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Kate Makes a Style Statement in Marchesa Notte & Kate Spade at Theater Opening

The Duchess debuted another new label this evening at the opening night of 42nd Street at the Drury Theatre.

©Stephen Lock / i-Images

The opening night festivities in London’s famed West End were a fundraiser for EACH, East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices. Kate’s dress was by Marchesa Notte, the label’s Embellished Tulle Midi Dress. From an Express story:

The stage show – which stars Grammy award-winning singer Sheena Easton – is helping to raise money for the charity as funds are required for a vital new purpose-built hospice in Norfolk called The Nook.

Kate has been the royal patron of EACH since 2012. Many readers will recall that she helped kick off the fundraising campaign for The Nook in 2014. Below, the Duchess arriving at the theatre.

There were quite a few notable names at tonight’s opening, including actor Morgan Freeman. Say ‘hello’ to Ollie. He benefits from the work done at the EACH Hospice in Milton.

EACH @EACH_Hospices

EACH @EACH_Hospices

The 12-year-old was chosen to give Kate her official program for the show. More about what tonight’s event means to Ollie and his family from The Cambridge News:

This is a welcome respite to the family after years of ups and downs as parents Claire and Gavin get to grips with their sons condition after he underwent an organ transplant in 2010.  Ollie’s illness affects his breathing, feeding and use of a wheelchair often restricts Ollie to only being to walk short distances. …the one constant has been the support from the charity since Ollie first visited the Milton hospice aged just three.

EACH enables us to be a family, providing care and support for us as a whole,” said Claire. “Having a safe place for Ollie to be cared for is the most valuable gift we could ever have been given.

More about the 42nd Street revival production from The Daily Mail:

The show, which features classic songs We’re In The Money, Keep Young And Beautiful, I Only Have Eyes For You and Lullaby Of Broadway, returns to the theatre where it made its first UK run from 1984 to 1989, starring a then-unknown Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Here you see Kate with (from L to R): Dr. Johnny Hon, the show’s executive producer; I believe the woman to his left is his wife, Vicki. On the right, Lord Michael Grade, the producer of the London revival of 42nd Street.

The Duchess on stage as a presentation was made commemorating the evening.  

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace

She was presented with her very own set of tap shoes.

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace

There was good news about the evening’s fundraising efforts. We return to The Cambridge News for a story about that; it quotes Graham Butland, the EACH Chief Executive:

Graham Butland, EACH Chief Executive, said: “It’s fantastic we’ve already received a very generous donation and hope that during the evening the audience will help us raise even more money to make our vision a reality – it would be wonderful if, with the support of everyone, we could reach £420,000.”

©Stephen Lock / i-Images / Polaris)

Now to what Kate wore for tonight’s engagement. Her frock is the Embellished Tulle Midi Dress in ‘claret.’ The piece is part of the Marchesa Notte Resort 2017 collection.© /Marchesa

The nipped-in waist and very full skirt reminded some of Dior’s ‘New Look’ designs in the late 1940s.  In the photo above left you can see some of the volume in the skirt. The dress also features cap sleeves, an illusion neckline, hidden back zipper, and flexible boning. The hem is described as being “reinforced to hold its voluminous shape.”



Thoughts about tonight’s ensemble from Edward Barsamian’s Vogue story:

…a bold, eye-catching color that turned up again and again on the Fall 2017 runways and seems to have become one of her personal go-tos.

Tonight’s look, however, struck a new balance between fantasy and practicality by extending the color from head to toe.

Custom changes were made to Kate’s dress. If you look closely at the bodice and upper arm you can see that her dress had sleeves added that were a touch longer than the cap sleeves. The seam where they are attached to the bodice is difficult to see because of her hair, but it is there. Thank you to Bertie Gee on the FB page and Alissa for her comment pointing this out.

Kate Marchesa Notte Sleeve Side by Side

Net-a-Porter / Polaris

The dress features a motif described as “lattice and rosette,” better seen in these closeups.

© /Net-a-Porter

© James Whatling/Net-a-Porter

In this photo you can see the lattice pattern on Kate’s ankles created by the stage lights shining through her skirt.©James Whatling

Below you can see the unfinished hem on the frock; that is how the dress is shown on the Marchesa site and at Farfetch. In most other photos the hem is finished. (See UPDATE below related to hem and other elements of the dress.) The belt is embellished with beads and crystals.

Kate 42nd Street Marchesa Notte Belt Hem Apr 4 2017 copy

Net-a-Porter / Farfetch

Net-a-Porter / Farfetch

The dress is still available in US size 10 at Net-a-Porter and in US size 8 at Farfetch ($1195 at both retailers), with thanks to Dot for the Farfetch tip. Many thanks to Emi on Twitter for her speedy dress identification, followed quickly by the Royal Cambridges. UPDATE: Jeslyn left a comment pointing out the dresses look very different on the two websites, she is spot-on. When side by side the distinctions are obvious. Retailers will often ask for some changes in garments to distinguish them from items being offered by a competitor. Often this is done so a retailer can refer to an item as an “exclusive,” but that doesn’t appear to be the case here. Hmmm.

Many were elated to see Kate in a dress that was quite a change from her lace sheaths. Below, Jessica of the Fug Girls shares her thoughts about the style:

Oh my god, I might love this. Is this what happiness feels like? I FORGOT. And, in other shocking news, it’s MARCHESA. (Specifically, Marchesa Notte, which is their less expensive [although, obviously, still pricy] arm.)  Would I have styled it slightly differently? Yes. BUT TAKE YOUR JOY WHERE IT LIVES.

In an interview with Hello! during London Fashion Week Marchesa’s co-founders spoke about their desire to see the Duchess in one of their designs:

…the designers behind the high-end label, Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig, want their fashion-goers to feel like the Duchess of Cambridge when they put on one of their glamorous pieces. “We love Kate Middleton’s style,” Georgina shared with HELLO!. “I think we like to think of every gown [for] someone to feel like they are her,” Keren admitted. Her co-founder Keren concurred saying, “You want to feel regal when you put on a beautiful gown.”

The Notte line is described as the ‘little sister’ label by Marchesa. It offers dresses and gowns with intricate details, as well as lower price points.  The line is carried at a variety of retailers, including Net-a-Porter, Neiman MarcusShopbop, Saks. Net-a-Porter’s discount arm, The Outnet, also offers the line.©PA Images

Kate wore earrings that were probably a little out of her comfort zone, Kate Spade’s Pretty Poms Tassel Statement Earrings ($98).©PA Images/Nordstrom/i-Images

More about the design from the product description:

acccording to our creative director, deborah lloyd, “tassels are the new bows.” and, in bright hues, the ultra-chic design elements are especially well-suited to jewelry. 

(Kate Spade does not capitalize in its product descriptions.) The earrings are made of silk thread and glass beads. From what I saw on the Facebook page and Twitter, these look like they will be added to the pantheon of polarizing pieces the Duchess has worn. While many loved them and thought it was great to see her in ‘statement’ earrings (interesting to see they are actually called ‘statement earrings’), others thought they looked like drapery pulls or other home decorating items. Many thanks to Melina on Twitter for her ID of the earrings.

We saw the return of the Gianvito Rossi signature pumps in Bordeaux, first noted during the China State Visit.© /My Theresa/

And Kate carried her trusty Bayswater Wallet Clutch by Mulberry.© /Mulberry

Another look.©Zak Hussein / Splash News


We’ll see you tomorrow for the ‘Service of Hope’ at Westminster Abbey starting at Noon local time, 7 am EDT / 4 am PDT.

If interested in learning more about The Nook, this 3-minute video has lots of information.


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Sunday 16th of April 2017

Beautiful dress.The earrings have a good colour and are ok, not great but I suspect that having access to so many real gemstones she might find wearing fake rocks in costume jewelry a little odd. But these are tassels.They are not pricey in nature.So in this way they make sense as costume jewelry. Or maybe her daughter just liked them.u

Elizabeth G

Friday 14th of April 2017

I absolutely love this dress, which is surprising as the 50's full skirt look has never been a favorite style for me! I am only 5'2" and am a bit on the chunky side, so this style of dress just swallows me up, but on Catherine it looks gorgeous! I agree that black accessories may have worked better, but I like that she is taking a bit of a fashion risk by wearing two different shades of red AND sporting those earrings! I'm not sure how I feel about them, but they're definitely a statement piece and we're all talking about them so they're doing their job. Her hair and skin look so healthy; what is her skin routine? I wonder if we'll ever know??


Monday 10th of April 2017

The dress is perfection and I don't mind the shoes, but the purse should have been the color to change. One of her sparkle bags would have worked.

As for the earrings, they were wrong for 2 reasons: the styling was far too casual. That look is for dinner with girlfriends or going out to drink. And they are far too big for her hair being down. A simple single solitaire or even her diamonds that I believe were a gift from Prince Charles would have worked.

I love her hair but come on Kate, change it up. This look called for a fun simple updo, especially with those earrings. The constant tucking of the hair every handshake because it falls back over the ear is just a little, I don't even know what word to use.


Saturday 8th of April 2017

I'm late to the party but I LOVE this look! I don't know what exactly it is about the dress, maybe the volume of the skirt or the quaint sleeves (good addition) - it just seems absolutely perfect for a bit of a fancy occasion at the theatre. I don't care for the earrings but I'm happy the Duchess chose them as a statement piece. Usually I'm not crazy about the matchy-matchy shoes and bag but I think it works in this look, maybe because of the pattern and lace on the dress that are a bit busy and require some subdued accessorizing. Her hair looks fantastic, especially against that colour. Hope we see this dress again, I particularly enjoyed the shadow it created under the stage lights!


Saturday 8th of April 2017

Gorgeous, gorgeous dress and lovely fit for her. I like the claret shoes and clutch with the dress; I think that contrasting with black would be out of place. However, the earrings are a dreadful combination with the dress. It looks like drapery pulls combined with the rosettes and is just too much and not in keeping with the understated elegance of the dress. More simple earrings - a bit of bling and ruby would be much more fitting for an elegant early-evening dress.

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