Thursday, October 23, 2014

Duchess of Cambridge Goes Edgy In Black Temperley to Action on Addiction's Autumn Gala

Tonight, Kate followed up her double-header on Tuesday with another glitzy evening appearance, this time for Action on Addiction's Autumn Gala at L'Anima Italian restaurant in London.  Kate could have gone long or short to this event, and I felt like it was a 50/50 proposition--obviously I was rooting for long. She went short:
  


Action on Addiction's press release made mention of several of visits that the Duchess has made to their various services. They referred to her visit to Hope House, which was actually the first engagement Kate undertook following her hyperemesis gravidarum when pregnant with George. Much like this Tuesday, it marked her return to health and public duties following some very rough weeks.


The press release referenced her work on behalf of  M-PACT Plus. Kate kicked the initiative off, also while pregnant with George, when she visited Willows Primary School in April of 2013:


And at Blessed Sacrament School just this summer, again to promote an M-PACT Plus initiative wearing Goat: 


Lastly, they made mention of a visit that Kate undertook to Clouds House. If this event doesn't ring a bell, there was limited coverage because it was a private visit. You can read more about that visit from the Daily Mail here. Tonight, The Express reported that the program this evening held brief remarks penned by Kate:
During the time I have spent with clients and staff I have been privileged to see the phenomenal work which the charity undertakes to improve the lives of those affected by addiction. The stories of recovery are remarkable; and Action on Addiction's role in helping people achieve this is truly inspiring. Your generous support will enable Action on Addiction's vital work to continue, helping transform people's lives.
Action on Addiction's color is pink and so they rolled out, not a red carpet, but one in the same hot pink hue as their giant "A" logo. That could really throw a girl for a loop if she arrived in red to discover she was in for a clash with this bold carpet. Thankfully, royals are always apprised on possible conflicts of this nature.


Guests mingled in the very popular and hip Italian restaurant waiting for Kate to arrive. Given there was an auction at the end of the evening, I imagine they had some shopping to keep their minds off their impending brush with super stardom. 


Upon arrival, Kate chatted with guests at the restaurant while a live pianist played in the background before she listened to a speech by the Chair of Action on Addiction and watched performance by comedian Rory Bremner. 



Kate chose Temperley London's "Emblem Flare" dress, retailing at £595.00. I think this dress is a testament to the rule that sometimes a dress is rather...awful on the rack, but transformed once on a real, live person. The company describes the dress's inspiration:
This long-sleeved dress is inspired by stained glass ironwork and woven from a lightweight cotton-blend yarn. Delicate panels expose the nude slip, adding an edge to this feminine piece. The design is finished with a slashed neckline and a scoop back. Simply slips on. 



I think most of us ladies pretty quickly noticed the wardrobe malfunction. The nude liner was not a match against the super-charged camera flashes. This is a really annoying mistake, and has probably happened to most of us. Thankfully, I am sure Kate's sense of humor will easily laugh this one off.



At first it appeared that Kate had debuted another new clutch, this one black and beaded, but Annie of My Small Obsessions is suggesting that the clutch could go back to 2010 when Kate may have carried it to the wedding of Mel Nicholson and Ollie Baker.



Someone wondered in the comments if Kate may have had some of these pieces made for Malta. Undoubtedly, the Duchess had a full wardrobe that was slated for Malta and that now can be utilized other places. Because of the radical climate difference, I don't think that the coat dress from Tuesday was tagged for Malta, but can't you just imagine that blue Jenny Packham floating in the Mediterranean breeze? My sense is this dress was always meant to go with this evening, though, because it ticks every box that I think Kate was trying to cover.



Tonight, she kept her jewelry simple, and given the design of the dress, this was probably a smart move. She wore her diamond earrings gifted to her by Charles for her wedding. 



She finished her ensemble with sky-high, suede Jimmy Choo "Cosmic" pumps. 



Kate was accompanied, as she almost alway is, by Rebecca Deacon, who was wearing a very similar ensemble. You can see in the background of some shots, and from the two of them in the car together, that she is wearing a black dress with lace embellishment that mimics the spirit of Kate's dress. 



We had a really fun discussion on Twitter before Kate arrived, wondering what she might wear. My thoughts are that Kate has categories. (We have chatted about this here on the blog in the past) Certain labels fit into different categories. Examples: McQueen is her absolute go-to designer for formal and/or State events. If the event has royal gravitas, nine times out of ten, Kate will wear McQueen. Then, we have Jenny Packham. If Kate needs an evening dress, the majority of the time she will wear Jenny P. Obviously, we have seen crossover in these categories, Packham designed the polka-dot Lindo Wing dress, which is pretty historic, while McQueen has done a few stunning evening gowns for Kate. (I am discounting the wedding dresses, btw.) Once these two fashion powerhouses have staked their turf, then Kate fills in with Temperley, Beulah, and after that it's almost anyone's guess.



Kate seems to wear Temperley when she wants to add a modern edge to her usually classic style. She also chose Temperley when she wore a short dress to the black-tie SportsAid Gala last year, and the two dresses demand a comparison.  Both utilize a nude lining to enhance the detailing on the dress and Kate chose Jimmy Choo on both occasions. While she used a red McQueen clutch to give her ensemble a pop last November, perhaps this year the pink carpet deterred her... :)


My verdict on this one is: just-over-the-finish-line hit. It's edgier than SportsAid. I can't say I love the bodice. Doesn't this dress kind of look like something a female superhero would wear on her night off? Seriously, though, it has got some grit, which is fine, but I don't know if the bodice is weird or cool. Honestly, it's a little vampy to me, although I say that in the best sense. Just a taste vamp. Which, I believe, is one of the reasons Kate chose it. I think she likes to have fun with her fashion the just as any other girl. All this taken into consideration, black is aaah-mazing on Kate and I thought she looked like a million bucks. That being said, this dress might come with the little warning...Duchesses only; don't try this at home. 




Pictured in the car upon arrival, Kate looked a little tired. I imagine she is still under the weather just a bit, but like a pro, she put it aside to beam throughout her evening for the guests and for her charity. Hopefully, she takes the weekend to relax after this extremely successful week of come-back engagements.



Although she stayed for dinner, before the auction began, Her Royal Highness made her farewells and returned to Kensington Palace. While not his birthday, today is a very special day for Prince George. It is the one year anniversary of his baptism into the Church, and I am sure that Kate and William are fondly reminiscing on that momentous and joyful event just one year ago today. 


P.S. To whomever commented on the very out of place post, THANK YOU! I was playing around with new tags while I waited for Kate to show this evening and it should have simply left the post in its appropriate place... I pulled it for the moment, but pardon any oddities later as I try to make it get back in line. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Kate Attends Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards in Custom Jenny Packham

This might have been the longest, nail-biting wait we have had to endure before seeing a picture of Kate's arrival anywhere other than the steps of the Lindo Wing. That's a lie. I thought as I sat at Reagan International glued to my live stream that I would die waiting to see her deplane in New Zealand. So, this comes in third place. After multiple written descriptions from reporters on the scene we finally got our first visual and it left me completely...surprised.



I kind of want to just talk about the clothes, but let's do a quick gallop around the surroundings to get our bearings before we dig in deep on the fashion analysis. Kate was attending the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards at the Natural History Museum in London. The Duchess is patron of the Natural History Museum, and as I noted on an earlier posts, pops in "often." Her previous visits have included a recycle of her popular lace Temperley:



The green Mulberry:

And, of course, Baby Georgie's 1st birthday photos:


As you also know, the Natural History Museum is an absolutely stunning building architecturally. Built between 1873-1880, it is striking in its interior detail.  Decorated for the night of the awards ceremony, with candles flickering along the vaulted ceilings, it must have been quite impressive in person.

Before the Party... @NHM_London

One guest tweeted a photo from his table, giving us a sense of the atmosphere once "lights, camera, action" had been applied.

Jetske van der Greef Twitter 

To the dress. First just the facts. Kate wore a bespoke Jenny Packham evening gown in baby blue. With 3/4 length sleeves, the dress was a wrap style that looked ordinary enough at rest...


...but in motion revealed a slit that ran to the waist exposing a shorter underskirt. Love it, or hate it, this had va. va. VOOM. 

With a dress that showcased her legs so thoroughly, Kate wore possibly her loudest evening shoes. These LK Bennett stilettos, with their prominent bows, could not be described as wall-flowers. She debuted them on her first formal evening after her marriage with another striking Jenny P, the ARK Gala dress.



She also showcased a new clutch--the second new clutch of the day--this time a McQueen that seems to have been customized.

McQueen Clutch via Splash News

Kate debuted some new bling, wearing Monica Vinader's Riva Diamond Cluster Drop Earrings (£745) and the matching Riva Diamond Cluster Bib (£2,000). While the company has now announced they will be selling the necklace on their website and it is available for pre-order, when Kate debuted the piece it was available exclusively at Harrods. So, perhaps we know where Kate got this...or maybe she received this lovely set as a gift from someone?

Monica Vinader 


This is not an ordinary Kate Middleton dress. I am thinking of times when she wore something that left me similarly "thrown for a loop" and I am not coming up with a lot of options. Maybe the silver, one-shouldered Packham... For its time, it was a little unusual.



I don't know. Don't (virtually) toss anything at me for saying this, and it isn't a necessarily negative reflection, but the underskirt and the shoes with the straps make me think '90s. I know that usually isn't good, but in my mind the '90s vibe is mixed with Princess Diana--more specifically this stunning Jacques Azagury. This is one of my favorite cocktail dresses on Diana... 





I was just thinking about Kate and slits this morning. She seems to really like the trend, probably because a slit "ups" the ante on the sexy factor, but in a subtle way. (yes, those two can go together!) Unless, you are Angelina Jolie and you pose with an outstretched limb, which is pretty straight-forward, but in other instances, it is relatively subtle. 



Tonight might have been a little less subtle, but no less stunning. I would say that in terms of evening apparel, this is the most unusual that Kate has worn to date. In the end, though, it actually isn't all that out of character for Kate. At first blush, the dress is extremely minimalistic and very reminiscent of the white Roland Mouret, especially noticeable from the back. The jersey like texture of the fabric and the folds around the waist where the wrap meets is also reminiscent of her earlier preference for Issa wraps. It's a lot like Kate: demure on the outside and super sexy on the inside.



If I could change one thing about her appearance this evening it would be to sweep her hair up. It fell into her face a little too much, despite its bouncy perfection, and up it would have really made this quite an eye-popping look. I am going to kind of amuse myself and call it a hit. It is not my favorite. I will not be pining for a recycle, nor will it hit the SuperStarLook category, but it was bold and fresh and it knocked the socks off of people, which is exactly what a princess who has been sick for over a month should do. I liked it because it surprised me and because she looked so darn good in it.




Kate Joins William Welcoming Singapore President and Mrs. Tony Tan to London

Kate made her first public appearance today since she fell ill with hyperemesis gravidarum. It has been exactly 11 weeks since she placed her poppy at the Tower of London before her August holiday commenced, and it feels like an equal eternity since she was pictured returning to London at the end of August days before her pregnancy was announced. Although, there had been concern that Kate might not be able to make this event, after she was spotted smiling and well at an evening visit to her doctor, followed in a few days by a visit to a pub with William, it was clear that the princess was finally going to make an appearance in public. Suffice it to say, this morning held far more excitement than many other royal appearances.



Kate and William had a pretty strict timetable, to which they adhered with clocklike precision. The ducal couple arrived at the Royal Garden Hotel around 11:40am to greet Singapore President Tony Tan and his wife Mary. Kate commented on the markedly different London climate, saying it was much colder than the last time they had met. The heat had been a bit of a concern on Kate's visit to SouthEast Asia, and I remember being amazed at how she kept her cool while so many others around her seemed to be melting. When Mr. Tan remarked that he was glad Kate could make the morning, she had a heartfelt reply: "So am I. I've been looking forward to getting out of the house, that's for sure."


The troops had assembled at the Horse Guards and it was time to head to meet the Queen. 



William and Kate accompanied their guests by car to the Royal Horse Guards where the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were waiting with a ceremonial welcome.


From the Horse Guards, the royals travelled by carriage up the Mall to Buckingham Palace. Kate and William travelled in the Scottish State Coach. This historic coach was built in 1830 for Prince Adolphus who was the tenth child of King George III. Prince Adolphus also happened to be the 1st Duke of Cambridge. The coach has made the rounds, leaving the royal family for a period before it was gifted back to Queen Mary. It has undergone renovations and Scottish symbolism was added in the 1960's, including the thistles along the top, and the crown of Scotland. The Queen rode in this carriage from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace at the Royal Wedding. From its original occupant, the 1st Duke of Cambridge, to its current association to the Order of the Thistle (in which William was invested) and its dedication to Scotland where William and Kate met and fell in love, it is certainly an appropriate carriage for the two.



William stayed for lunch, but Kate slipped away.  I imagine she would like some downtime to rest and prepare for her evening appearance tonight at the Natural History Museum, but it is also probable that given her pregnancy she would rather avoid situations where a host of sights and smells, appealing enough to the average individual, could make her feel unwell.



Of course, the big questions was...what would Kate wear? Naturally she was going to debut something new, since this is her first appearance in such a long while, the public attention is so heightened because of her pregnancy, and very importantly because of the formality of the occasion. Kate has never taken part in a diplomatic welcome of this nature, so it is certainly a royal milestone for her.



She wore a custom Alexander McQueen coat dress for her comeback to royal duties. Kate chose material used in McQueen's collections, but had the dress designed just for her.   It is very much in her preferred style and McQueen's specialty: fitted bodice, full a-line skirt, and folds to the coat. These are details that McQueen used in both Kate's wedding dress and the white Trooping coat that she subsequently wore to the Order of the Garter ceremony.



Most of all, however, this dress strikes me as the tartan McQueen 2.0. They have the same marks of a shared point of inspiration, which probably springs from the collaboration between Kate and McQueen.



I was thrilled to see that Jane Taylor's stunning hat designed for Kate's sunny Easter morning in Australia was getting a second wear. 



We were just discussing this hat recently and musing on possible recycles that would do it justice. Pairing it again with grey and black accessories was a smart move on Kate's part and I think the two worked together well. I had wondered if this hat, which is a bit of an attention grabber to begin with, would clash with anything beyond the simplest of coats, but it played quite nicely with Kate's plaid this morning. The Duchess completed the ensemble with black Prada pumps, an as yet unidentified clutch, and chose her Mappin & Webb Empress pendant and Annoushka Pearl Drops to add some sparkle. [Update: What Kate Wore readers have identified this clutch at a Jenny Packham piece-the Roxy style. I think this is the first time she has carried a clutch by Jenny P, but I could be overlooking something...]


Kate looked fantastic today. While she wasn't very visibly showing, (the construction of the dress was just suited to minimize without deliberately trying to hide, her status) it was still quite clear that she is pregnant. Frankly, she still looked a little unwell to me. While she seemed in high spirits, she has been sick for many, many weeks and I imagine it will take her a few more weeks of normal routine before she has fully kicked the lingering fatigue. But, all around, a fashion hit. Kate was able to successfully recycle a tricky hat with her new McQueen coat and I always love the soft greys and neutrals on Kate. By pulling her hair back into a low, elegant ponytail, she added just enough of the "exotic" to make the whole look really pop.

I am sorry this was so slow in getting up. Oddly, I found myself very slow out of the starting box this morning: seeing Kate, processing her outfit, and transitioning back to a real-time post. August 5th was the last time we had an actual appearance--that seems so long ago and also just like yesterday. It's good to be back in the swing of things... Don't forget we will be seeing Kate very soon as she attends the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards this evening at the Natural History Museum. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Palace Announces Kate's Due Month, AND A Royal Engagement at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards

Happy Monday! The day dawned beautifully with the much anticipated press release from the Palace officially confirming what has been suspected for some time: Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting her second child in April of 2015. As is always the case, they did not (and will not) release an actual due date. The second little Cambridge could be due any day of April, although we suspect given Kate's evening rendezvous at 148 Harley Street, that she is due mid to late April.



Still, this will leave us in a bit of a tough spot. Just like the Lindo Wing Watch started on the very 1st of July, April could prove to be quite the long stake-out. No one wants to bet the wrong way and miss out, plus the likelihood that Kate will deliver earlier than her due date only increases with subsequent pregnancies. All I ask is that the baby not be born on the 29th of April, because I do not like to mix my royal holidays. Let us spread the fun around. 



Kate will most definitely not be at the State banquet on Tuesday night, since the Palace caught two birds with one stone and announced in the same press release that Kate has a conflicting engagement that evening:
The Duchess of Cambridge will also attend the Wildlife Photographer of The Year 2014 Awards Ceremony at the Natural History Museum on Tuesday 21st October. Further details will be released in due course.


Kate often bundles her engagements when she feels well, either doubling up on the day of, or performing multiple engagements on consecutive or nearly consecutive days. It is a smart strategy to utilize that interrupted time and maximize the effort she has to put into hair, etc. On this occasion, however, it even further suggests that she is quite on the mend. Planning an evening event after her busy morning welcoming the Singapore State Visit contingent suggests that she is not worried about feeling overly fatigued come evening.

Kate Arrives at the Natural History Museum 


To make matters even more exciting, while no tiara will be needed at the awards event, it is entirely possible that Kate will be wearing an evening gown. If she is, it will be the first time the Duchess has worn a floor length while pregnant. Of course there is the possibility she would wear a shorter skirt, as she has done to evening events in the past, but I am hoping the venue, so majestic and imposing, will push her to choose the more formal route.



Lastly, as you may or may not have seen reported last night on my Twitter feed, several enthusiastic fans spotted William and Kate at a pub just a few nights ago. 


A young man had also tweeted about the sighting, but has since deleted his tweet. Probably, he found himself overwhelmed by the outpouring of fan-joy he received from starved Kate watchers. Poor guy...

Tomorrow is stacked up to be a very fantastic day. I know everyone here is just as excited as I am to finally get a proper Kate appearance. Immensely looking forward to it... try to keep calm and carry on for the remainder of today. ;) 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday Special Report: Are The Doctor's Appointment Photos Old?

There has been much speculation about the photos of William and Kate at their supposed 12-week scan on Wednesday night. The primary questions seem to be... who took the photos, professional or wandering iPhone addict? And, are these actually recent shots, or were they taken when Kate was pregnant with Georgie? 

We will start with the most important question. Are these recent? Counsel for the opposition argues that the photos appear to have been taken on a very cold night, with some pointing to the appearance of slush on the ground and arguably frost or ice on the windshield of parked cars.

New York Daily News


All relevant observations, but I ask why? We have seen old photos of Kate surface before, still when a paper is presumably paying a significant amount of money for exclusives, I generally assume they check to be sure they aren't being fleeced by the photographer. So...I wonder why, if these were taken when Kate was pregnant with George, did they not surface while Kate was pregnant with George? Although UK papers won't run photos of this nature, any number of those dastardly Americans will. 

Dr. Setchell (middle), Dr. Farthing (right)


My partial blind faith in newspaper editors aside, Kate's primary doctor when pregnant with George was Marcus Setchell, but her primary doctor for this pregnancy is Dr. Alan Farthing. Why, then, were these photos very clearly taken on a visit to Alan Farthing at his office in Harley Street, instead of Dr. Setchell? While Alan Farthing was part of the team for George's birth, and so she could have visited his office, it seems more likely she would have been at Setchell's office.



I am relatively unmoved by the remarks that Kate is dressed too warmly for London weather. Kate always bundles up when the temperature gets nippy, and even more so when pregnant. For a brief moment, William's purple jumper gave me pause. It seems the same one he wore to the hospital when Kate was first hospitalized for HG with George. Only a brief moment, though, given that man's proclivity to hang onto the same pair of trainers for years upon years, this is hardly the ace in the hole.

The crucial question seems to be...did it rain on the night of October 15th? Glare and the grainy nature of the photos could make wet cars look icy and shiny pavement look like slush. So, did it rain?

It rained. 

As I write, it is the lovely morning of October 18th. Three days ago it was the 15th. 3 days ago, @ashpod84 was getting tired of the rain and posted a video on Instagram to express her frustration:



The same night, @bronyawebb enjoyed the precipitation in London's Shoreditch neighborhood. Notice the slick pavement and the glare from the street lamps.


I was not there, I cannot say with absolute certainty that these photos were taken on the 15th, but none of the arguments against them are holding water for me--pun entirely and obnoxiously intended.  Certainly, there is no evidence that positively contradicts the proffered date of October 15th. Until more information surfaces to prove these photos are old, there is no positive argument against them.

The second consideration, were these photos professionally taken or did someone randomly walking by get very lucky. I think they are professional and I think someone was waiting for the Cambridges, not chancing upon them. 

The time between Kate's car stopping and her popping out and into the office would not have been long. A passing tourist or local yokel, minding his or her own business, and navigating the rainy sidewalk, probably would not have been alert enough to surroundings to recognize the famous lady, whip out a camera phone and take the relatively good shot of Kate smiling as she entered the office.  

The quality does not preclude a professional. Frankly, for a rainy night, and what appears to be a relative distance, these are not terrible shots. We have seen similar quality before from professional paps. Cast your mind back to a balmy night in July of 2009. William and Kate left a quiet dinner at a cozy pub, and in the car park William decided the time was ripe for a quick kiss. In the video, you can hear the camera snapping, and both the video and still shots share a similar low-res nature to the October 15th shots. This is to be expected, after all, it's dark and popping flashes might not be the most subtle approach for a lurking pap. (warning: video not for the faint-of-stalking-heart)






Lastly, did William and Kate tip-off the photographer to garner good press? I don't quibble before saying, I reject the theory entirely. Everyone and their brother had a pretty good sense of how far along Kate was, so we all knew the 12-week mark was any day. Everyone also knows Dr. Farthing is the lead on this pregnancy, and his office location is a matter of public record. This would have been an easy stake-out, if the spirit moved one to add to his vacation fund.

Ok, kids. Sherlock needs more coffee and some breakfast. This was a Saturday Special Report. I welcome alternate theories and suggestions, and details I have overlooked, but as always, keep the conversation classy and polite, s'il vous plaƮt.

Have a lovely weekend!