Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Down Under Day 17: Kate Wears Pink McQueen for Day in Adelaide

You know, everyone is tired. Low on sleep, high on coffee, pretty constant go-go-go--some cultures would consider this torture, I am just saying. Even Kate seemed drained yesterday. In the past 48 hours we have been watching the steady stream of lovely fashion choices. LK Bennett, Roksanda Ilinic, eyelets, sheath dresses, yadyada. Yesterday was a little rough. I liked the first Roksanda Ilincic, so I liked yesterday's clone, the Hobbs was cute the first run, and it was cute the second...and then, like a burst of atomic-charged energy, Kate stepped out of the plane this morning in Adalaide in a show stopper. This dress oozed sophistication. There could be only a few label possibilities. This beauty was McQueen. Maybe it's the last rally, but I am feeling a burst of excitement and rejuvenation. (It could also be the sugar rush from the three salted carmel chocolates I just consumed, but I hope it is the fashion.) This has truly wowed me.

Kate, perhaps feeling the confidence of how gorgeous she knew she looked, or perhaps the romantic night of glamping with William, or maybe knowing tonight she will be cuddling her baby George and home within a few short days, was glowing. Gone were the withdrawn and preoccupied looks of yesterday. She was a vision.

William and Kate quickly made their way to their waiting convoy and headed to Northern Sound System in Elizabeth. The suburb of Adelaide was founded in 1955 and named after William's grandmother, Her Majesty Elizabeth II. The Northern Sound System is a youth development through music facility. William and Kate visited with the young artists, heard some rap demonstrations and even got to try their hand at a little DJing.

I couldn't help but wonder if Kate was giggling remembering more private, but no doubt happy times. William and Kate visited her Uncle Gary at his island home in Ibiza while they were dating. Uncle Gary is a bit colorful and he treated the pair and Kate's family to a lavish vacation full of all sorts of interesting activities, including some DJ lessons for William. Uncle Gary spoke to Hello! about his home and the Middleton visit:
"The house is very relaxing and it's very, very secure. You've got walls all the way around so it's very difficult for people to pry on you." Of the trip in 2006, Gary says: "Carole asked if the family and Prince William could use it [the house]. We organized a whole itinerary for them, including going over to a neighbouring island on a boat.

"Back at the house a friend of mine was teaching William how to mix on the DJ decks and he performed to the whole family as they swam. So they all had the Ibiza experience from mud baths, to (nightclub) Pacha, to learning how to mix music."

Mandatory Mr. Security sighting! Lurking in the murky hallway... He is our own James Bond!

Let's break to discuss this breathtaking ensemble from the Duchess of Perfection. I have already given you a pretty healthy preview. I love it. The soft pink and nude LK Bennett sledge pumps, the delicate swish of the skirt, the feminine peplum, and that very Kate Middleton, deep v-neck. Swoon. This is just effortlessly glamorous. It felt very Grace Kelly or Cyd Charisse. It was ballerina beautiful; a very graceful dress. What Kate Wore has identified these as two separates, a peplum top and a pleated skirt, although I will probably just refer to it as a dress for all time. 

She carried her LK Bennett Natalie clutch and wore her Annoushka pearl earrings. Kate was also wearing the Asprey pendant again. I really like charms very much. To me, jewelry should have meaning, certainly some kind of sentimental foundation for you, but it is also nice when it actually physically represents something, as this lovely necklace does.

The rather deep v of this ensemble has split public opinion. I am rather a major fan. Kate has always had a penchant for the plunging neckline and I think she looks fabulous every time. Rumors that this is the lowest neckline Kate has worn as a Duchess are, however, false. You want me to walk you through it? Ugh, if you insist. It will be my pleasure. :)

First of all, you may have been a little caught up in the lace and the bustle, the flowers and music, or maybe you were dazzled by her blingy headgear, but Kate's wedding gown had a bit of a southward plunge itself:

You can always count on olden day favorite Issa to reveal just a little without going too far. Kate was glowing in this classic Issa jersey in Canada, one of her last wears of the once favored label:

Then in October of 2011 she dazzled us with two daring stunners. The scarlet Beulah:

And shortly after, this beautiful Amanda Wakeley as she stepped in for father-in-law Prince Charles at a Clarence House reception:

Let's not forget that most stunning of evening dresses, the dress that defines black-tie brilliance for all time, the radiant Jenny P from Our Greatest Team Rises. That is a bit of a plunge, you must admit:

The white McQueen from the South East Asia tour just qualifies:

The gold McQueen evening gown:

Heeello, Temperley!

That maroon marvel (Whistles) at the NPG:

 Should we count this Jenny P? I don't know, but let's since we are having fun:

Ooops, there it is again. All that sparkle deserves a picture:

And...Q.E.D. That kids, is what I call a scientific demonstration. I may have missed some, I am fallible, but we've snagged most. In any event, those are the (low)highlights. Obviously, many of these are evening dresses, so if you want to be a stickler--which you absolutely may, this is distinction central here--you can only count those dresses that are day-dresses.  That still leaves several outfits where Mrs. Cambridge dared to bare just a bit.

Back to today's festivities. The couple were gifted a skate board for George, which they seemed delighted by, that or their laughter was indication they secretly are planning to burn it. Kate is probably thinking about her baby getting all banged up, while William contemplates the fortune in protective wear. Uncle Harry would probably help George with this activity:

Speaking of George, his proud parents unveiled a plaque officially opening a plaza named in the little prince's honor.

William and Kate undertook an official walkabout before heading to their final engagement of the day:

The reception at Playford Civic Center hosted by the Premier of South Australia was the closing event. As they were walking in, Kate broke away to run over and greet a child trying to catch her attention with a gift. It was just another sweet moment from Kate, highlighting how delightfully in touch she is with her many fans. Still the girl from the home-counties who graciously understands the excitement of looking in from the outside:

It was the last engagement of the day for them, which makes sense when you consider the four hour flight back to Baby George. What a fantastic day! I certainly feel rejuvenated. Kate absolutely sparkled. Light pink is such a lovely color with her hair and complexion. It makes her brunette brows and long tresses all the starker, and she looked quite striking. Fabulous comeback after yesterday! 

Down Under Day 16: Kate Wears Hobbs for Walk to Uluru

The couple arrived by the rock for a welcome ceremony before they viewed the sunset by the monument:

A traditional welcome dance was performed that included rhythmic dancing and singing. I heard reported that the words of the song are about a mother's right to protect her child, which I am sure resonates deeply with Kate as a new mother. (Pardon the partial nudity, I am just trying to give you the authentic experience.)

Kate had changed from her Roksanda Ilincic from earlier into a recycle: her grey and white Hobbs from July 2012

I love this dress and thought it the perfect choice for this event. Again, cool light colors for the hot desert climate. Just like on her first wear of the Hobbs dress, she wore her Pied a terre Imperia wedges that match the color of the dress so nicely. Although, it seems the red of the sand and dust were doing their best to change it up a little:

It seems Kate may have taken off her necklace from earlier in the day, perhaps knowing she would be gifted a new necklace, but she stuck with her Catherine Zoraida double leaf earrings:

Several of you have asked about her necklace from earlier, which she has just recently debuted. It is a charm necklace from Asprey, identified by My Small Obsessions. The three charms are a mushroom, an acorn, and a maple leaf. I am sure you know two of the three. The acorn is all over the Middleton family crest as their particular symbol, while the oak leaf featured prominently in Kate's wedding symbolism because of its connotations of strength and endurance. but, what about a mushroom? 

William and Kate were shown traditional artwork as they sat by a fire. I don't now about that. Gathering around a fire in that heat wouldn't have been my choice. I am amazed at how Kate seems to keep effortlessly cool, always looking glamorous and unaffected by the heat.

Kate seemed to really enjoy the brief tea party the couple shared with local students from the territory:

Obviously, the highlight came when William and Kate received a private guided tour around the base of the Uluru.

William and Kate then continued on alone to explore the rock in a little more privacy.

Most of the party returned, while a few security officers stood at the mouth of the trail:

And we waited... And waited... It actually wasn't that long. :)

Part of the excitement, I think, rested not just in Ayers Rock as a beautiful landmark, but in the fact that Diana and Charles stopped her for a photocell themselves during a trip to the Outback. 

The Cambridges will stay the night very close by at Longitude 131, a luxurious hotel that allows you many of the benefits of camping without actually camping. I must remember this hotel. Talk about a win/win. 

Longitude 131
Kate seemed a little subdued today. It was impossible not to notice. When she sat next to William by the fire, she ever so briefly slumped her shoulder against his before straightening and separating as the cameras clicked. On almost no hard evidence, it is ridiculous to try and nail down the reason, but I don't think it impossible that the princess might be getting to the end of her rope with this tour. The fact is, we are rolling into the third week and I think everyone is more or less exhausted. I am sure that as much as she is enjoying Australia, somewhere deep down Kate is ready to escape the daily cameras and the outfit changes, and the strange beds and be home in Kensington Palace with her own things around her, with her routine, soaking up the springtime in quiet.

Happily, by the end of William and Kate's private walk around the rock she seemed to have regained her laughter, but hopefully a good night's sleep under the stars will bring back our bubblier Kate.

Down Under Day 16: Roksanda Ilincic for Arrival In Uluru

Welcome back! We are rolling into the final four days of the Australian tour. Police lined up outside Government House this morning to escort the Duke and Duchess to the airport for their 4 hour flight to Uluru. The Cambridges will spend the night away from George, undertake a day of engagements, and be home to him tomorrow evening.

William and Kate were headed for Ayers Rock, also called by its aboriginal name, Uluru. They were scheduled to watch the sunset there, and photos taken by the waiting press pack looked pretty breathtaking:

But, the first stop was the National Indigenous Training Academy where the couple presented certificates, after which they in turn were presented with gifts.

Kate quickly slipped a bracelet onto her wrist, while William received a very long and pointed spear. He stood and examined the sharpened tip and I could almost hear him thinking, "something to poke the paparazzi with..."

Kate was wearing Roksanda Ilincic again, which was very interesting to me. Sometimes on these tours we see a particular designer take center stage and then that label is incorporated into frequent rotation in the royal wardrobe at home. We have seen two Roksanda Ilincics in just a few weeks, now. Perhaps we are seeing a trend emerging...

Kate touched down in Australia in a bright yellow Roksanda Ilincic that suited her very well. 

Today's dress is very reminiscent to her first dress from the label, the light lavender from Los Angeles and again from the Olympic event. It is almost as if Kate said, I'll take that in casual, please:

The dresses had nearly identical pleating and asymmetrical collar, but today was certainly a more "dressed-down" fabric. Fashion whizzes over at WKW determined that the dress is the Lovina style in a custom color. So, Kate tweaked it just a little to suit her, but it remains primarily unchanged in design. I thought it very beautiful. I love the folds that Roksanda Ilincic utilizes, and Kate carries them off perfectly. Changing the fabric made it just suitable for this occasion.

The question as raised, "Is Kate a tad too formal for the afternoon's events?"  While I see that perspective I think it is a very hard balance, because frankly, no one wants the jbrands and blazer again--much as I love casual. And she has rather exhausted eyelet for the moment as well. I thought it was appropriate and respectful. She needed to dress nicely to honor the day and the people, and she chose a simple sheath dress that looked professional without being over the top. From a purely utilitarian perspective, it looked like she would be able to keep cool in this sleeveless dress. 

Kate accessorized with her LK Bennett Sledge pumps, her Catherine Zoraida Double Leaf earrings, and I spied her also carrying a clutch that looked suspiciously like her McQueen.

William, who has a degree in Geography, looked to be leading some form of demonstration briefly:

A brief walkabout:

The two met with school children and then moved onto the The Cultural Center for the official Welcome to Country, which included a rhythmic dance, which we will see in the next post...