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It’s a Vogue Cover for Kate with a 10-Page Photo Spread

UPDATED MAY 2: Trousers ID confirmed.

I promised a post this weekend about the tour; that has been pre-empted by news that the Duchess of Cambridge posed for British Vogue’s June issue.

Josh Olins/British Vogue

Josh Olins/British Vogue

From the magazine’s story about the photo spread:

HRH THE DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE is today unveiled as the cover star for Vogue‘s centenary issue. Photographed by Josh Olins in the Norfolk countryside, the Duchess appears in a 10-page shoot within the June 2016 issue, the first magazine shoot that she has ever consented to.

Josh Olins/British Vogue

Josh Olins/British Vogue

The shoot was done as a collaborative undertaking with the National Portrait Gallery, currently running an exhibition in tandem with British Vogue’s 100th anniversary. From the NPG:

The National Portrait Gallery and British Vogue have collaborated on a very special series of photographic portraits with HRH The Duchess of Cambridge.  Two of the images are now displayed in the Vogue 100: A Century of Style exhibition and the full portfolio of eight photographs including the cover will appear in the centenary June 2016 issue of Vogue.

British photographer Josh Olins who works frequently with Vogue was chosen for this landmark shoot. His work is known for its quiet elegance, the character he captures from his sitters and a degree of relaxed understatement.

Of course, Kate is the Portrait Gallery’s royal patron. Below, a Gallery employee works this afternoon on the addition of Kate’s two photographs to the exhibit.Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal)

As many readers know, the Duchess has never posed for a fashion magazine. More from Tom Sykes in The Daily Beast:

Alexandra Shulman, Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue commented, “To be able to publish a photographic shoot with HRH The Duchess of Cambridge has been one of my greatest ambitions for the magazine.

A portfolio of seven photographs, are to appear with an accompanying article (sources say that although Kate has provided some original quotes for the piece, she has not broken the habit of a lifetime and given a sit-down interview).

Kate’s thoughts about being part of the magazine’s centenary issue come from ‘a spokesperson for the Duchess,’ via The Daily Beast.

The Duchess was delighted to play a part in celebrating the centenary of an institution that has given a platform to some of the most renowned photographers in this country’s history. She is incredibly grateful to the team at Vogue and at the National Portrait Gallery for asking her to take part. She would like to thank Josh Olins for being such a pleasure to work with. The Duchess had never taken part in a photography shoot like this before. She hopes that people appreciate the portraits with the sense of relaxed fun with which they were taken.

Kate does look very relaxed in the pictures, more from Vanity Fair:

Styled by one of the magazine’s senior style directors, Lucinda Chambers, Olins’s shoot captured the duchess at her most natural. A source at the magazine said that Kate worked closely with the editor and style director on the shoot eschewing glamour for country chic when it came to the wardrobe.

The Duchess also wears minimal makeup in the photo spread. More about that topic from The Telegraph:

For the first time the Duchess, 34, allowed a professional make-up artist to prepare her for the photographer, giving her a fresher, more youthful look.

Vogue hired make-up artist Sally Branka, who persuaded the Duchess to do without her usual black eyeliner and heavy blusher, with striking results.

It is Ms. Branka’s makeup work that is generating the most chatter online. As you might imagine, opinions are divided, although it should be noted that the minimalist look would have been discussed by Kate, Ms, Branka, Ms. Shulman and perhaps others involved in the shoot. Ultimately it would have been the Duchess’s decision to go ahead with a different approach. One more portion of the Vanity Fair story:

According to a spokesman at Kensington Palace, Wednesday will be “the first time” Kate has seen the images suggesting she did not have final approval over the portfolio of images which do not appear to have been heavily airbrushed.

Ms. Branka shared her elation about being part of the cover shoot in an Instagram post, saying she was “So proud to be part of this amazing cover!”

Sally Branka Instragram

Sally Branka Instragram

Photographer Josh Olins was born in London but now lives in New York. He has a wealth of experience with fashion shoots as well as celebrity photographs. He also shared his delight about being involved with the project via Instagram.

Josh Olins Instagram

Josh Olins Instagram

The photographer told Vogue he felt privileged to be chosen to take the photos, saying “This was the Duchess’s first sitting for a magazine and she was a joy to work with, a natural.” More about the shoot from Vanity Fair’s story

According to Alexandra Shulman, the magazine’s editor in chief, who was on the shoot: “The Duchess watched how Josh worked with the light and asked a lot of questions. It was her choice to shoot that picture where she is leaning over the gate because the late afternoon sun was particularly beautiful.”

In the picture the couple’s Landrover Defender can just be seen. While William’s security team drives a fleet of luxury Discovery Landrovers the Duchess prefers to drive around in the less-conspicuous Defender.

Shulman said that the shoot took place all day, “in a field somewhere down several tracks.  There were some farm buildings available for the crew and to use as a dressing room. We were very lucky with the weather and had bright sun for most of the time.”

Diana, the late Princess of Wales, appeared on Vogue’s cover four times. The first cover was shot by Lord Snowden for the August 1981 issue, not long after Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles, seen on the far left below. The other three cover images were all by Patrick Demarchelier. From second left to right you see the December 1991 issue; the noted July 1994 black and white cover; and October 1997’s cover, released posthumously with a photograph actually taken in July of 1994.  



Victoria Arbiter noted that Princess Anne also covered Vogue several times.



According to Vogue Kate chose the clothing, locations and photographer:

Having participated in choosing not only the clothes worn in the shoot and the locations used as a backdrop, but also the photographer who captured the images, the Duchess was pleased with the resulting feeling of informality in the final shots.

On to what Kate wore in the pictures, beginning with a Petite Bateau Striped Tee.

Petite Bateau

Petite Bateau

The tee is a standard silhouette for Petit Bateau in 100% cotton; this spring it is re-imagined with a vertically striped pocket. As you might expect, the piece has sold out in the red/navy colorway Kate wears, but it is available on the US site in blue/white and black/white. The inventory situation is identical on the UK site.

Petite Bateau

Petite Bateau

On the magazine’s cover the Duchess is seen wearing Burberry’s Double Breasted Suede Coat ($7500).Kate British Vogue June 2016 Cover Burberry Brown Suede Coat 2 Shot Product Pix April 30 2016

From the product description:

A suede coat cut with a classic double-breasted closure and wide revere collar. The tapered waist features an integrated martingale to cinch the silhouette and a softly pleated skirt for movement.

The $7500 piece remains available as of Monday, May 2nd. It’s possible the ‘Kate Effect’ won’t be quite so dramatic with this item, that has occasionally been the case with some of the very high-end items Kate has worn.Burberry

The Duchess also wears Burberry trousers, the brand’s Stretch Boot-Cut Trousers.Burberry

The pants are made of a rayon/elastane blend, with two back welt pockets and two side-seam (I think) pockets, detailed with ‘military style’ red topstitching. In the US they are $1195 and still available in several sizes; in the UK the trousers retail for £695, with many sizes still available.

Kate wears a hat by Beyond Retro.  Anna of My Small Obsessions has received confirmation Kate wears the retailer’s Wool Felt Fedora in Dark Green.

Britsh Vogue/Beyon Retro

British Vogue/Beyond Retro

Kate’s white shirt is also said to be a Burberry piece.

One other note about the Portrait Gallery: many wondered if the new photos meant the existing portrait of the Duchess would no longer be exhibited. According to the Gallery’s website, the portrait is on display in room 32.

Some may recall a discussion back in 2011 (and maybe again in 2012) about Anna Wintour hypothetically approaching the Duchess for a cover shoot, the following graphic is from a September 2011 Telegraph piece.

The Telegraph September 2011

The Telegraph September 2011

And we wrote about the topic in this post.

The magazine will be available for newsstand purchase and downloading on May 5th, this Thursday.Vogue

Many thanks to Anna of My Small Obsessions for identifying Kate’s trousers, hat, and tee shirt; thank you to Middleton Maven for quickly locating the coat.

We’ll leave you with this quick video (1:10) from the National Portrait Gallery about the Vogue 100 exhibit.


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Tuesday 10th of May 2016

I have just received confirmation from Burberry that the red plaid shirt Kate is wearing in the Vogue spread will not be offered for sale at any point.

Kathryn Keeler

Friday 6th of May 2016

I understand she is attempting to become the modern version of the understated people's princess, but I am not loving this look at all. She will become a princess and then a queen consort. I understand that she can be country and a little bit rock and roll, but the reason people watch future princesses is to be dazzled. That is what Princess Diana did best. She owned it. Queen Max does that with no regrets. Queen Letizia does that with no regrets. Princess Mary of Denmark does that with no regrets. True, the DOC is not at that level yet and maychoose to remain casual. Still, this is the time for her to build her brand quietly. We understand she loves the taupe shoes, re-wears dresses, etc., just like all of us, but she ought to go out with her A Game for a Vogue cover. This was an opportunity for her to knock it out of the park and I feel that the discussion has just become focused on her bad eyebrows. Disappointed.


Tuesday 3rd of May 2016

Would we ever see the Duchess wearing these clothes again? Or are they loaned just for the photoshoot?


Tuesday 3rd of May 2016

I can't beleive you identified the trousers from what little we see of them!


Tuesday 3rd of May 2016

WOW - DoC wears trousers.!!! - and she picked them!!! (According to Vogue Kate chose the clothing, locations and photographer:) ..and the universe re-aligns.


Tuesday 3rd of May 2016

I had a chance to go to the exhibition today and the shots of Kate look wonderful. There is a lot of different styles in the one room and Kate's pictures just look so beautiful, fresh and natural. I also picked up the June issue and while I think the photos are amazing it was really the article that stayed with me. Kate never once takes her phone out during the whole shoot preferring to engage with the team and has a complete lack of vanity, she scarcely looked at herself in the mirror trusting the hair and makeup team to create something they would both love. Inspiring!

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