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Kate at Evening Palace Reception

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Kate came to Buckingham Palace in her bathrobe. That's the bad news, but the good news is that we can only go up from here. This dress just left me so perplexed. Kate was attending a reception honoring Great Britain's Olympic teams, an event that straddled day and night when it came to dress code. That is never a fun middle ground to hit, and as it happened, Kate missed it.

I blame McQueen, I mean really. This pattern looks the result of a creative brainstorming session after a working lunch with a few cocktails. I don't think there is any saving this poppy print. (Can we have a caption contest for Princess Anne in the background? She is TGIFing on a Tuesday. It's five o'clock somewhere, kids.) 

Kensington Palace twitter 
The original dress retails at over $3,000. I am the first to advocate for massive expenditures for Kate's royal wardrobe, so this is the first time I have truly cringed at a price tag. While Kate sometimes customizes a dress, this one is so far from the original design I would say that it was a bespoke piece, keeping only the general length and this...eye-catching pattern.

This dress reminded me of a shorter version of Kate's red Beulah, which, by the way, would have been endlessly preferable, although perhaps a bit too formal.  They both feature a slim silhouette, graceful sleeves, and a v-neck.  Had I been forced to guess on the label of this dress, I would have gone with Beulah, not McQueen.

Kate accessorized well. I love her in these red shoes by Gianvito Rossi, and her Miu Miu clutch debuted in Canada. She was wearing her Soru Baroque Pearl earrings, too, which I like a lot. The dress was a train wreck, but Kate was absolutely radiant, and I am not saying that to mollify those who loved the dress. She really glowed with beauty. 

William and Kate were in excellent spirits and Kate shared that Princess Charlotte is already riding, which is an interesting development. George has already told us that the Cambridges don't have their own pony and until just last year, Kate was still resisting allowing her kids on horses. I can only imagine how pleased the Queen must be. Apparently, Prince George is a water baby and loves to swim. 

If the pattern had been different, this would have been a win. I loved how the dress fell on Kate and those bright accessories. I loved how she lit up the room with her easy charm and sparkling eyes. I would love to burn that dress. Oh well, we all have our off days, as I seem to be learning daily. Many apologies for how late this post is! 

I have some fun posts coming up. Stay tuned!

Princess Kate Pens Foreword to Cipher Book

Monday, October 17, 2016

This weekend, the Heads Together campaign announced that the Duchess of Cambridge has written the foreword to a puzzle book. Although Kate doesn't often refer to family in, in this foreword Kate tapped into her own family history.

Kensington Palace
The princess warmly remembered her grandmother Valerie Glassborrow and her work at Bletchley Park, noting how stressful it can be to carry on such a sensitive job that requires such discretion.

Kate's grandmother already made the spotlight when the duchess visited Bletchley Park in 2014. 

Kate's grandmother via Kensington Palace 

On that visit, Kate toured the newly restored huts where intelligence workers during World War II worked to decipher enemy codes. 

Led by Alan Turing, the British team at Bletchley ultimately cracked the German Engigma code. Netflix currently has The Imitation Game on instant watch, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch and tells the heartbreaking story of Turing and the remarkable work he and his team achieved. According to the movie, breaking the enigma shortened the war by as much as two years years, saving an estimated 14 million lives. It is well worth a watch. 

This book looks like a lot of fun, perfect for a Christmas stocking stuffer!

We see Kate and William tomorrow as they attend a reception at BP! 

Away Day in Manchester Wearing Erdem

Friday, October 14, 2016

Kate and William travelled to Manchester today for a number of engagements on what we term an "Away Day." The parade of coats we will get throughout the winter has begun, and Kate chose a new coat today from Canadian label Erdem. 

The two started their day with sport at the National Football Museum. William is quite a sport enthusiast, as is Kate, although the duchess tends more toward field hockey and tennis. Here William is holding the ball from the 1966 World Cup:

They made their way to the Manchester City Hall and paid their respects at the Cenotaph there:

KP Twitter
KP Twitter

The couple headed to the University of Manchester next to visit the National Graphene Institute. The two briefly toured the ongoing work on the engineering campus and explored the work in graphene.  According to the Kensington Palace press release:
Graphene is the thinnest, strongest, most conductive material on the planet, and is also transparent, flexible, stretchable, and impermeable to water. Its potential applications are almost endless; from bendable smartphones to providing clean drinking water, from drug delivery to the next generation of aircraft. With more than 250 researchers across a wide range of disciplines in graphene and related 2D materials, the University is home to the £61m National Graphene Institute, where academics and commercial partners work side by side to develop the graphene applications of the future.
The dynamic between the two at these sorts of events seem to be William having a ball and Kate laughing and enjoying watching him having fun. They were on point in that respect today. William clambered into a graphene car while Kate looked on. William looks pretty pleased with the sporty contraption, [why did no one tell me about this typo? Seriously.] but I can almost see Kate saying with her eyes, "Not a chance, sweetheart. That looks more dangerous than your motorbike."

"It's getting out that'll be the problem." No kidding. I wish we had video of that part... 

The couple closed the day with a visit to Francis House, a home that provides "home care, sibling support, activity weekends for bereaved siblings, end of life care and bereavement support."

Kate kept her deep squat skills in top form.

Let's switch gears and chat about the fashion. Kate is wearing an Erdem coat from the label's 2016 Resort collection. The pattern makes it look like a tweed, but it is actually a smooth finish. Kate has had it modified in a few places, but the design remains largely the same:

It reminded me, especially in small shots, of the coat Kate she wore in June in France. It is a similar silhouette and similar pattern that blends from a distance.

Although I really liked the shape of today's coat, (which flattered Kate very well, looking cozy and warm without overwhelming her petite frame) I am simply not in love with the pattern. Oddly, when  I thought it was a tweed I was on board, but on closer inspection it is a smooth finish and features an electric mix of colors and I don't love it. It reminds me just a bit of the space dress that was also...not my favorite pattern.

The good news is that in most of the pictures it looks like tweed. Kate started the day in a low, oft pony with a twist. I loved it. It was very youthful and feminine. Midway through the day, she loosened it and wore her hair down for the rest of the day. Either Kate suddenly changed her mind and didn't like the way the pony was working, or more likely, she intended the change of hair to give the day a little differentiation. She has changed just shoes or purses in the past, while keeping the rest of the ensemble the same, so I think that is what we saw today.

The earrings were fun. I didn't feel strongly about them. They were good for the coat and nice with her hair, although large pearl earrings are definitely a more mature look. These remind me a lot of the earrings that my mom wore when I was little, which was late 80s and early to mid 90s.  Make of that what you will. ;)

University of Manchester

Single runs can still win you the game, and that's how I feel about this ensemble. It wasn't a home run. But each element was a good base hit and all together, it won the game for me. I thought Kate looked really beautiful, I loved the v-neck on the coat and the tweedy appearance in most pictures. It has been noted and approved by yours truly, that the blue accessories were a welcome change from nude and beige. We are all these two on the left, eh?

You can see the complete outfit, including Kate's new Oscar de la Renta earrings on the outfit page on Kate's Clothes here. I see I did not add the lace that Kate is wearing under the coat. I suspect it is a cami of some kind, we first saw it at Middle Temple (see here) and that Paule Ka skirt was too short to allow this to be a dress, in my opinion. I think it is a blouse or a cami.

Meanwhile, a new portrait of the Queen has been unveiled. No word on whether anyone has been sacked yet over this.

Oh my, oh my. Happy Saturday, y'all. I'm off to have coffee with my sister who has flown in for the weekend. I hope you all have a great day!

Full Post: Duchess of a Cambridge's Day in the Netherlands

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Good evening all. Kate the Great popped on a plane this morning and flew across the North Sea to the Netherlands for her first solo trip abroad as a royal. As you doubtless remember, she was meant to mark this milestone in 2014, with a visit to Malta, but Princess Charlotte put a stop to that. She was worth the two-year delay, but certainly this visit is warmly welcomed.

Kate started her day with a visit with King Willem-Alexander at the family's private residence, Villa Eikenhorst. Unfortunately, Queen Maxima was out of town, but Kate posed with her royal colleague and the two had lunch together. The home is on a woodland estate outside The Hague.  Most of the European royals are a little more relaxed than the British royals and apparently King Willem and Queen Maxima do occasionally host foreign dignitaries and fellow royals at their home.

Kensington Palace Twitter
You know me, I chose the below photo because we get a peek at the parlor. Maxima has such fun taste. I love the desk in the left foreground and in the back. That sunroom looks absolutely lovely!

After lunch, Kate's first stop was the Mauritshuis art museum. The original collection housed at the museum was the Royal Cabinet of Paintings, collected by William V. As such, the focus of the museum is almost exclusively on Dutch Golden Age works.

The museum is running an exhibition with a number pieces (over 20, I believe) on loan from Britain, "At Home in Holland: Vermeer and his Contemporaries from the British Royal Collection." If you are a Kate fan and an art lover, today was a dream day.

Certainly the most famous painting in the collection is The Girl with the Pearl Earring, probably because of the movie by the same name some years ago. The Duchess was wearing her pearl earrings on loan from the Queen. Although Kate loves her pearls in general, and this ensemble suited itself to the accessory, I think she must have been sure to wear pearls today for the artistic nod. The duchess told a fan that this painting was her favorite. I think it is a more evocative and mysterious painting than the Mona Lisa. What a treat to see it!

Kate has been very involved supporting and promoting The Art Room initiative in the United Kingdom, so we are no stranger to the beautifully clad Duchess dropping into an art environment for children. She visited an art program for kids at the museum today, too, and as usual looked right in her element.


After thoroughly touring the museum, Kate's next stop was to focus on mental health. She moved to the British Ambassador's residence where two of the charities for which Kate acts as patron--Action on Addiction and the Anna Freud Centre--met with a mental health program based in the Netherlands.

Kate travelled from The Hague to Rotterdam. Richard Palmer reported:
This evening Kate will travel to the neighbouring city of Rotterdam to see Bouwkeet, the social Makerspace of Bospolder-Tussendijken.
This is a new community focussed initiative in the centre of an economically deprived district which provides a creative design and technology workspace. Local residents can use the facilities, and 'pay' by sharing their skills with others.
That all sounds well and good, but what in the world does that mean, I hear you say. I have no idea. I Googled "Makerspace Rotterdam" and the website popped right up. Regrettably, I do not speak Dutch, so we will have to move on to the fashion, knowing only generally that it looks cool and productive. 

KP Twitter

Kate wore a custom suit by Catherine Walker in an icy lilac. It has drawn mixed reaction. Some think it is boring and old and others think it is the pinnacle of class and sophistication. So, pretty much a normal response, eh? :) It certainly is professional, which generally also means mature, although I don't think that means it must be aging. It is a style that could be worn well by women across a range of ages, but it is not necessarily old looking. I thought it was very sophisticated and fit the bill for the day perfectly.

The suit has been compared to the Luisa Spagnoli suit (I think that was Kate's Closet said that) Kate wore in Scotland and again in Australia. My opinion is that it is also heavily inspired by the stunning suit ensemble that Angelina Jolie wore to meet the Queen when she was made an honorary dame.  That was by Ralph & Russo, a French label (British! :D  I think they are the first British label to show in Paris during Haute Couture--they have a French connection!) that I love and that Jolie wears often. 

Kate seems to be have been inspired by Angelina's ensemble. I don't want to compare the two too closely, because they are for different levels of formality. To me, the Ralph & Russo is superior to today's Catherine Walker, but it would have been a little formal for Kate's events. The princess struck the right balance with this suit. It is beautifully tailored with very flattering little details. The notches in the sleeves, the contoured skirt... It is very beautifully done. I like the crisp pleats on the peplum, too. It is a win for me! She was in the Netherlands as a senior royal, and she balanced her role as an ambassador and as a fashion icon very well. 

To close, this is a great video covering all her events: