness website reports 1 in 4 people in England are affected by mental illness.
Suicide is an element of the couple’s mental health awareness and destigmatization campaign, and something Prince William is becoming more involved with. More from Victoria Murphy’s story in The Mirror:
William said: “Someone told me five people a day try to kill themselves.
“I was just blown away by the statistics. For both of us, the mental health piece has got lots of aspects. It’s such a big issue that we need to do something about it. We feel it’s been raised higher up the ladder. It’s suddenly bubbling just under the surface. Now we need to get up to the next level, to the surface.”
Here is ITN’s video of the St. Thomas Hospital meeting.
Following the St. Thomas meeting the foursome journeyed to Kensington Palace to watch The Stranger on the Bridge, a documentary about Mr. Benjamin’s experiences.
More about the film:
The film captures every step of Jonny’s remarkable journey including the phenomenon of the campaign, the many leads and ‘Mikes’ that came forward and ultimately his successful reunion with the man that saved his life. Everything changed for Jonny that day, but also, as a result, he has become a mental health campaigner who in his own right has helped transform the lives of many other people around the world through his work.
About 20 young people were also invited to watch the documentary at the Palace. Afterward there was to be a private discussion with those impacted by suicide.
Moving now to what Kate wore, many readers will recognize Erdem’s ‘Allie’ coat.
It was first seen in New Zealand during the 2014 tour.
The piece was worn again in July 2014 for the start of the Tour de France race.
From Erdem’s pre-fall 2013 collection, the Allie features a zipped front and Peter Pan collar.
The garment is made of a wool crepe with multiple seams and top-stitching, front pockets, and exposed zippers.
For the documentary showing at Kensington Palace Kate was in a dress we’ve not seen previously.
Carly of Kate Middleton Style blog discovered the frock is by Jonathan Saunders.
It was part of a diffusion collection the designer did for British retailer Debenhams in 2012; apparently it sold for just £60 at the time, about $85.
A closer look at the covered placket on the front of the dress offers a better view of the print.
The dress looks like it is probably a poly crepe fabric or similar material. It hits just above the knee and has a pleated skirt, bracelet length sleeves, and a leather/faux leather belt. It was featured in a Daily Mirror story about the popularity of bird prints as a design element in 2012. For those who sew, Nina H posted a great fabric link on the WKW Facebook page, it goes to Moda Fabrics and has a variety of bird prints.
French retailer La Redoute has a pretty good copyKate for the dress, the Mademoiselle R Bird Print Dress is just $67 via Amazon, our thanks to Tanya on the Facebook page for letting us know the dress was available via Amazon.
Kate has several pieces by Jonathan Saunders, considered one of fashion’s leading talents. Below you see (from l to r): the Evelyn dress shown as Kate wore it to the men’s Wimbledon finals in 2014; the Deborah Waffle Knit (or Egg Knit) sweater first seen at a rugby match in New Zealand, and the Athena coat worn in Scotland in May of 2014.
Sadly, the designer closed his company in December of last year. More from British Vogue:
Samantha Cameron calls him “Jonny.” He has dressed Michelle Obama. Kate Middleton bagged one of the two-tone waffle-knit sweaters …. In 2012 he won the BFC/Vogue designer prize, the British equivalent of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award.
Saunders was a quick study, and was incredibly generous in sharing his knowledge with those who came up behind him, like his Glaswegian compatriot, Christopher Kane. He led the London print and color revolution, which, post 9/11, brightened up the gloom of the times and brought buyers from all over the world to spend on British collections.
This is the second time we have seen the Duchess wear a designer piece created for a department store capsule collection or diffusion line. We see Kate wear Temperley London with some frequency, and it remains one of her favorite brands. The navy print dress below left is from the Alice Temperley Somerset for John Lewis collection, while the other three pieces are from Temperley London.
During the morning engagements it looked like the Duchess wore a sweater beneath the coat.
NOTE: Some Facebook comments suggest that Kate was wearing a different dress underneath the coat, not a sweater, and she changed dresses before the film screening at Kensington Palace. In this next photo you can just see the collar of a sweater or a different dress peeking out from the neckline of the coat.
Kate wore her Cartier Ballon Bleu watch and her emerald and diamond drop earrings.
Also today, we have a way you can save £100 on a pair of Kate’s Penelope Chilvers boots.
Kate is seen wearing the brand’s Long Tassel Boot in those iconic photos taken in front of Blenheim Palace back in 2004. From the description:
This handmade boot is cut close to the ankle for a more feminine fit, has a scalloped detail at the zip panel and a leather tassel on the zip pull. It is fully leather lined and has a Goodyear Welted Commando rubber sole.
The boots are normally £475 but Penelope Chilvers has a special offer for WKW readers: use the promo code WHATKATEWORE for £100 off any color of the Long Tassel Boot. The style comes in Kate’s Conker color, as well as black and a black-slate combination.
Our thanks to Penelope Chilvers for offering the discount to WKW readers; it expires April 10. (On a side note, British Vogue reported this morning that Penelope Chilvers and designer Molly Goddard have collaborated on a shoe collection; click here for that story.)
We’ll see you tomorrow for William and Kate’s XL Mentoring engagement.
- Read a story by The Independent here about Jonny Benjamin’s experiences and the Think Well campaign; learn more about that initiative here, or follow the Think Well Facebook page
- Visit The Stranger on the Bridge documentary website by clicking here, visit the Facebook page about the film here, follow Jonny Benjamin on Twitter here,
- The Rethink Mental Illness website is here, the organization’s Facebook page is here, and its Twitter feed is here
- To visit the Maytree website, click here; you can also follow the organization here on Twitter
- In the USA one can find info at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website here, and/or the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website here
- The Daily Mirror’s story by Victoria Murphy is here, Richard Palmer’s Express story is here, Rebecca English’s piece for The Daily Mail is here, Simon Perry’s article for People is here, and PopSugar’s photos are here