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Wrap-Up Day 8: Christchurch

Monday, April 14, 2014

It is the wrap-up for Day 8 in Christchurch. If you missed the full post on yesterdays events, you can read it here. Let's look at Kate's clothes first and then touch on a few fun articles and supplemental videos.

Kate recycled her Luisa Spagnoli suit from St. Andrew's in 2011. If you want more details on that day, you can pop to this post where I covered it briefly. I consider this only the second time she has worn the suit, counting the stop in London to sign the New Zealand condolence book to still be part of the same original wear. She has clearly lengthened the skirt of the dress, as noted in the main post.

I loved this recycle. I was not excited when I heard descriptions of the suit that matched the Luisa Spagnoli. Although I loved it for sentimental reasons, I wasn't sure how it was going to look. When pictures finally came through, I was thrilled. It is amazing how the accessories with which you style some pieces, or the tweaks the tailor gives, can really transform. There are several other instances I am thinking of where Kate wore a piece with black stockings and high, snug collars and I far preferred each piece without those rather stifling elements. 

The Emilia Wickstead that Kate wore in 2012 and 2013:

The Hobbs coat she wore in 2012 and 2013:

And now, the Luisa Spagnoli:

It is not just the accessories. The longer hemline, which isn't long as we have defined on this blog, just longer than it was before, makes a stunning difference. Kate looks leaner, streamlined, and more regal.  Not always so apparent, you can certainly see here that she has changed. She has been a royal Duchess for almost exactly three years. Since the first picture was taken she has had "princess lessons," learned to hold better posture in heels, honed her sense of style in the public eye, and adopted a very confident and royal presence. I am amazed by this suit on this second wear, and have to say that lowering the hemline just that bit and obviously making the jacket a little more fitted, really made her figure look fantastic. This is a major hit in my book and I really, really think this looks exceptionally great. Just like movies are  rarely as good as the book, recycles are not usually as good as the first wear. This certainly does not follow that rule! 

Kate accessorized with her her Episodes, a Mulberry clutch, and Annoushka pearl earrings. You can also see she is wearing the delicate necklace that is most probably still her Mappin & Webb, and you can also see her diamond eternity ring.

Then there was the drama of the skirt. Kate clearly had lengthened the skirt of what I believed to be the original dress. But, then it became apparent from the picture above that she was most assuredly not wearing a dress. Cue fashion blogger craziness. :)  Very sharp eyed ladies at WKW really pored over the details from the seams to the archive photos and determined that the original dress she wore in Scotland and was again visible wearing signing the book of condolence, had been made into a skirt. (If you disagree, you are more than welcome to say so, but I can't say that I will be of help. I pretty much failed sewing class in grade school...) It is a happy conclusion because it is such a match, it had to be the original dress, but it clearly was a skirt! My mind was a little muddled! I think at the end of this week, low on sleep, some of us were starting to feel like we were taking leave of our senses. Way to throw a curve ball, Kate.

I didn't wonder why Kate was making all those faces in the stills, because she makes faces pretty constantly. One of her many charms. But, there was a reason for this set of stills. William had thrown the ball (not the technical term) and it had whizzed dangerously close to her face. I really wish we had had a live feed for this, alas, not everything is perfect. You can watch the video by following this link

Caroline, one of my lovely New Zealand readers, emailed me her experience meeting the Duchess in Christchurch. I wanted to share her comments:
Today I was fortunate to see the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Christchurch. The Duchess's red suit is an even prettier, more intense red than it appears in photographs. It looked almost like red velvet and it was that lovely, deep red with not a hint of orange. I had been hoping that Catherine would wear red and black, as these are Canterbury colours.
The significance of Kate's color choice has not been lost on the New Zealand people, and several of you have noted this in comments, on Twitter, and on the Facebook page. I agree, that this was a tribute on Kate's part!

At this link, you can find video of Kate and William at the Cathedral.
William and Kate were also given some family planning advice, reports The Telegraph:
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were urged by a Maori elder to have more children when they arrived in Christchurch today.

The couple laughed after being told to "do what princes and princesses do - increase your family" during a traditional powhiri welcome ceremony.
The Express reported briefly on the Cambridges luxe night near Queenstown, and although I am sure they were both missing baby George, this description certainly sounds relaxingly idyllic:
William and Kate enjoyed some down time at Matakauri Lodge near Queenstown.
The five star boutique hotel sits on the banks of Lake Wakatipu and has magnificent views of the surrounding mountains.
Simply from the way that Kate disappeared after George's birth, it was clear that it is important to her to be with him as much as possible. That was reinforced very sweetly again today in a New Zealand Herald piece:
The Duchess [said] that she'd had breakfast with George every morning of their trip then put him back down for a sleep. She'd also been back in time to bathe him and put him to bed each night, except for last night - their first away from the Prince during the royal visit.
Kate has reportedly tasked her aides with increasing her public engagements this year after her return from tour. By the time they get back from tour and decompress for a month, George will almost be a year old, and it seems Kate is more comfortable leaving him a little more often as she comes back to more active public life.

This is actually from Hamilton, so not technically part of the wrap up, but I enjoyed it and wanted to share it. Watching this you get the sense it isn't always easy to be a royal. Kate has to diffuse some pretty constant awkwardness from the shy youths she encounters and seems to have to have a constant stream of friendly banter at the ready to fill all empty moments.

We have a breather now as the Cambridges have the day off. They are back in action on the 16th, which is the 15th for the US.


  1. Hi Jane, thanks for clearing up the dress/skirt mystery. As you said Kate certainly threw us a curve ball! I wonder if was on purpose, to see how many would catch it?

    I have to say that while Kate has looked lovely (as always) I haven't been blown away by the fashion I've seen so far. I don't feel like I've seen much new, it's all been recycles or similar styles. I keep thinking back to the Singapore tour and all the wonder dresses, the fabrics were out of this world and the silhouettes were perfection!! Maybe it's because she's in coats all time, really how much can you do to a coat? I know the green coat was very popular, but I thought all the zippers and bodice detailing was too much. And the casual clothes are ones we see her in at every casual event. I want new, I want fabulous, I want subtle glamour, I want some local designers! Here they are almost to the end of their time in NZ and the closest we've gotten is Emily Wickstead. Big sigh! I have heard that Austrailia is warmer so maybe there is still hope after all. Another sigh.

    I am looking forward to seeing Kate increase her engagements. She has a wonderful opportunity to impact a great many people and help spread the word about her and Williams charities, so I'm thrilled that she'll be out and about more in the future. I wonder if she has continued to volunteer with the local scouts in London?

  2. I enjoyed this wrap-up very much!! How come these things into your mind?? (You must be full of tour input and are just able to think through these things. Chapeau!!)

    I totally agree with everything you said about the Luisa Spagnoli suit. Little differences can change a lot. You prove it in your "black stocking" examples (by the way the Emilia Wickstead of 2012 is one of my favourites. Love the hair, the colours and the matching shoes to the hat).

    And you're right. Kate has changed. She growed with her duties. But I think that must have been hard work for her. Thanks for sharing the video. She does a great job. She is so confident. I hope she now feels comfortable in her role.

    Like the informations seeping through about their life with George. It's so normal - and so cute..

    Let's take breath... :-)

  3. Hi Jane. Thanks for your great blog. I am visiting it regularly to check what is new. :) I liked Kate's look today however this half-up, half-down hairstyle is not my cup of tea. I saw better half-ups, half-downs on her. I am definitely waiting for some updo during Ausie tour. Hopefully we will be lucky to see some. :)

  4. Totally agree about the remodelling of the dress/skirt. There would be no way that you would be able to drop a hem that much as they just do not contain enough fabric to allow for the amount that has been lowered in this instance and sometimes you can not remove the original fold mark. There is also another photo circulating in which you can see that it is not a dress. There looks like she could be wearing a black top underneath or she has a black waistband on the skirt.

    Kiwi Nic

  5. Kate wearing the burgundy coat and tanned looked absolutely beautiful when she came to Grimsby to open the heritage centre. It's my favourite look. I think she was a month pregnant then, and she was bursting with health and vitality.

    Jane little thing I noticed...... Is the security woman beside the Duchess the same one in the front seat of the car at the royal wedding ?


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