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News Updates and Favorite 2023 Evening Gown Poll

News Updates and Favorite 2023 Evening Gown Poll

NOTE JAN 17, 2024: For those who may not have seen the news, the Princess of Wales has been admitted to a London hospital where she underwent abdominal surgery today (Wednesday, January 17). For details, there is a new blog post with more information. Below is yesterday’s post.

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I am back after some extended time off and have a few news updates and the first of our “2023 Favorites” polls.

We begin with a Daily Mirror piece by Russell Myers, the paper’s royal editor. In this January 10th story, he writes about an upcoming trip for the Prince and Princess of Wales. 

William and Kate are set to make their first tour of 2024 to a foreign country where British armed service personnel are stationed. Royal sources confirmed the couple are in advanced discussions to travel outside of the UK to thank British troops on behalf of the nation.

The Mirror is not revealing the location for security reasons but the trip is set to take place next month.

Some may remember the story I shared on Christmas about a visit to Italy. The Daily Mail piece by Rebecca English described “a short visit to the Italian capital.” Here is a portion of that story. 

The Prince and Princess of Wales will make a high-profile visit to Rome in the spring as part of a European charm offensive. 

While Kensington Palace has not officially announced the trip, the Mail can reveal talks are under way at the highest level and a date has been ‘pencilled in’. 

Could the trip to Rome and the military appreciation visit be the same engagements(s)? My guess is that they will be two separate events, but obviously, I could be wrong.  

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Our other update involves IDs on two items that have been in the UFO (Unidentified Fashion Object) category for some time. Both are coats. Do you remember the soft blue style worn for a day of engagements in Cambridgeshire in 2022?

Or the white design seen when the couple visited Wales last February?

Both remained unidentified, with many of us continuing to search for the designer. The mystery was solved in December when the Princess wore a design by Savile Row tailor Chris Kerr for the Christmas Carol concert.  

The folks at Royal Fashion Police got in touch with the designer and verified all three styles were created by the talented Mr. Kerr. 

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And now for our first poll covering styles worn in 2023. Last year brought eight engagements requiring an evening gown. We’ll start with the Alexander McQueen style worn for the BAFTA Film Awards last February

The one-shouldered design showcased a draped, fitted bodice with a full, flowing skirt and fabric at the shoulder. It was a reworked version of a design first worn at the 2019 BAFTA Awards.

The Princess accessorized with a dramatic pair of opera-length gloves believed to be by Cornelia James, her Aquazzura ‘Fenix’ pumps and ‘Celeste’ clutch by Jimmy Choo, along with a new pair of statement earrings by Zara, the Cascading Flower style (only available on the secondary market).

Here you see the gown as worn on both engagements. The update included alterations to the left shoulder: the floral petals were removed, and additional fabric was added and anchored to the shoulder.

The gown worn for the Coronation in May was also an Alexander McQueen design. The silk crepe gown had long sleeves and embroidery of rose, thistle, daffodil, and shamrock motifs. It was topped by the royal blue mantle of the Royal Victorian Order.

The Princess accessorized with a headpiece by milliner Jess Collett that showcased three-dimensional leaf embroidery, the South Sea Pearl and Diamond earrings that belonged to Diana, Princess of Wales. 

In an official photograph released by the royal household (with the RVO mantle removed), the Princess’s gown has a rounded vee-neckline, and she is also wearing the late Queen’s George VI Festoon Necklace. Unfortunately, I don’t have a closeup of the gown; the photo licensing forbids any editing of the original image. 

We had a surprise just a week after the coronation when the Princess made an appearance in a Eurovision Song Contest broadcast. In a video used for the broadcast’s opening segment, the Princess is at the piano in a Jenny Packham gown playing a portion of last year’s winning song.

We don’t have great photos showing the ‘Marlowe’ gown, a one-shouldered style with a tulle overlay and crystal embellishment at the waist, but I wanted to include it in the poll. The Princess also wore the Queen Mother’s Sapphire and Diamond Fringe Earrings.

We saw two gowns on the Princess when she and the Prince of Wales attended the June wedding of Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein and his bride, Princess Rajwa Al Hussein. The first was an Elie Saab design worn for the religious ceremony at Zahran Palace. It featured pleating and floral lace applique on the bodice, sleeves, and high neck. The skirt had inserts of sheer chiffon with tiny dots and the shoulders were padded.

The Princess also wore her Prada Wavy Strap Sandals, the UFO earrings most recently worn to the 2017 BAFTA Awards, and she carried her Wilbur and Gussie Charlie clutch.

At the formal reception, the Princess was in the ‘Georgia’ gown by Jenny Packham, a style she also owns in deep green. Crafted of sequin-covered tulle, it features a row of crystal floral embellishments accenting the waist and neckline, with padded shoulders and a concealed back zipper.

The big news for many of us was seeing the Princess wear the Greville Chandelier Earrings for the first time, a pair worn frequently by the late Queen. She also wore the Lover’s Knot tiara, her Gianvito Rossi ‘Rania’ Pumps, and carried her Prada clutch. She wore her Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II (on the left bodice of the dress with yellow ribbon), the sash, badge, and Maltese cross of the Royal Victorian Order, and her Bentley & Skinner Art Deco brooch set with diamonds (right shoulder).

In November we saw another Jenny Packham design, this one worn for the state dinner in honor of South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and First Lady Kim Keon Hee. The style was a customized piece from the designer’s spring/summer 24 resort collection. It featured a fitted bodice with a full skirt, wide cape-effect sleeves, structured shoulders with shoulder pads, and delicate floral embroidery. 

The focus that evening was more on the Princess’s tiara, a piece not worn for nearly one hundred years, the Strathmore Rose Tiara. The Princess also wore the late Queen’s Diamond Frame Earrings, her Queen Elizabeth II Royal Order, as well as her Royal Victorian Order sash, star, and cross. She carried her Anya Hindmarch ‘Maud’ clutch; her gloves were by Irish designer Paula Rowan.

Just ten days later we saw the Princess in an evening gown by Safiyaa when attending the Royal Variety Performance.

The Princess was in the brand’s ‘Destiny’ style, made of a heavy crepe fabric and featuring a fitted silhouette with dramatic floor-length split sleeves, crystal embellishment at the neckline, and a strong shoulder with shoulder pads. The Princess carried her Jenny Packham ‘Casa’ clutch, had on her J. Crew earrings, and wore pumps by either Gianvito Rossi or Emmy London.

One note: I did not include this year’s diplomatic reception look because it was an exact replication of what the Princess wore for the June wedding in Jordan. NOTE: some readers using the Firefox browser are encountering difficulty seeing the poll.  Deliane notes in a comment that when she switched to the Safari browser, she was able to see and vote in the poll. 

With thanks to Bonnie for the reminder, the BBC documentary Charles III: The Coronation Year is available on YouTube. The 90-minute doc features a behind-the-scenes look at the King’s first year, especially preparations for the coronation and the event itself. 

 For anyone who may have missed it, I’ll wrap up the post with a year-end video released by Kensington Palace.

 

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Jack Bing

Sunday 11th of February 2024

Coming late to this post, but just to note that one of the British papers ran some article about Taylor Swift following "Kate's" fashion example; most of which seemed like nonsense but the similarity between the Princess's BAFTA gown and Taylor Swift's ensemble at the Grammys was striking.

Sue V

Monday 22nd of January 2024

Late to the ‘table’ - as there had been no sightings of the Wales clan since Christmas I haven’t been checking in regularly.

Firstly, heartfelt wishes to Catherine for a complete, trouble-free (as much as possible) recovery, we’ll be waiting for you. All the tittle-tattle speculation in tabloids and self-important websites is so annoying and unnecessary. The KP bulletin stated medical ‘recommendation’ of required recovery for the type of surgery in question, no more needs to be said by anyone. They can all learn a thing or two from our hostess of this site with regard to being respectfully informative.

I agree with poster @Nancy below, it was a somewhat sparse full-on evening year (with quite a lot of square, biggish shoulder type looks!) so my ‘favourite’ has to be the re-worked Alexander McQueen at the BAFTAs. I still rate the b/w look of William against the w/b of Catherine and being a less formal ‘do’ their enjoyment also seems to shine through. Plus I rather like being part of a minority 5% in this case.

Larissa

Wednesday 17th of January 2024

I think evening gowns are the most difficult to get "right". I voted for the plainest of the bunch, the blue Safiyaa, because I think its simplicity really resonated with me – its highlight is really the colour, and despite being so plain it requires minimal accessoring thanks to that stunning collar. I'll admit I haven't read the original posts yet on some of these (catching up on clearing my inbox from 2023!) so maybe I will come to appreciate some of the other looks more, but when presented all in a group like this none of them really "wow" me. Each of them either feels a bit too fussy, or has elements I don't like in general, or something feels off in the accessorizing. I love the first green version of the Jenny Packham gown in Jordan, just not this more muted colour. And while I am absolutely head over heels with the appearance of a new tiara at the Korean state dinner, I find the dress a bit boring (and I don't have a fondness for fluttery sleeves in general) and the gloves too long for those sleeves.

Occasions requiring evening gowns command so much attention, especially on fashion versus the event overall because they are so often related to tradition rather than charity, which is why I think it's incredibly hard to get a perfect look. The Waleses elevated position forces a bit more glamour for these events which is why I'm a bit underwhelmed by these looks compared to when Kate was "only" a duchess and her evening looks were a bit simpler. I'm sure as she grows into this role we will see more stunning looks in the future. I can't imagine the pressure of having to look impeccable at events like these with cameras flashing at every opportunity.

Ester

Wednesday 17th of January 2024

The exquisite, classy, and feminine Elie Saab dress will be my favorite for all time!

Vanessa

Wednesday 17th of January 2024

The princess will be out of action until at least Easter. She has had major abdominal surgery so will need to recover from this

admin

Wednesday 17th of January 2024

Thank you Vanessa, there is a blog post about this. https://bit.ly/K817Jan2024

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