We have several updates to share, and then our look at pieces by familiar Duchess designers that really stood out in 2016. First, the additions to Kate’s Calendar:
Tuesday, January 17th: William, Kate and Harry will “outline their 2017 ambitions for Heads Together.” I expect there will be an announcement at this event about the documentary the three young royals are taking part in. The doc is being produced to air on the BBC in the run-up to the London Marathon which is April 23. Heads Together is the Marathon charity partner this year and will field a team of runners helping to raise money and awareness of mental health issues. More about the documentary may be read in this Sun article and also in this People magazine story.
Tuesday, January 24th: The Duchess visits the EACH hospice in Quidenham where she will get an update on the Nook Appeal, the fundraising effort for a new children’s hospice in Norfolk that Kate helped launch in 2014. Kate will meet with staff and volunteers, and speak with family members benefiting from services offered at the Quidenham facility.
Last week we covered the many new designers the Duchess wore in 2016. Today we look at styles from designers and retailers Kate has worn previously that packed a punch in 2016. This group is composed of looks that made a distinct style statement for the Duchess, or perhaps prompted a “wow” upon the first glimpse. It is not a list of designs that I liked, rather, pieces that reflect a change in direction for Kate or a look that simply showed Kate’s self-confidence and ease in her role.
Our first ensemble in this category is the set of ‘Delphia’ separates by Temperley London worn to a party at the British High Commissioner’s House during the India tour. At 99.99% of the formal functions Kate attends we see her wearing dresses and evening gowns. As best I recall the Duchess hasn’t done separates for a formal occasion, and certainly not any with a cropped top. This was a step in a different direction for Kate, indicative of her willingness to take more risks with her wardrobe; it was a choice that worked very well. The lighter weight fabric was ideal for the climate, and the intricate embroidery was perfect for the occasion.
For Kate and William’s first visit to Royal Ascot in June, we saw another lace dress. But instead of the lace sheaths we have become accustomed to, this Dolce and Gabbana dress provided a softer look, enhanced by the tiered, full skirt. The cotton/poly/viscose/nylon blend dress had lovely movement when Kate was walking, and the partially sheer bodice and sheer sleeves showed off the lace detail nicely. Many thought Kate might have been channeling Eliza Doolittle from My Fair Lady, a role the Duchess played in a school play.
Arguably the look last year that may have provoked the loudest “wow!” across the interwebs: this Roland Mouret cold-shoulder dress. The ‘Nansen’ gown features a deep vee neckline and shoulder cutouts, as well as multiple pieces of inserted fabric and darts in several places. Worn to a June SportsAid party at Kensington Palace, the dress created a much bolder impression than we generally see Kate make, one that was very much of the moment. It was on the same level as the Barbara Casasola off the shoulder frock worn in July in terms of the Duchess taking a more daring approach to fashion.
This next choice may surprise you because it is an ensemble we have seen before. We’re talking about the Catherine Walker coat and dress seen at Order of the Garter in June. The ensemble was first worn in July 2011 when Kate and William were departing Canada. The addition of Kate’s wedding earrings, red suede heels by Gianvito Rossi, and the Lock and Company hat all combined to take the look to an entirely different level, one that really made the Duchess shine. She looked very much at ease and quite comfortable in her role after five years as a senior royal.
When arriving at the Victoria airport in British Columbia for the start of the Canada tour, Kate wore an ensemble featuring a bespoke dress by Jenny Packham and hat by Sylvia Fletcher for Lock and Company (the blue version of the red chapeau seen above). Those pieces were enhanced by the Queen’s diamond brooch and tanzanite earrings from G. Collins & Sons, creating a look that was stunning. The Duchess looked every bit the royal. The visual impact was so powerful that several readers suggested it be added to our Iconic Looks page (it was).
For her first solo overseas trip in October, Kate chose a pale blue belted suit by royal favorite Catherine Walker. The Duchess was visiting the Netherlands, where she would be meeting King Willem-Alexander and visiting an art gallery. The wool crepe suit looked professional; details like the peplum waist, slightly flared sleeves and oversized buttons also gave it a little panache. The Queen’s pearl and diamond earrings, combined with the updo, created an air of understated elegance.
Are there styles you think that should have been included that I omitted? Designs that are shown above that you don’t think were really that strong? I would love to see everyone’s input on this one because it is so objective.
Also today, a look at a photo showing a very young Kate. Party Pieces, the company Carole and Michael Middleton own, is celebrating its 30 year anniversary. As part of the celebration, the website takes a look back over its 30 years of operation, and this picture is part of that coverage. You can see Kate on the far right. UPDATE: The Daily Mail has done a story about this photo and evidently Pippa is in the upper right (at Carole Middleton’s left shoulder) while James is to Carole Middleton’s immediate right. The story cropped out the child wearing a sweatshirt with a bear on the front.
Taken in 1989, the photo shows a 7-year-old Kate. This quote from Cariole Middleton is part of the story about the anniversary: “…over the years all my children have played a huge part in it from modelling for the catalogue to developing new categories for the brand.”
Finally, one quick Sales & Savings note: LK Bennett is taking 40% off sale prices on the US site and in-store (US stores) with promo code HURRAY. Sale items that have a Kate connection include the Madison Dress, the updated version of Kate’s Agata sandals, the Cami Chiffon Print Dress and the Cami Chiffon Print Skirt. (This is the print Kate wore to church on the 8th.)
We will see you next week with some of our polls on styles worn by the Duchess in 2016 and coverage of her engagements on Tuesday.