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Kate Wears Katherine Hooker For Each Capital Appeal Launch

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Hello, hello! At last we are chatting about Kate's appearance today...I do apologize for the delay. I have been traveling "over the river and through the woods" and experienced some technical issues. But, to the point of the post: Kate was in Norfolk this morning at the Norfolk Showground, to launch East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) capital appeal campaign. The charity wants to build a £10 million hospice near Norwich and Kate was there to lend support to the cause. William and Kate have at last been able to move into Anmer Hall, and so Kate didn't have too far to travel:


To the delight of fans, Kate put her thinking cap on before the event and came up with an idea to help raise funds. She approached Emma Bridgewater to create a pattern line to benefit the appeal.  Emma Bridgewater creates fantastic pottery:
Emma Bridgewater began in 1985, after Emma tried and failed to find a birthday present for her mum. "I was looking for a really special cup and saucer, but everything was either too formal or too clunky. That was my eureka moment. I realised there was a gap in the market for pottery that was beautiful and practical – pottery for a relaxed, colourful, mismatched life."
Kate was visibly delighted to see the display when she arrived, and she took a moment to examine the collaborative brainchild.  I think anyone who loves tea and has ever hosted a tea-party with friends, will appreciate the MASSIVE tea-pot which the collection includes. Apparently, this teapot can hold 16 cups! It's a hostess's dream, but good luck finding a tea-cozy to fit it! You are going to be custom-knitting something... The items will be available for sale in the early New Year, and I suspect they will sell very quickly. 



Guests were seated at tables for the launch, and the tables were all designated by popular children’s names. Kate’s table was called, as you might guess, George. I suppose they had to be careful about seating her at a table with any other name. Like, Table Alexandra, or Table Elizabeth Diana, or Carole Victoria… George was a safe call.  (P.S. Rebecca was looking super chic today, too, in a fitted knit pullover, cute patterned skirt, and black stockings and heels.)



The Duchess penned a letter of support for the appeal, shared by Simon Perry:

Kate's Message for the EACH Capital Appeal via Simon Perry

To the fashion, my friends. I was very excited that Kate turned to Katharine Hooker for today’s event. I honestly wish Kate would wear more Katherine Hooker. She was a steady before Kate married, and of course Kate chose to rework one of her coats for the Anglesey lifeboat christening--her first big event after her engagement.


Katherine Hooker also can claim the credit for the triumphant Order of the Garter ensemble we all loved so very much:



Katherine Hooker confirmed that Kate's dress today was her "Ascot", but that it was a made from custom created fabric. I imagine Kate probably found a style she liked, and requested the rich red that suits her brunette locks so very well. It also is a less extravagant way of assuring that you won't be in the identical piece to another guest, without splashing out for an entirely custom-creation--a smart move. 


Kate accessorized with her Mappin & Webb pendant, Kiki McDonough drops, and Jimmy Choo heels. Today was a win. This particular ponytail is fantastic on Kate. She wore a very similar style with her white Mouret gown to the Mandela premiere, and it was a show-stopper then, too. She adds significant lift right behind the crown of her head which gives shape and a stylistic flare well beyond the average pony. I love it so much. 



Today's loose sheath dress style is something Kate seems to favor for formal events while pregnant. It reminds me very much of the Erdem she wore when pregnant with George. They both appear to be fitted from the front, but are often loose on the sides. I would love if the dress were just a little more tailored, a little more fitted in the back. I don't think it is perfect, but clearly something in the fit and style attracts her, since it isn't the first time she has sported this. 


All in all, though, though, I was really thrilled. I think the ponytail, the deep red against her coloring, her flawless make-up, and, of course, her baby glow, made her radiant. All day I watched striking shot after striking shot. A very successful event. 



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Perhaps almost as exciting as Kate's appearance this morning, was the new family photo of the Cambridges that surfaced. This picture was shared by HotMonarchy, and pictures William, Kate and George in a posed family portrait sent as a thank-you to people involved in their successful April tour. 


Kate is holding Baby George, who is wearing a charming sweater top, and blue pants that look to be the mini-version of his daddy's blue chinos...


...which means it is official: these are George's first pair of French Boy Pants. :) Rebecca English confirmed this shot was taken in March, before the Down Under tour, at the same time as the previously released portrait of the three with Lupo from the KP window. Kate is wearing the Rebecca Taylor suit she subsequently wore on the last day in New Zealand. I think it is very nice that suit got a third showing, since Taylor is an NZ native. 


Ok, that is it for today. Again, many apologies for the delay!  It doesn't seem that Kate will attend the SportsAid gala on thursday, which isn't terribly surprising, but...it would have been fun. At the moment, the next confirmed event is her New York trip. Given how close we are to that, I doubt anything will be announced between now and then. But, you'll be kept in the loop on any developments... 


Dress Like The Duchess: Girl Fabulosity Made to Order RepliKate Hats

Monday, November 24, 2014

I have been waiting over a month to share this Dress Like the Duchess edition with you, and I am so very excited to at last be able to publish! Hats can make or break Kate's outfit and I know we all are often awestruck by the beautiful creations that she debuts. RepliKating them, however, can prove tricky, since the milliners the Duchess patronizes often sell a single hat for hundreds and hundreds  of pounds. For those who will not get much wear out of a hat, but are often buying for a single special occasion, the money can be hard to justify. Brandi at Girl Fabulosity loves making hats and is inspired by Kate's style; a winning combination! She makes striking repliKates of a broad range of Kate's best loved hats.



Brandi sent me what she terms the Dulwich hat, shown below in deep teal. I love this hat for it understated elegance and its versatile style. I asked Brandi to make it for me in black, as seen on Kate, and when it arrived I was so, so pleased. The hat attaches with an elastic band, and the care and time that Brandi puts into the development is clear. You can order this hat in teal, back...or, any color you like. 



You will recognize the hat as a pretty authentic repliKate of the Whiteley Kate first debuted in 2010 when she paired it with Libélula's Dulwich coat for Harry Aubrey-Fletcher's wedding. She wore this gorgeous chapeau again in 2013 while pregnant with George, when she visited the Baker Street tube station with HM and the DoE.


Girl Fabulosity will repliKate a number of the Duchess's hats, including the Jane Corbett from her first Remembrance Day ceremony in 2011:


Kate's striking Rachel Trevor-Morgan from the Order of the Garter comes in a lovely repliKate, and I have just been told that Girl Fabulosity now has the matching "waffle" material in which the original was made:


Kate's Gina Foster topper that she wore Christmas morning is available in a beautiful deep green, but again, you can order any of these hats in the color you prefer, or to match the rest of your ensemble:


The Jane Taylor sequined cocktail hat worn for The Queen's Thanksgiving service in 2012 is available in repliKate form:


Brandi also makes the hat that first made headlines: the Vivien Sheriff from Anglesey, in addition to the brown Locke & Co. hat she wore to Aldershot. 


Brandi was one of the thousands of women who were immediately struck by Kate's fascinator on the morning she christened the small life-boat in Anglesey. She began making hats not long after, and the Anglesey fascinator was her first creation.  Brandi orders the supplies from Engalnd and Australia to make the most beautiful repliKates she can, for the best price. I love my Dulwich. It really is a very beautiful rendition of Kate's hat and is sure to complement multiple outfits and occasions. Girl Fabulosity ships internationally and will work with you to make the hat of your dreams. See Brandi's Etsy store here, if you are in the market for a royally inspired chapeau!  

A Week of Royal News: American Journos Revitalizing the Spirit of 1776, Jack Whitehall, and New PR Man Jason Knauf

Saturday, November 22, 2014

There has been a bit of a hubbub over the supposed guidelines that Buckingham Palace issued to American journalists hoping to cover the royal tour. The Daily Beast implied, whether deliberately or through genuine error, that a specific "communiqué" had been issued by the Palace on this topic. As a result, certain members of the American media responded with a host of sarcastic and rebellious tweets and short op-eds. Vanity Fair ran a piece highlighting some of these responses, here



It then slowly became apparent that no communiqué of any kind had been released, and a host of "updated" articles ensued. The general guidelines on the BP site, for journalists covering overseas tours, reads: [emphasis added]
Journalists wishing to cover Royal engagements, whether in the United Kingdom or abroad, should comply with the dress code on formal occasions out of respect for the guests of The Queen, or any other member of the Royal Family. Smart attire for men includes the wearing of a jacket and tie, and for women a trouser or skirt suit. Those wearing jeans or trainers will not be admitted and casually dressed members of the media will be turned away. This also applies to technicians.
This is primarily a tempest in a tea-pot. It was an easy piece to run with, and an even easier issue to add some snark in 140 characters or less. It is hardly representative of the American public, or even the American media as a whole. That being said, it would behoove those members of the media who prize clever comments and witty ripostes, to check facts before sounding off in the public forum... 

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Some cute stories have filtered out of the Royal Variety Performance. Jack Whitehall, as you may remember from the post on the Royal Variety Performance, is the comedian who went to Marlborough, several years behind Kate. At the performance, he joked that the Duchess was the "one who got away", and has since been milking his night with the royals. This has been to our advantage, because Mr. Whitehall is quite humorous and I have really enjoyed both these little stories.



People quoted Whitehall being interviewed about the evening of the performance on the Jonathan Ross Show, describing William's reaction afterward:
"William came over and he was very funny, he was very nice but very passive aggressive [and said] 'Oh, so you were flirting with my missus? Oh no that was very funny!'
While William is not a professional comedian, he is a very witty man, and I am sure they were both having a good laugh.  This wasn't the only story that Whitehall told. Although obviously taking some creative license, he recounted urging Demi Lovato to rub Kate's pregnant tummy. E! reported: 
"[Demi] was very nice, very sweet, but American and didn't necessarily buy into my sense of humor," Jack told the host. "Everyone is very nervous when the royal family is coming around and she asked me what the protocol was with the royal bump, 'Can we talk about the baby and stuff?,' and as a joke I said 'The Duchess of Cambridge I think would be offended if you didn't have a little feel' as a joke."...
..."She takes [my suggestion] completely at face value, and as Kate Middleton is coming along the line, I suddenly realize that we've got a situation here where either I need to step in and tell her that it was a joke and look like an idiot or potentially Demi Lovato from Frozen is about to get taken out by a police marksmen, so I told her," he recalled.
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Last piece of news that is piquing my interest: William and Kate have at last replaced Ed Perkins with, surprisingly, an American: Jason Knauf. Knauf will take on the office of Communications Director for the royal couple in January. The PR guru was educated in New Zealand (as well as a masters from the London School of Economics) and worked for various government officials in NZ, in a variety of roles, before he came to the UK to work for the Royal Bank of Scotland. He is only in his thirties with a reputation as cool and laid back. Already, members of the press seem excited to see how his style will effect the relationship between press and Palace. As many of you know, that relationship has been a strained one over the years, and this could bode very well for the future. Gordon Rayner's full report is here

Where to See William and Kate in New York City? Perhaps Plenty of Places

Friday, November 21, 2014

Let's chat about New York. (cue Alicia Keys...) Lots have been wondering where to see Kate when the couple visit next month. Security is going to be tight, since this is obviously a high-profile couple in a high-profile city, in uncertain times. The location of many events is still currently under wraps, so the number of your opportunities to see them will increase depending on your flexibility.


The bad news first: This is not a Royal Tour, it is a business trip. On the surface it might not seem markedly different, but it does make a difference. Notably for the fans who want to actually meet them, there will not be the emphasis on walkabouts that we see on tour. A huge component of a royal tour is meeting as many locals as possible. Meeting people, connecting with them, hearing their stories, showing you care...



While this trip is obviously playing on the popularity of William and Kate with the U.S. public, it isn't first and foremost a trip to connect with the American people.  Not the way the trip to Australia was designed to allow the royals to meet Australians, or the NA Tour to meet Canadians, etc. I don't know what to tell you: there were a lot of advantages to breaking with Britain, but, 200 years later, we discover this drawback. 


Resourceful Americans should not, however, entirely despair. Locations will inevitably be announced and if you are flexible enough, you will have opportunities to wave at Kate, and maybe even shake her hand. Let's run through the schedule:

Day 1: Arrival December 7th. The couple arrive on the 7th. Keep in mind, the beauty of flying from Europe to the United States is that it can be accomplished in "one" day. William and Kate could take off anytime in the late morning and still arrive in the US in the early afternoon, e.g. they could leave at 10:30am in London and arrive just before 2pm in NYC. They could leave at noon and get in at 3:30pm. I suspect they will arrive between 2pm and 3pm. They will have been stuck on that flight for a while and will doubtless want to change and rest before their evening event. I do not suggest trying to see the couple at the airport. Hopefully, you weren't planning on that...

Day 1 Evening: The evening reception is being held by American Friends of the Royal Foundation.  This is likely a very high-dollar event. When William and Kate visited Los Angeles in 2011, the polo game in Santa Barbara was put on by The American Friends of the Royal Foundation and tickets went for $4,000 a piece. This is a longshot in terms of seeing them. We don't currently know where it will be held. While it may be somewhere that necessitates a public entrance, it could also be a scenario similar to the reception in Los Angeles when all anyone got was a wave through the glass. I loved the energy of the fans on the sidewalks with welcome signs, but instead of SoCal in summer, this trip will be New York...in winter.



December 8th: William will be at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. If traipsing all the way to NYC is not viable, or your cup of tea, this is your chance to send your love back to Kate and George via His Royal Highness. D.C. is no stranger to visiting dignitaries, and security will be in place, but I would be surprised if there were not some vantage point provided. The World Bank is right in the thick of everything, so after you wave, you can sightsee around DC, or if you need some warming shelter, zip up 19th to Dupont Circle and enjoy Kramerbooks & Afterwards. It is a cafe/bookstore where you can eat pie, drink cocktails, and read books. The only way this scenario gets better is if it includes Paris...

Meanwhile, for the New York contingent, Kate has two engagements on Monday. The first will be at a local child development center, precise location unannounced. This could be an opportunity to wave from the sidewalk. Again, you will have to be flexible if you want to take advantage of this one. Visibility will clearly depend on location.

Kate's lunch is being hosted by the New York British Consul General. This could be at any number of beautiful hotels or private homes. If it is at a hotel, you might want to consider it, if it is at a home, don't waste your time.

The NBA basketball game in the evening will be at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. We have another 50/50 here. The two could be zipped in a back way, but the entrance is ideal for a waving photo-op and lots of room to control crowds behind barriers.  They could very well make a public entrance, and if they do, it would be a great opportunity to see them. By the time the game rolls around we will be able to judge from the other events, what the likelihood of a public entrance might be.



December 9th: All the events on the 9th fall in the same category as Kate's solo day. Likely these events will be arrivals by car with fans able to wave from behind barriers. Again, how close you can get will depend entirely on the road situation.

The 600th Anniversary gala at the Met is the glitziest event, and almost assuredly a great opportunity to see them. The Met hosts all manner of huge fundraisers with stars walking the red carpet and I think with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attending, this party will be done up right. If you are not a risk taker, and want to arrive early, this is your event.

Red Carpet in Los Angeles, CA

Conclusion. The key is that the events are not created for the crowd, or organized for walkabouts as they are in the UK and on tours, but that is not to suggest the public is unwelcome or that William and Kate don't want to see the fans.  They are not coming on some Top Secret trip, trying to find a way to dodge cameras and get through it with as little hubbub as possible. It might not be a royal tour, but they are coming specifically to draw the public spotlight that is constantly trained on them, so it also shines on these various projects. Media will be on hand, William and Kate will smile and wave at crowds, it only means that some places will have better visibility than others. Don't feel like it's the Met or nothing. I am sure for the scrappy among us, the number of royal sightings will be abundant, even if fleeting in duration. At all times, the couple is thoughtful of the many people who are fans, and when possible, there may be brief walkabouts:


Obviously, as locations or more details are announced, I will keep you in the loop and we can see how it all starts to take shape. 

Jenny Packham and Hobbs for Kate as She Presents at Place2Be's Wellbeing in School Awards

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tonight was the first ever Wellbeing in School Awards hosted by Place2Be. Kate didn't have far to travel, though, as she made her way from her private quarters at Apartment 1A to the magnificent State Apartments. 



The State Apartments underwent significant renovation just a few years ago and they are sumptuous. 

Historic Royal Palaces
The King's Staircase is museum-worthy, which is good, since that is essentially what the State Apartments are:

Kensington Palace Facebook
You may recall that shortly after giving birth to George, Kate attended another charity event in the State Apartments, when she was on hand to support the 100 Women in Hedge Funds gala. She wore an inky blue Jenny Packham gown with black velvet and suede accessories. 



This evening, Kate arrived around 6:30pm, as anticipated, and chatted with guests and nominees. PA reporter Ryan Hooper commented that Kate's commitment was clear as she made a point of trying to speak to as many people as she could. 



Victoria Murphy from The Mirror tweeted throughout the evening, including this shot of the Benita Refson, Place2Be's Chief Executive, waiting for Kate at the head of the stairs, Kate's arrival, and a shot where the blue of the skirt is a little more apparent:

Via @QueenVicMirror
Place2Be helps children in primary and secondary schools with a host of social issues, including bullying, family neglect, bereavement and more. Obviously, these are all areas of keen interest to the Duchess. Many of her charities work in these areas of need. Kate has been patron of Place2Be since 2013, and you may recall that almost a year ago to the day, she visited a Place2Be Forum on emotional health and mental resilience in schools. At the forum, Kate attended seminars on cyber-bullying and the damage of sexting. She even stayed longer than scheduled to hear more information:



If I may take a slight detour--Kate was pitching-in for Place2Be before she became become an HRH. On September 17, 2008, Kate was the co-host of an 80's themed Day-Glo disco party that raised money for a children's hospital and Place2Be. Good memories... Guy Pelly, Beatrice and Dave, (I just realized how long THOSE two have been dating! When are we going to have an announcement?) Holly Branson, Pippa and more were all in attendance. It was a benefit night of laughter and fun.


This was after the couple had so publicly split in 2007, and the disco wasn't the only thing glowing that night.  Kate was obviously solidly slated to be Mrs. William Wales...it was a matter of when, not if. The press knew, we knew, Kate knew...She was back to stay; the permanent, primary princess of the party. While some papers ran the pictures of her tumbles from her roller blades as a drawback for a future Queen, it showed what is still true today. Kate is easy-going and good-natured, and always willing to throw herself into events that highlight the causes close to her heart. We saw it in 2008, we see saw it tonight. 



Back to the present...



The pregnant Duchess of Cambridge was wearing the Invitation Emilia blouse, by Hobbs, and described on the website thus:
Sheer elegance sums up the stunning Emilia top from our Invitation range. Black textured crepe forms a figure-flattering shape and the embroidered polka dot design lends this a little alluring appeal, making it perfect for that special occasion. Team it with a pencil skirt for a retro feel.

Hobbs Invitation "Emilia" Blouse
Kate paired it with a deep, satin-sheened Jenny Packham skirt from what appears to be the Fall 2013 RTW, which incidentally is the same collection in which her ink blue gown appeared. This marks a first, I think. I can't think of a time Kate has worn a Jenny Packham skirt. 

Jenny Packham Fall 2013 RTW

(Interestingly, when Kate attended the Place2Be forum, she also mixed two designers with her skirt and top, that time Max Mara and Orla Kiely.) 

Clarence House Twitter Feed

Kate accessorized with her McQueen belt, Jimmy Choo heels (I believe) and Temple of Heaven girandole earrings from Cassandra Goad.  The belt is the only element that confuses me a little. It seems too substantial and clunky for evening wear. A more delicate suede band that complemented the polka dots would have made me a little happier, but in all in all it didn't detract much.

Cassandra Goad/Splash

The sweetheart neckline with the sheer paneling gave the look an evening appeal, while the polka dots added a festive quality. Kate does love polka dots. We have chatted about this before, but every time she wears them, I smile. Consciously or unconsciously, she obviously gravitates toward them. 

Splash/Splash/Splash

I love blue and black together. They are two colors you were always told not to mix, which makes it all the more fun when you do...successfully. Kate is very talented at putting the two together flawlessly. 



The skirt is a similar hue to the Jenny P evening gown, which if it is indeed the 2013 RTW, would make sense. Tonight is the same color combo she did with the Packham evening gown, just with a more casual vibe:



It is a win...I was prepping for an almost miss, but I shouldn't have doubted the Duchess. She was impeccably turned out and just radiant. I always love events where Kate interacts with children. She lights up and shines. It was a great night for the Kate, the kids, and Place2Be.



William's Angry Birds Initiative and a Peek Inside KP?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014




As we descend into a frenzy of excitement over William and Kate's upcoming visit to New York City and Washington, D.C. let's take a closer look at the primary raison d'être of their visit. The couple are coming to boost the newly organized initiative United for Wildlife, of which William is President.   United For Wildlife was launched by the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, and is an alliance of sorts between seven major wildlife conservation organizations. They have also collected an impressive array of sport stars as ambassadors including David Beckham, Andy Murray, and Ben Ainslie.




Much of William's recent charity activity has been focused on United for Wildlife. On Monday, Prince William released a video plea for the animals that are currently endangered or close to endangered and announced a collaboration with the Angry Birds Game. A new Angry Birds tournament focuses on one particular endangered creature, the Pangolin. FYI: the Pangolin is not to be confused with the Penguin...at all. 


My own iPhone has only one game and that game is Doodle Jump, but I may now have to make Angry Birds the second game on the phone...to save the Pangolin.



To move onto a lighter topic related to this video's launch...the location. We were just talking about the designer that Kate worked with on Anmer Hall, but today we may have gotten a bit of a peek into the interior of Kensington Palace, an interior design job of equal interest that we have also not seen. If you recall, when William and Kate released their pre-tour picture with George and Lupo, It was shot from outside as they sat in a window of Kensington Palace. Below is that photo cropped on the front page of the Daily Mail, but you can see the full shot here


While it was certainly a lovely and relaxed portrait, with a creative angle, I hypothesized at that time that they may have also been maintaining their privacy. We had all hoped to get a little peek at the interior of KP, but they cleverly side-stepped the peek. You can't shoot everything from the window, though, and in William's Angry Birds video it seems we are seeing what might be an office space in the Cambridges's home. 



The desk in the background is quite unique. It is one of only three made by Linley (David Linley, the son of Princess Margaret) in celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.


The first desk celebrates the 60 year reign of Her Majesty The Queen and is known as The Diamond Jubilee Desk. This desk will be auctioned later this year to raise funds for The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry and proceeds will go to one of the key areas of focus supported by the Foundation.
By all descriptions, the desk is a work of exquisite craftsmanship and detail. The replica of the Horse Guards on the top of the desk has a practical aspect as well:


The building provides the main gallery of the desk which sits atop eight Doric column legs. Gold plated beading and satinwood stringing highlight the desk which houses a further nine drawers including three secret ones. For each of three desks that will be made, the marquetry depictions tell a different story.
DavidLinley.com
I am not expert enough to tell if the desk behind William is the desk for auction, or if it is one of the other two desks for his own personal use. While the prominent placement in the video could indicate it will be the auctioned piece, it could just as easily be a piece William wanted to have. David Linley is his father's first-cousin and Linley's daughter, Margarita, was a bridesmaid in William's wedding. For a fun piece on Linley and this desk, see here. Below, William and his cousin Peter walk with Margarita on Christmas morning 2006.



All in all, a meager peak, but we will have to take what we can get for the time being. Don't forget, we are seeing Kate tomorrow night as she attends the awards event for Place2Be!