Welcome to a new week, we are popping in with some Bits and Bytes we hope you will enjoy.
We begin with items from the Duchess’s wardrobe for the 2011 North American Tour. In many instances it was just the first of many appearances for apparel and accessory items we would be seeing again. If Kate did not bring back specific pieces worn on the tour, she certainly continued to patronize most designers and retailers whose merchandise she wore in Canada and California. But for an isolated group of items this isn’t what happened; there were a couple of pieces and designers we didn’t see following the tour.
The first in this group comes from the ensemble Kate wore when boarding the flight to Canada.
The Duchess wore the ‘Manon’ dress by Roland Mouret and One Button Blazer from Smythe, carried Mulberry’s Polly Push Lock Tote, and had on Manolo Blahnik’s ‘Calogera’ heels. As recently as this July Kate wore her Smythe blazer, it is a staple in her wardrobe.
We’ve certainly seen Kate in Roland Mouret since the tour, that brand remains part of her mix.
As does Mulberry; Kate has worn multiple garments by the company (some are shown below), and consistently carries the brand’s Bayswater Clutch Wallet.
What we’ve not seen again, at least to the best of my knowledge, is the shoe worn when leaving London. Or anything else by Manolo Blahnik.
There’s no specific reason I’m aware of why the Duchess has steered clear of the brand. It could well be a decision to stick with certain footwear manufacturers whose products fit and wore well, primary choices like Hobbs, LK Bennett and Russell and Bromley, supplemented by ‘secondary’ brands such as Jimmy Choo and Stuart Weitzman. I would think from a wardrobe purchasing and management perspective this would be easier than constantly switching between brands. It would also make it easier to shop online for items and avoid trips to varying retailers: one knows what the color ‘navy’ is at Vendor A and what it is at Vendor B, eliminating or diminishing that “But it didn’t look like this online” reaction we’ve probably all encountered at one time or another when unwrapping a purchase made online.
There are two items we’ve not seen since this photo from Canada Day, 2011.
One is Kate’s Sylvia Fletcher for Lock & Company hat. That makes sense, the piece was created specifically for this engagement on this holiday. The ‘Albini Square Cut’ heels in cherry red are by Hobbs. They’ve not been worn since July of 2011 either, at least not that we know of.
My guess is their design simply didn’t work with Kate’s style aesthetic as she moved forward from this first tour. The heel is ‘only 80mm,’ about 3″. The Sledge has a 4″ heel with a 1/2″ platform, effectively making its heel 3.5″. The most recent batch of pumps by Gianvito Rossi Kate has worn all measure 100 – 105mm, and her trusty LK Bennett Fern measures 3.9″. From a design perspective I don’t recall seeing Kate in a shoe style blending leather and patent leather since the tour, although it is probably a minor point.
The Tabitha Simmons ‘Dela’ is another shoe we’ve not seen the Duchess wear again.
The speckled cream and grey heels were from the British brand’s a/w 2011 collection. Perhaps the shoe wasn’t as comfortable as hoped, or there was another reason these didn’t make the cut following the tour.
The only other designer of note that we saw on the tour that Kate no longer wears is Issa.
That is most likely because controlling interest in the brand was sold to Camilla Fayed. From a previous post on the topic: “Why should that matter? Because her father, Mohamed al-Fayed, previous Harrod’s owner, has been vocal in his belief the Royal Family is responsible for the death of his son, Dodi al-Fayed, along with Princess Diana. That topic is the subject of a film he financed, Unlawful Killing. In the movie the Queen is referred to as ‘a gangster in a tiara’ and Prince Philip is called a psychopath.” Ms. Fayed is no longer with the label, but I think the water is under the bridge or over the dam, or however one refers to a situation from which a return point is gone.
Also related to the 2011 tour, a Sunday Mirror piece titled 5 ways Kate Middleton’s Canada 2011 royal tour outfits cemented her as a style icon. Danielle Stacey’s story looks at five different characteristics of Kate’s tour wardrobe, including several we’ve discussed here. One is Kate’s capacity to blend designer labels with high street brands. Below you see the Duchess wearing off-the-rack pieces by Whistles, in diamonds and a couture evening gown by Alexander McQueen, and wearing a Temperley London blouse with jeans.
Ms. Stacey also notes “Patriotic Details,” what we often refer to as sartorial diplomacy, and the Duchess’s use of wardrobe staples. Click here to read the entire piece.
The day’s other tidbit is about the Séraphine maternity dress worn by the Duchess in the first family photo released after Prince George’s birth.
Portions of the OK! interview are included in this Daily Mail story.
‘When it was confirmed that the dress was Séraphine, things went crazy.
‘The ‘Kate effect’ nearly crashed our website, we got hundreds of calls and the dress instantly sold out.’
It’s always interesting to see what the hard numbers are when dealing with a retailing phenomenon. I was surprised at how many sales have been attributed to the Kate Effect.
The £49 dress was a huge success with Cecile selling all 20,000 of them.
That is quite a few frocks, more than I would have anticipated. The dress is called the Fuchsia Knot Front Maternity Dress.
It is still available at Macy’s, as well as Amazon, a Pea in the Pod, and other retailers; it is priced at $89. Kate has worn several other pieces by the brand, including the Florrie dress and Natasha coat. The coat is on sale at Séraphine, about 30% off.
Séraphine actually has quite a few pieces marked down as part of its summer sale, click here for more.
The company has successfully carved out a niche, no small accomplishment in today’s crowded upscale accessories market. Below you see Milli Millu’s Chicago bag in deep taupe, the Berlin in gray and off-white tones, and the Copenhagen, also in deep taupe.
Here is how the brand is described in an October column on ‘Secret Handbag Brands’ in The Telegraph:
After running a survey among other professional women, business strategy advisor Mireia Llusia-Lindh found that 95% could not find their perfect handbag. All of Milli Millu’s day bags boast pockets for work essentials and are large enough to fit a laptop in.
Milli Millu’s popularity extends to many notable names, including some with a royal connection. Below, Princess Beatrice shopping in Mayfair this February.
She carried her Dubai bag in burgundy leather.
Pippa Middleton has been seen with a variety of styles over the years, including the Luxembourg (L) and the Vienna (R).
The Luxembourg is no longer available, but the Chicago makes a good substitute.
Below, the Sydney, a versatile piece that can be carried by the handle, as a shoulder bag and also a backpack.
Most recently Milli Millu was named a ‘Brand of Tomorrow‘ by Walpole, an alliance of British luxury brands. Companies receiving that recognition in previous years include Emilia Wickstead, Goat Fashion, and Charlotte Olympia. The company continues its “A Bag, A Life” program, funding lifesaving vaccines and medical procedures for children in need. The Maxi Brooklyn clutch comes in a broad variety of colors, we show it in black and navy. All Milli Millu products continue to be made in Spain.
All handbags are handcrafted in the south of Spain with special attention to texture and detail, using the finest Italian and Spanish materials. Our suppliers work for the most renowned luxury brands in the industry.
The Tribeca card holder remains popular, offered in a rainbow of colors.
Milli Millu’s popularity among celebrities is still significant. Beyoncé, January Jones and Kim Sears are just a few of the celebrities seen with their Milli Millu bags. Below, actress Emily Blunt in April as she leaves a Los Angeles television studio after taping the Jimmy Kimmel Show.
She carried her Stockholm bag.
The Stockholm is roughly 18″ x 10″ x 6″, big enough to hold a 13″ laptop. There is another size called the Midi-Stockholm; we show it in a vibrant palette of greys and midnight and also in an all black version.
Milli Millu has a panel of brand ambassadors, and while their names won’t be as well known as the celebrities we’ve covered in this post, two are connected with labels you’ll recognize. Below, Polly McMaster, founder of The Fold, and an image of her favorite bag, the Zurich.
There’s an updated page with more pix pairing pieces from this fall’s Fold collection with Milli Millu bags.
The company now has free shipping and return shipping on all orders in the UK; elsewhere shipping (both ways) is free with orders totaling more than £200. Milli Millu will also do free lifetime repairs.
In the unlikely event your handbag needed repair (if something breaks, excludes normal wear and tear) within 12 months of the purchase date; we would arrange the collection, repair it and ship it back to your chosen address free of charge. Should your handbag need repairing after 12 months, you can ship it to us and we will repair it free of charge… forever!
If thinking about popping over to the Milli Millu site to look at things more closely, here’s an additional incentive: WKW readers have been given an exclusive 15% discount on any purchases. Use promo code WKW08 at checkout to ensure the savings.