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Kate Wears Festive Frock by Vanessa Seward for Heads Together Events

The Duchess debuted a new label for today’s HeadsTogether annual general meeting and Christmas party hosted by The Mix.©Neila Hall / Reuters / Splash

The new frock is by designer Vanessa Seward.Kate Middleton Duchess Cambridge Heads Together Vanessa Seward Holly print dress

Kate, William, and Harry were all on hand for the day’s events. Rebecca English has more in her story for The Daily Mail:

This morning, William, Kate and Harry joined a group ‘breakout’ session where counsellors and volunteers shared knowledge and get training on dealing with a range of issues.

Its focus was on supporting people who are suicidal and helping young people coping with homelessness.

The Duchess took part in a live online chat about volunteers and counseling.Kate Middleton Duchess Cambridge Heads Together Vanessa Seward Holly print dress

After the work sessions, the trio enjoyed a Christmas party. From Richard Palmer’s Express story:

The three royals, who are joint patrons of the mental health charity Heads Together, went to a party hosted by youth support service The Mix, to celebrate the volunteers and counsellors who support people through tough times in their lives.

The Mix is a national charity that offers confidential, multi-issue support to young people under 25.

More from that Express story:

Inside the club, there was festive fun. Guests built and decorated gingerbread houses and wrote messages on baubles to hang on the Christmas tree.

Kensington Palace @KensingtonRoyal

Kensington Palace @KensingtonRoyal

William, Kate, and Harry met staff and volunteers from The Mix, as well as young people helped by the services the organization provides. Below, Kate working on some decorations.

Kate Middleton Duchess Cambridge Heads Together Vanessa Seward Holly print dress

 More from The Telegraph:

Kate joined staff and young people at the Heads Together event in creating paper chains adorned with morale-boosting words of support for young people.

Kate Middleton Duchess Cambridge Heads Together Vanessa Seward Holly print dress

Harry, Kate, and William presented George Yeorghaki with the Volunteer of the Year award at the party. Kate Middleton Duchess Cambridge Heads Together Vanessa Seward Holly print dress

Now to what Kate wore for the day’s activities.Kate Middleton Duchess Cambridge Heads Together Vanessa Seward Holly print dress

As mentioned above, Kate was in a dress by French designer Vanessa Seward, the ‘Cai’ style.Kate Middleton Duchess Cambridge Heads Together Vanessa Seward Holly print dress

From the a/w 2016 collection, the Cai is constructed of a silk jacquard features a small floral motif in red and green on a black background. The garment is described as having “a flowing draped design.” It features full sleeves, a button front with black enamel buttons, on-seam side pockets, and a self-belt the Duchess elected not to use. 



The garment is shown as still being available in one size on the US Net-a-Porter site (50% off, now $623), as well as on the UK site (40% off, now £432).

This is from Vogue’s review of the a/w 2016 collection:

Seward considers the little things, like the turtlenecks under knit sweaters, which this season were printed in silk, and the just-about-perfect fit of her raw denim jeans, worn cuffed over terrific blonde leather knee-high boots.

The new collection has a ’70s flair with silk blouses tucked into A-line midi skirts and culottes, and a trio of relaxed, belted jumpsuits.

And from today’s fashion column in The Telegraph:

Celebrated for its understated and real-world-ready aesthetic, the designer’s latest collection was met with solid reviews from fashion editors, making this a fashion-forward choice for the Duchess who has recently been expanding her wardrobe to include more contemporary labels like Barbara Cassasola and Preen, alongside her established favourites.

While Seward might be a new designer for the Duchess, the dress’s delicate floral print and midi-length are tried-and tested style signatures. Indeed the last time we saw Kate in a dress like this was the L.K Bennett ‘Cersei’ dress which she chose for a visit to the Natural History Museum less than a month ago.

Below, the dress referenced by The Telegraph alongside today’s look.Kate Middleton Duchess Cambridge Heads Together Vanessa Seward Holly print dress

It is a silhouette of which the Duchess is fond; I think most Kate fashion followers could rattle off several other pieces with a similar design.

The dress was originally priced at $1245 at Net-a-Porter. Most recently it was offered at 50% off on the US Net-a-Porter site, where it is now sold out. It remains available in very limited sizing on the UK site, where it is discounted by 40% to £432.  If fond of the dress, the Vanessa Seward US site still has it in stock in a few sizes, retailing at $525. Other pieces are shown in the print; they are also on sale: the Caroline Shirt ($416.50); the Clemence Bermuda Shorts ($360); the Caroline Shirt ($416.50); and the Aliyas Scarf ($112.50).Kate Middleton Duchess Cambridge Heads Together Vanessa Seward Holly print dress

Actress Drew Barrymore has also worn the Cai dress. Click this link to see the brief video of Ms. Barrymore in the dress. More about the designer’s background from the website:

Vanessa Seward was born in Buenos Aires and grew up in London and Paris. After training at the Studio Berçot, she worked with Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel for nine years and then with Tom Ford at Yves Saint Laurent. 

And from a Booth Moore Hollywood Reporter story:

Seward founded her namesake brand in 2014, after two years of creating capsule collections for French denim and casual wear label APC.

Seward was the designer of high-end French fashion house Azzaro from 2003 to 2011, when she visited L.A. often to dress celebrities, including Natalie Portman for the 2011 SAG Awards, Carey Mulligan and Eva Mendes for other events. 

Vanessa Seward also does handbags, jewelry, and footwear. Vanessa Seward has recently opened a number of boutiques, including a second shop in Paris; the new location is on the Left Bank. The first US store opened this summer in Los Angeles; a London presence will be established in February when the Vanessa Seward location in Notting Hill opens. In addition to the Notting Hill store, an Evening Standard story says Ms. Seward plans to open four more London boutiques.

Kate accessorized with her Gianvito Rossi Black Suede Pumps ($670).Net-a-Porter/Splash

She wore a belt by Alexander McQueen that we see with some frequency. The Duchess was first noted wearing it at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, during engagements on Valentine’s Day 2012. We also saw it when Kate joined HM and Prince Philip for the launch of the UK portion of the Jubilee Tour in March 2012, and in November 2014 for the Place2Be Awards.   

The belt is generally called the ‘Glossed Leather Belt,‘ shown below right. But I’m wondering if perhaps Kate bought the same belt in a different material, like suede, because going back to the first times we saw the Duchess sporting it I can’t locate a photo where the piece looked any glossier than it did today.Kate Middleton Duchess Cambridge Heads Together Vanessa Seward Holly print dress

I’m sure there’s a sensible explanation, but I don’t recall the belt ever being worn when it had a glossy, hi-shine finish. I may well have misidentified it in a previous post, although I’ve not yet been able to find that reference. Hmmmm.

She carried her Mulberry Bayswater Wallet Clutch.©Splash / Mulberry

For jewelry, Kate wore the Catherine Zoraida Fern Hoops. Kate’s hair was down in her signature loose curls.©Pete Maclaine / i-Images / Polaris

William shared a cute story about Prince George during the day’s festivities. From Richard Palmer’s story for The Express:

The Duke of Cambridge told KISS FM DJ AJ King that his three-year-old son was too excited to wait for the big day and had been opening a few of the gifts under the tree at the family’s Norfolk home.

“He said they were all really excited about it and that George is already opening his presents.

“He thought it a quite funny. That’s kids for you, even the ones that are princes.”

We will see you tomorrow when we hope to have a photo or two of Kate and others arriving at the Queen’s Christmas lunch. We’ll leave you with a look at the day’s events put together by The Mix. It runs about 2:30.


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Wednesday 21st of December 2016

I first thought 1972 (when local high street boutiques were full of red & green) and Christmas! It isn’t a colour combination I see often, perhaps because we think of red & green as being Christmassy as in red berries being on green leaves. I like it anyway, the style being particularly appropriate with children. I think it was the right type of shoe too, boots would have been too heavy for this lightweight dress & Kate does look very hot in some pictures – I think she’s realised these types of places are often like hothouses, no more coats worn all day. It was an appropriate choice for mixing with ordinary people too; she fitted in like any woman at an office/school. I do think a glossy thin belt would have been better though. Do people dislike the dress because it was what older folk wore when we were young & that’s why it’s called Mumsy/Grannyish? I don’t see anything Bo-Ho, if that`s hippy, but the style was worn by the over 40s in the 70s. It`s a young person`s look now, like the pleated dresses with sheer sleeves that Kate wears, another previously ‘oldies’ look, but for young people it’s a ‘new’ look. We 70s teens had the 30s look floral dresses, then came the Victorian look, then the Edwardian look of the 80s – the same people who dressed in then ‘granny’ fashions don’t like young people doing the same now. I’m glad to see the return of trends that look good on all age groups – tight skirts & dresses only flatter whilst standing straight and only if young & slim; if old enough to have a spare tyre, no matter how thin you are, I would stay away from sheath dresses. One thing stood out, Kate’s hair which Alora didn’t like. I too have long hair & coloured like Kate does here. I have had many compliments over the years, but it has not been likened to Bisto Gravy before!! I realise it wasn’t a compliment but it did make me smile – my DH says he’ll call me Bisto from now on!

NOTE: Quick admin edit


Thursday 22nd of December 2016

Yes the combination of green and red and the flower print are lovely and the colours suit her. Its possible that next time she wears this dress with different accessories the overall effect will be lovely.


Wednesday 21st of December 2016

I'm clearly in the minority, but I loved it! I also love all of the tea length dresses she has been wearing, but I think this dress particularly hit her in the exact right spot. The print is spot on for the holidays and I wouldn't be surprised if we see this dress again because she is clearly comfortable!


Wednesday 21st of December 2016

I like the dress itself, especially in the styling that Drew Barrymore gave it. I'm quite fond of the print! But I think the styling is where this outfit is a let down... the self tie would have been more than sufficient for shaping, so I don't quite understand adding the heavy leather belt. The pumps and clutch don't do much for the look, and while I do love those earrings, they seem a bit incongruous with the rest of the accessories. Add in wearing her hair down and it just feels very HEAVY, which is odd for such a light-looking dress.

I also agree that this doesn't really feel like it fits the event. A sort of whimsical dress works for a children's event (like the LKB dress at the history museum event), but it's just not either chic enough or business enough to make sense here. She has a number of more tailored or edgier looks that would have been a better fit.


Wednesday 21st of December 2016

Although this isn't a great dress style wise, it could have looked better had it been styled in a different way. Bohemian dresses need bohemian accessories. Classic accessories plus bohemian clothing just look frumpy.


Wednesday 21st of December 2016

Your comment put into words what I couldn't put my finger on - the dress is fine, but the styling with classic accessories is what throws it off and puts it firmly in mumsy territory.


Wednesday 21st of December 2016

I don't think this is "mumsy" or "grandma-esque" at all. By the way - and I've always wondered this - when you talk of a dress or clothing being "grandma", what on earth are you talking of? My grandmother wore crisp, classic fashions from Ann Taylor and the Loft so I truly do not understand this concept. "Grandma-esque?" You might has well put me in there then as I like this.

While the print is small, it looks like a field of poppies to me and I love poppies. The color brings a lot of life to her face. The neckline beings the attention to her face and while I understand that the hemline could be shorter, I like the length as it makes her look regal in some odd way. She carries herself with purpose and she isn't afraid of interaction because she knows there isn't any fear of flashing someone. She dresses to be with whom she is interacting. Today, it is young adults and she is being her version of fun.


Wednesday 21st of December 2016

I think the dress could be nice in the right setting. I do not mind the length or general cut of the dress. But stern,no nonsense black pumps simply don`t talk with a dress like this.Instead it calls for easy and fun accessories and only a summery and light hearted environment allows this.

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