Hello, and welcome to a new post! Way back when the lockdown started, I asked what sort of things you would like to see covered on the site during the absence of ‘normal engagements,’ and one popular topic was pieces worn by the Duchess that we have only seen one time.
We’ll begin with a gown worn for the October 2015 London premiere of SPECTRE.
The Duchess was in a Jenny Packham design for the glittering event.
Kate’s gown was based on a dress from the Spring 2011 collection.
The gown showcased a crossover top in the front and a full, flowing, multi-layer skirt. Beneath a sheer overlay the dress had a halter-style top. The bodice back was slit open, and the dress closed at the back neck and with a zipper in the skirt portion of the piece. A shimmering rhinestone belt accented the waist and the skirt was full.
There was also an extended row of rhinestone or crystal button/snaps at the wrist. Kate wore her hair up.
This allowed an unobstructed view of her Robinson Pelham earrings, the jeweler’s Pagoda style set with blue topaz and diamonds in white gold.
The Duchess’s mother, Carole Middleton, wore these earrings to Kate and William’s evening wedding reception in 2011.
Here is a better look at the Duchess’s updo.
She accessorized with a miniature version of Jenny Packham’s Casa handbag, a box clutch that featured angular enamel and a crystal-encrusted clasp. Kate also brought back her ‘Vamp’ platform sandals from Jimmy Choo.
And another look.
Our next look is from a far more somber occasion, ceremonies in France marking the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.
There were horrific casualties on both sides, and the battle went on for months, with more than one million men killed or wounded.
Rain fell on and off throughout the ceremony.
The Duchess chose a cream and black lace dress by Jenny Packham for the occasion. The sheath featured a Peter Pan collar, princess seaming, peplum waist, three-quarter length sleeves, and a back vent on the skirt.
A closer look at the elegant lace and seam details.
The lace is by Sophie Hallette, the renowned French textile house that also made lace used for Kate’s wedding gown and shoes. Below, a closer look at the delicate eyelash lace at the sleeves and peplum.
The Duchess brought back a Sylvia Fletcher for Lock and Company hat.
It was the Lion Tamer Perching style.
Designed by our resident milliner Sylvia Fletcher, the Lion Tamer is a signature style in our Couture collection. Hand-sculpted from layers of dyed ebony sinamay and finished with a simple ostrich feather, it elegantly frames the face.
This offers a look at Kate’s updo, seen during the ceremony, and in a lighter moment when speaking with children earlier in the day.
Kate also wore a poppy, as well as a ‘bleuet’ cornflower, the latter a symbol of remembrance in France.
Our third one-hit-wonder is from a visit to Dundee, Scotland, in October 2015.
The Countess of Strathearn, as she is titled in Scotland, wore a bespoke ensemble by Scottish-born designer Christopher Kane.
The look included a coat and skirt by the designer and a black turtleneck sweater.
Here you get a look at the kilt.
The coat was described as a “slim-fitted dogtooth wool tailored coat with belt,” and it was almost identical to the icy blue satin coat by Christopher Kane the Duchess wore to the Olympic Games opening ceremony in 2012 and Order of the Garter in 2014.
This graphic points out many of the similar design elements. The silhouette is much the same; other shared elements include princess seaming, the hidden/covered placket, small lapels, on-seam pockets, and slim self-belt.
Two more views of the coat, an excellent piece of tailoring.
This offers a good look at the fabric used in the pieces, a royal blue houndstooth (also called dogtooth, primarily when used in a smaller pattern) in royal blue.
For footwear, the Duchess chose her Rhumba boots by Aquatalia.
We’ll close this section of the post with one more Dundee photo.
Three different ensembles for three very different functions. Do you have a favorite?
In suggesting content for our lockdown posts, a few asked that I cover some of my favorite Kate looks. You are looking at one of my Top Ten, the Christopher Kane worn in Dundee. I thought the color was particularly flattering on Kate, and the coat’s crisp tailoring paired with the kicky skirt was a win, particularly with the nod to Scotland through the traditional kilt design and the choice of a Scottish-born designer.
I have quite a list going of pieces that qualify as one-hit wonders, but I would love to hear more from you on looks the Duchess has worn that you think should be included in future posts!
Our other topic is an update on what was a UFO piece worn by the Duchess on a June video call.
On the call, the Duchess made a ‘virtual visit’ to Clouds House, an Action on Addiction treatment center. After hours (and hours!) of searching, I wasn’t able to figure out what Kate wore, nor were other royal fashion writers. But this weekend, I received a message from ID whiz and longtime friend Stephanie Champion-Helton (aka Lady Coventry on Twitter), who told me that eBay UK Seller noonandchas had solved the puzzle: this was a dress by Hobbs London. Behold, the ‘Loreley Dress’ from the retailer’s s/s 2012 collection.
The striking color is called ‘Deep Jasper,’ likely referencing the jasper stone. The piece has a shirt dress silhouette in a fabric that is a 78% acetate, 22% polyester blend, per eBay UK Seller noonandchas. These next photos are via the noonandchas auction listing for the dress.
The Loreley has a hidden front placket with contrast buttons, contrasting trim on the inner collar, a yoked back, front bodice pockets, a self-belt, and elbow-length sleeves with contrasting buttons. Here is a closer look at the distinctive collar trim with another photo from the noonandchas dress listing on eBay.
Stephanie and I have been chatting and wondering if perhaps Kate purchased this the same time she bought the Hobbs Wessex dress from the same season’s collection, first worn in July 2012, and then brought back during the 2014 Australia tour.
One quick FYI: Hobbs is in the midst of its summer sale, and there are quite a few bargains available, with some items discounted 70%. Another Kate favorite, LK Bennett, is also having its summer sale, and they have items marked down as much as 60%.