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Down Under Day 12: Kate Wears Zimmermann in First Nod to Australian Fashion at the Easter Show and Manly Beach

Friday, April 18, 2014

Welcome back to Day 12 of the Royal Tour Down Under. William and Kate spent this Good Friday morning at the annual Royal Easter Show in Sydney. Royal Reporter Richard Palmer said that over 900,000 were expected to visit the very popular event. What might this fair consist of, you ask? My question as well. Are we talking an Easter Parade on 5th Avenue with hats or a country midway with a ferris wheel? This fair seems to be your traditional multi-tasking event: rides, prize pigs, and giant pumpkins. Wilbur wasn't there, but Fred the ribbon-winning ram certainly was. Before we get to Fred, though, let's dive right into the fashion, because I am so excited!

Kate wore a prominent Australian label, Zimmermann, in a intricate and feminine white eyelet. I hate to be that person, who is constantly wowed, but I am that person. It was a knock-out. The immediate connection to be made here is to the other white eyelet she wore: McQueen on the South East Asia tour. They are both white, and both eyelets.

But, this dress has a much closer "doppelgänger" that also reveals a further peak inside Kate's head when it comes to the fashion she naturally gravitates toward. The yellow eyelet she wore on her last stop on the Southeast Asia Tour is a structural dead ringer. And who designed that dress? Oh yeah, Kate did! When Kate sat down and tried her hand at fashion design she came up with an almost identically structured dress (same style of material) as the dress she wore today.  The hem is lower on today's Zimmermann, and the sleeves are narrow, but neckline, bodice, and skirt are all matching. I think general consensus was that the rather wide sleeves on Kate's yellow eyelet were not the ideal. But the broad design is the same. Not hard to see why the Zimmermann received royal approval.

Not to detract from Kate's very lovely creation, but this Zimmermann is more beautiful to my mind. A lot of things come together to make a dress fizzle or sizzle. The gathering on the bodice and the more delicate eyelet makes it seem dressier, but the intricate patterns on the back are almost reminiscent of sportswear designs when seen as a whole. It was beautiful dress that was classic with an easy, breezy, sunny charm. An Australian A+.

Royal Easter Show Facebook

Kate wore the same shoes with today's Zimmermann as she wore with her own creation in Tuvalu: the Stuart Weitzman Minx wedges. That brings us to the bad news. I hate these wedges. More than any other shoe she has ever worn, I hate these. Every time. When I see them, a part of my fashionista heart dies. These are bad. The only reason these shoes do not spoil the entire ensemble is because it is Kate. That's it. They are your grandmother's sandals propped up on cork. So ladies, there is an attached warning label on these wedges: don't try this at home. Seriously, unless your name is Kate Middleton, don't. I know I am going to face some wrath in the comments now.

Onto the fair and to Fred...the very, hairy ram. Earlier in the day, news crews were setting up at the fair in preparation for the royal visit by the sheep shearing:

As mentioned earlier, this fair gets a pretty healthy turnout, and the excitement was obviously only magnified by the high profile visitors due to make their appearance. Victoria Murphy of The Mirror reported that William remarked to fans behind the barrier, with his sometimes hidden, but undeniably dry wit, "Don't worry, you'll be let out soon."  I think he gets that from his dad.

The ducal couple made their way to the sheep shearing. Kate must have been contemplating the juxtaposition of her husband's lack of hair and the wooly sheeps abundance. When offered some of the wool, Kate joked that William needed the wool more than she did, to cover his bald spot. They are certainly comfortable with each other. To be fair, William opened this line of humor when he remarked outside the Lindo Wing that his brand-new son had more hair than he did. The guy has a good attitude. 

Speaking of those that could do with a haircut...Fred!  Fred the Ram, that is. This was a sheep with a healthy head of curly hair if ever I saw one. 

He is a prize winning dude and made the Twitter rounds almost as much as Kate did. Fred and this unusually themed prize pumpkin patch:

William was gifted diabetes in a box. I hope that isn't meant for George. Secretly, I want it since I plan to be in a sugar coma with the rest of you on Sunday morning.

While William was stocking up on the junk food, Kate was touring the vegetable stalls. When visiting a community garden in 2012, healthy Kate revealed that she grew her own potatoes. Those were the Anglesey days. Quiet, bucolic country living. Then came George of the Jungle...

Making headlines is the revelation that Naomi Watts has also been pictured wearing this dress.  Watts, as you know, played Diana, Princess of Wales in a much derided bio-pic last year. (Yes, I enjoyed it, and no I am not embarrassed to admit it. I downloaded it 10:30pm and watched the entire thing. On a work night. With my sister. Who was bored...) The syllogism seems to go like this:

Kate wore a dress by Zimmermann
Naomi Watts wore same dress by Zimmermann
Therefore: Kate (basically) wore a dress that Diana wore.

Not a solid syllogism. And that puts that to rest. 

Zimmermann Facebook

Two videos that might be of interest.  There is slight overlap at the start, but the first covers some history of the Royal Easter Show, and the second is more of a wrap up at the end of the their visit that includes shots of a prize winning gown designed with the Duchess of Cambridge in mind:

This woman doesn't stop smiling. Bright, bubbly, happy...

William and Kate had two afternoon engagements in Manly. The Bear Cottage Hospice was their first stop.

Because hospices and palliative care are Kate's area of interest and patronage, she was the one to give a brief speech as William looked on--much to the excitement of fans everywhere. We have to wait for video. Hopefully in time for the wrap-up tomorrow...

Then it was on to the Manly Beach, where a surf life-saving demonstration was planned. The crowds were jammed to the barricades waiting for William and Kate. Kate's Givenchy sunglasses made an appearance, although for the actual engagement she only held them in her hands. I don't know if the sand is going to ruin those wedges, but... a girl can hope.

This was a fantastic photo-op. Deep blue ocean-scape; warm, golden sand... The two had been a little late arriving and the sun was at a flattering angle. It certainly showed Kate and Australia off to best advantage. Perfect ending to the day.

The two are off back to Admiralty House for the night. Brisbane tomorrow!!

P.S. Mr. Security sighting...


  1. Lovely dress! She looks stunning and radiant (what else is new, right? :))
    Jane, keep up the good work. Your posts always put a big smile on my face, so thank you for that!

  2. Gosh she is such a stunner! She is so beautiful and looks amazing in white. I loved this dress I would wear this! Can't wait to hear her speech. :)

  3. P.s I also want to watch the Diana film although I have read alot of scathing reviews, but nevertheless I will order it from Amazon and make up my own mind!

  4. I am absolutely in awe of anyone who can run, let alone walk, in the sand with wedges and wedges that high!! I half expected a change of clothing for the beach even if it was just the shoes...i think i saw Rebecca barefooted on the sand?

  5. Hi Jane,
    Here is a video of her speech : (the quality is awful, though)
    Little by little she gets used to speeches... But she's not at ease yet... (which I totally understand!)

  6. Mmh, ok, first thought: Summerly outfit. I like the colours and as you all said, she always looks stunning!! But, to be honest, this is not my taste. If the pattern would only have been on the skirt, I probably would have liked it. This all-over is too agitated to me, simply too much. But it's just a personal sentiment.
    Thinking of the wedges I'm shrugging my shoulders. It's nice to see Kate wearing sandals because we're used to never seeing her toes (sorry for the bumpy english, vocabulary is missing.. :-/ ). The shoes themselves are neither a hit nor a flop to me. I'm undetermined. I would have to think about it.
    I'm curious about her speech. Looking foward to your next post, Jane - as every day ;-)

  7. Very pretty dress--I liked both the Broderie Anglaise ones she wore on the 2012 tour, but this beats them. I think it was really very suitable for all three engagements, but it is the kind of dress which children love. She also stood out on the beach when others were in such bright colours.
    Sorry Jane, but I quite like the sandals---their color makes the wedges not quite so obvious. She must find them comfortable or she would not have worn them all day---and she even ran in them.
    This seems such a happy tour.
    Odd it's Autumn in Oz, but seems as warm as our summer.
    Rather missing the New Zealand Governor General's listing of all the times of the individual engagements.

  8. lovely as always I also disliked the shoes thx for all your hard work and love your blog

    1. The shoes ruin it. A low wedge would have been so much better. Dress is okay, but the waist looks like she had to buy a dress for a shorter person and didn't get it altered in time, just looks odd. And 6 inches off the mane would have made the shoes and dress perfect in any case.

    2. I love these sandal wedges, and think they go really well with this dress. I hate those other enclosed wedges she wears.

  9. I really appreciate this blog where we are welcome to post more in depth commentary. Thank you! This is the first time that I've questioned Kate's wisdom in choosing her shoes. I'm not a fan of wedges or platforms in general, but normally they work well with the outfit she's chosen. And even with the Zimmerman dress, they are not awful. My only criticism comes from her apparently insisting on wearing them on the beach. Why not slip into a pair of flats. Her Sebagos would have gone well with the dress, or even a pair of ballet flats. But running in the wedges on the beach just seemed a little foolhardy, especially after her near tumble in the vineyard. Even slipping off her shoes and going barefoot as did Rebecca Deacon would not have been unusual at the beach, although she probably would have been criticized for that. This is the first time that I feel she let fashion win over function. (Almost as though she felt she had something to prove, although I'm not sure what.)

  10. This is one of my favourite engagement so far: lovely, funny but also touching.
    The dress is great, I like the colour and the fabric; the shape really suits her stunning figure.
    I feel her closer when she wears dresses like this one, feminine but young. Just the wedges are a miss for me..
    Thank you Jane, you're fast and exhaustive in your posts!!

  11. Hi Jane, thanks for the excellent post! While this is one of my favorite tour looks so far, when I first saw it I was struck by how similar it was to the McQueen eyelet dress. I wonder why she just didn't recycle that one. White is definitely a good color for Kate, it really highlights her tan and makes her smile pop! I'm so glad to see her wear a local designer and am hoping to see more of that. I am sorry but I have to disagree with you Jane about these sandals. I think they were the perfect casual choice for this dress. However, she should have taken them off while at the beach, they did look a little silly there, especially for a run in the sand.

    Looking forward to tomorrow!

    1. agree, great choice for the dress

  12. Thanks Jane for all the great info during this long and busy tour. This dress may be my favorite, due to the pattern placement by the designer. I understand your comment about the sandles, they do look retro 1970's. It must be hard to find something to go with the dress, have her clothing look right with her standing next to Prince William and be able to walk on the beach. No mean feat!

  13. I love the sandals. The shape and the color are so trendy now. Kate wears those retro styles with such grace.

  14. I actually don't mind the sandals. It's nice to see Kate in something other than those blue SW wedges. Wish I felt comfortable in wedges that high though...

  15. I have the Minx sandals, and I absolutely adore them! They're comfortable for all day wear (cork is a fantastic shock absorber, so I can understand why Kate favors these and her Corkswoons for long days) and the color goes with anything and everything. Weitzman shoes are extremely well made and their fit is wonderfully consistent. I'm not sure they photograph very well, but in person the braided straps are beautiful and intricate. To each her own, I suppose; all I know is that Kate and I positively rock them!

  16. I loved this dress! So pretty. I am, however, pretty tired of her wedge shoes. I think they just look clunky and sort of late 90s/early 2000s. I don't like them at all. Regular heals would be better.
    Also, I love that you are pointing out pics of that security guy! He is so intense! I like him. Is he one of their regular guys from home, or just for this tour?

  17. Since I don't buy very expensive shoes, I have to ask: Can high wedges be comfortable if they are expensive enough? I saw a picture of someone's blue wedges (the same as Kate's that she wore yesterday) where you could see the inside of the shoe. They looked very padded. But running on the beach with them, or having them on all day while standing up/walking sounds like torture!

    Victoria, Oregon

  18. Oops.. guess I should have read Sarah's comment!

    :) Victoria, Oregon

  19. I thought Rebecca Deacon looked very nice today, the skirt and shirt combo looked great on her! I feel for her, having the world's most famous fashion icon as your boss must be so hard, but she does strike me as someone who is very confident about herself.

    And of course Mr. Security looked intense and handsome as always! :)

  20. I think today’s dress was very appropriate. On one of the highest Christian Holidays, in remembrance of the death of Jesus Christ, Kate might not have wanted to sparkle nor overstress the fun aspect of meeting lifesaving people on the beach. Among the meanings attributed to white colour are, of course, mourning and death. In the Roman Catholic Church, white is associated with Jesus Christ, innocence and sacrifice. “Zimmermann” is one of the words for Jesus’ profession of a carpenter in German – and he probably wore sandals? :)

  21. "William was gifted diabetes in a box. I hope that isn't meant for George. Secretly, I want it since I plan to be in a sugar coma with the rest of you on Sunday morning." THAT was hilarious! I have been visiting your blog for what I am sure must be over 2 years now and at least twice a week. You are the best royals blogger I've come across for pictures yet. Thanks for keeping this blog up!

  22. They're comfortable for all day wear and the color goes with anything and everything. Weitzman shoes are extremely well made and their fit is wonderfully consistent.I like them.Thank you so much.


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