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One-Hit Wonders Continue: Coat Coverage and Evening Gowns

One-Hit Wonders Continue: Coat Coverage and Evening Gowns

Today, we’ll examine several evening gowns suggested by readers for inclusion in our One-Hit Wonder category and review three distinctive coats that many believe deserve a second appearance.

We begin with the Amanda Wakeley design worn by the Duchess of Cambridge in October 2011 for her first solo engagement. The event was a small dinner at Clarence House for In Kind Direct, an organization that takes surplus goods and redistributes them to appropriate charities. The Duchess was filling in for Prince Charles, who was in Saudi Arabia following the death of that country’s Crown Prince.

The Duchess chose a soft aqua or seafoam gown dating back to Amanda Wakeley’s autumn/winter 2006-2007 collection.

The draped, floor-length Empire Line gown featured sparkling trim at the waist and shoulder straps. In the center photo showing the runway version of the gown, you can see the waistline alteration to the Duchess’s dress, raising the belt several inches.

The Duchess wore her hair partially up.

She accessorized with the diamond bracelet and earring set believed to be a wedding gift and her ‘Vamp’ heels by Jimmy Choo

Another gown receiving many mentions was the Jenny Packham design worn for a November 2011 fundraiser.  

The Duke and Duchess hosted the event at St. James’s Palace.

The one-shoulder Grecian-style dress by Jenny Packham was made of silvery chiffon and satin. It featured a draped bodice and self-belt. A similar Jenny Packham style in red was available at the time, likely the inspiration for the Duchess’s dress. 

The Duchess wore her hair mostly down with just a small portion pulled back.

She wore vintage-style earrings by Beaut Jewellery and a poppy pin. We saw the same diamond bracelet and Jimmy Choo ‘Vamp’ sandals as shown above.

Our third gown today is the Gucci design seen at a 100 Women in Finance gala dinner.

That function was held in February 2019 at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.

The off-the-shoulder Gucci design showcased a crisscrossed deep V-neck bodice with bands of pale pink and mauve and a floaty, flowing skirt in layers of pleated tulle with a sheer chiffon overlay.

The Duchess accented the waistline with a velvet band.

The Duchess wore her ‘Cabrina’ pumps by Oscar de la Renta and carried the Prada clutch we first saw at Princess Eugenie’s wedding.

She wore her hair partially back. 

And repeated the Kiki McDonough diamond and morganite earrings that were first noted at her sister Pippa’s wedding.

Today we also look at three One-Hit Wonder coats, all of them worn by the Princess of Wales when visiting Scotland. The design mentioned most frequently by readers is the Holland Cooper trench coat worn for an outdoor movie screening at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

The special showing of Disney’s Cruella was for NHS (National Health Service) staff in May 2021 to thank them for their vital work throughout the pandemic. The royals arrived for the event in a 1966 Land Rover that belonged to The Duke of Edinburgh. 

The Duchess delivered remarks before the movie started. You can see how the colors of the coat popped against the red background. 

Holland Cooper’s Marlborough Trench Coat (£849, about $1075 today’s exchange rates) was in a pattern called Heather Tartan.

The double-breasted design was 100% wool with a fitted silhouette, belted waist, buckle fastenings at the cuff, epaulets on the shoulders, back storm flap, deep back vent, and piped trim on the angled front pockets. 

I think the fabric deserves a close-up.

Arguably, the most notable accessory that evening was the sapphire and diamond earrings on loan from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

The Duchess also wore a pair of Manolo Blahnik’s BB Point Toe Pumps ($725) in deep green velvet.

Our next design from a Scotland trip is a Christopher Kane ensemble worn during an October 2015 visit to Dundee

The look included a knee-length coat and skirt by the designer and a black turtleneck sweater.

These photos provide a look at the outfit beneath the coat.

The coat was described as “a slim-fitted dogtooth wool tailored coat with belt.”

It was very much like the icy blue satin Christopher Kane coat the Duchess wore to the Olympic Games opening ceremony in 2012, at Order of the Garter in 2014 (photo below left), and a 2017 garden party. This graphic points out some 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.

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.

The Duchess was wearing her Rhumba boots by Aquatalia. She also carried her Cornelia James Imogen gloves ($175) and her Muse clutch by Stuart Weitzman.

Our final coat was seen during a May 2014 visit to Scotland. The Duchess was in a vibrant red and coral style by Scottish-born designer Jonathan Saunders.  

The Duke and Duchess had several engagements during their visit, including a stop at the Strathearn Community Campus, an area with a mix of leisure and sports facilities. The Duchess was given a kilt in the Strathearn tartan for Prince George, modeled by a large teddy bear.

They also stopped by the Famous Grouse, the country’s oldest distillery.

The Duchess’s Jonathan Saunders coat was the ‘Athena’ style from the designer’s autumn/winter 2013 collection.

The single-breasted style was made in the UK of a jacquard weave in a wool and mohair blend (86% wool, 11% mohair, and 3% polyamide). It had a notch collar, a single breast pocket, two front flap pockets, and a back vent. It was also offered in a deep olive green.

Here, you can see how the buttons were matched to the different colors in the graduated stripe pattern.

Beneath the coat, the Duchess wore the ‘Scarlett pleat front dress’ in a color called ‘geranium’ by Jane Atelier, formerly GOAT Fashion. She accessorized with two standbys: her Avona clutch and Sledge heels, both by LK Bennett.

The Duchess wore a brooch showcasing a Celtic knot, believed to have been a wedding gift from Prince William. She also wore another stalwart piece in her jewelry collection, her Citrine Drop Earrings (£695, about $875 today’s exchange rates) by Kiki McDonough. (I have added some repliKates for these to the Earrings page.)

There are still several gowns I think deserve a post and a smattering of other pieces. 

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Tuesday 28th of May 2024

I'm obsessed with that Gucci gown. Absolutely obsessed. I love everything about it.


Monday 20th of May 2024

I’m grateful there are a couple of One Hit Wonders I like shown here, but there are at least two are items I don’t wish to see again, so I’m coming to the conclusion that sometimes one hit is quite enough.

Top of my own ‘hits’ is the full-length V-neck Gucci with criss-cross colour bodice contrast – I think that’s two for Gucci with the V&A opening dress we reviewed earlier. The Kiki McDonough diamond and morganite earrings were a fabulous evening choice against the pleated tulle and chiffon.

My other two favourites are both coats worn in Scotland. I remain in awe of the aplomb which could come up with such a bright tartan trench coat from Holland Cooper to keep Catherine covered – literally - for an outdoor venue, but also sassy enough for the film debut she was attending. The sapphire and diamond earrings on loan from the late Queen were the perfect finishing touch of an accessible item with a glamour vibe. Then there was the bright royal blue of the wonderfully tailored Christopher Kane knee-length coat worn to Dundee which looked so right with black turtleneck and accessories. Its clean lines and focus on the houndstooth weave were an inspired combination.

I was less enthused about the Amanda Wakeley evening dress where I always felt the sparkle trim looked too much like some left-over Christmas tree tinsel. The other Jenny Packham worn to the memorial arboretum fundraiser was something else that passed me by, having too much of an old sheet vibe for my taste, not unlike the shapeless gown later worn for the James Bond Spectre premiere. And on a completely different style, I was never very taken by all the stripes on the Jonathan Saunders knee length coat.

But I have loved having these fascinating posts to go over these old looks while the Princess takes all the time she needs for full recovery.

Bonnie A

Saturday 25th of May 2024

@MaryH, great way to say it, I was the same now you mention it. Not a misstep but a surprising choice for that occasion.


Thursday 23rd of May 2024

@Kate, I think so, too. She handled herself with incredible poise, somehow not showing nerves she surely was feeling on her first, closely watched solo outing. But I was surpised this was the gown she chose for the event. This is the only time I can think of when the version of a gown that Catherine wore was more revealing than the runway version (e.g. in the chest area). While I wouldn't consider it a fashion misstep, the choice of gown did surprise me for her first solo engagement representing the RF. Regardless, she handled the event like a pro!


Thursday 23rd of May 2024

@Kate, Very good point.


Wednesday 22nd of May 2024


When I think of the ice blue Amanda Wakeley, I definitely think of it being a "first time on my own" outfit. I give Catherine credit; she had to have been so nervous. She rightly made it a one hit wonder and got a bit smarter after.


Sunday 19th of May 2024

Thanks for these great posts! Wow, there are a lot of One Hit Wonders. I often wonder what happens to all the items we've never seen again.


Sunday 19th of May 2024

I love the seafoam gown so much because I loved her hair style. She looked so regal.


Saturday 18th of May 2024

Another wonderful post of One Hit Wonders! Thank you to the Admin, for these interesting posts!

I send good wishes to the Princess of Wales! ♥️

Of all the gowns, my favorite is the silky, lovely, exquisite, silvery gown, designed by Jenny Packham. The beauty is in the fabric, as well as the gracefully Grecian, one-shoulder design. Truly, Catherine looked Goddess-like in this gown! Her hair is in a style that may be my favorite. It looks so very smooth and silky.

Not only would I love to see this gown make another appearance, but also the vintage-style earrings by Beaut Jewellery, that she wore with it.

As for the other two gowns, I have some issues with them.

The Amanda Wakeley gown looks a little too much like a negligee to me, and its washed out color is not so great, either.

The Gucci gown has a real problem with the bodice looking too binding, and I think it wouldn't have been very much improved, even if the bodice had been of one color, not two. The issue is not the colors for me, it's the weirdness of the way the entire bodice looks. Color can only do so much, to try to rectify the wrongs of a poorly designed gown. ² . I like all 3 coats. The Heather Tartan coat is gorgeous although there's a few too many buttons on it, which make it look a tad busy, but the buttons would have worked, if the belt had been black, including the buckle. As is, the gold buttons and gold buckle tend to compete with each other a bit too much.

I love the vivid blue Christopher Kane coat the best!

The red striped coat is pleasant enough, but it is the least interesting of the 3 coats, for me. Although I love red on Catherine, the red of the coat is kind of bland...not really a bold red or a rich red or a dark red...just a tepid kind of red.

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