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Hats, Hats, Hats: Two of Kate's Milliners Recently Interviewed

Friday, September 26, 2014

The good news is that the weekend is here at last, the bad news is that royal news is slow. Slower than molasses in winter. As in, there is no news. Kate is still recovering. I really think that she must be feeling significantly better by now, and hopefully this will be confirmed in the next few weeks or so by a sighting somewhere. A photo of the Duchess, presumably taken some time ago, has been circling the internet for the past week. It is not entirely clear the origins of the photo, although it is certainly not a professional snap. @LiveLoveLaughvr initially forwarded me the photo after finding it on Instagram where it was tagged as June of this year, and I have seen several iterations since.

via @livelovelaughvr

It was posted on several Tumblrs as a new photo of Kate and I even saw one place where the author had written a very detailed story about seeing Kate out and about while William was in Malta, seemingly fit-as-a-fiddle, etc, etc. I assume we were meant to be led to the conclusion she was deceiving the world with her so-called sickness, although why she would want to miss out on a beautiful two days in sun-soaked Malta, viewing priceless art and world-famous architecture, was not entirely clear. The whole notion that Kate is faking her illness strikes me as ludicrous at best.  If I am going to get stoked-up on a conspiracy theory, I prefer mine to be a little more exciting.  Anyhow, it is pretty clear this is not a recent photo, her summer attire alone belies belief that it was taken in late-September England. Kate appears to be wearing a light pullover and skinnies, in addition to a summer-weight scarf. In fact, it looks to be an almost identical ensemble to her airport look in Brisbane as she was returning from the South East Asia tour, although as noted by my informant, she is obviously wearing flats.

Brisbane Airport 2012
In any event, that's that. Definitely not a recent shot, near impossible to know exactly when or where, but...a photo of Kate is a photo of Kate. Moving on...

Ladies, let's talk hats. Why not, eh? There are updates on two of Kate's milliners: Vivien Sheriff and Jane Taylor. Kate wore a darling fascinator by Vivien Sherif to celebrate her engagement with the people of Anglesey as the royal-couple-to-be toured the UK in the run-up to the wedding. I remember seeing it for the first time and it was a show-stopper despite its relatively diminutive size. I wanted one, and I know woman all over wanted one, too.


After that very prominent bit of PR, Sheriff designed over 50 hats for guests attending the Royal Wedding! She has now signed a deal with Australian store Myer, so all you girls Down Under have a pretty stylish (and convenient) future in store for you! In an article about her new deal, Vivien spoke about Kate's effect on hat trends:
The Duchess of Cambridge is our best advocate for wearing headwear so beautifully. The Duchess has set the trend for headpieces and tends to favour smaller, sculpted pieces like a structured beret rather than a traditional hat with a crown and brim.
Meanwhile, Jane Taylor, certainly a name we are all very familiar with, revealed in an interview that of the hats she has designed for Kate, the grey Easter Morning hat was her favorite because, "it was a new design." Which is, I assume, humble code for: "it was unique, sophisticated with flair, and entirely gorgeous" but I don't mean to put words into her mouth. I think that hat won our collective Royal Nod for Best Hat during The Middleton Medals: Down Under 2014, and it certainly remains one of Ms. Taylor's most striking achievements:


Jane Taylor had a really interesting interview here, where she discussed her hats and her work with Kate:
I believe a hat should look as though it's part of you. Since I started working with the Duchess I have noticed the ‘Kate effect'. Some people ask for an exact copy of one of her hats, but the new shapes are just for the Duchess, so I won't be selling them to anyone else.

I came up with the idea of discs on the Duchess of Cambridge's Diamond Jubilee hat when a friend of mine was attending a wedding and I designed a hat for her. Her dress was multicoloured, and nothing in the studio matched, so we dyed some material and made the discs in less than three hours.


Both Vivien and Jane (Taylor, of course) agree that despite the popularity of the fascinator, wide-brimmed hats made a come-back this year and they expect that trend to continue. The obvious problem with wide-brims is that they can block the public's view of Kate's face, but I would still love to see Kate wear a few more wide-brimmed hats a little more often. Back when hiding her face was a desirable advantage of a hat, Kate wore them with regularity. Since becoming a Duchess, she has certainly almost exclusively favored fascinators.


Hopefully, we will see Kate much sooner, but obviously the Duchess should be at Remembrance Sunday in November.  That is an event when she always goes a little bigger.

Happy Weekend!

19 comments:

  1. It is so sad when people invent mean rumors. Kate has a serious hormonal sickness during pregnancy.
    She should have everyone's sympathy and compassion, not be derided out of cattiness, jealousy or ignorance.
    It is VERY possible to be throwing up 18 out of 24 hours a day, and even so be able to venture for one minute out of doors for fresh air when not bent over the sink hurling!

    It must be very hurtful for her to read things that are untrue, malicious and derogatory - and have to rise above them and say nothing in her own defense. She is following Queen Elizabeth's example brilliantly!

    I hope Kate feels better soon, and has a healthy happy baby in due time!

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  2. I think it is absurd to show a blurry night photo of the backside of a brunette and then identify it as Kate. Why should anyone believe it is her?

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    1. It's her. I have seen a better quality photo which I then lost...but, if you are willing to trust me, I can tell you it is her.

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  3. Just to make a gentle correction- since becoming a Duchess, Kate has not worn a single fascinator. She has, however, worn many cocktail hats and percher hats.

    Royal Fascinators: http://royalhats.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/hat-types-the-fascinator/
    Royal Cocktail Hats: http://royalhats.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/hat-types-the-cocktail/

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    1. Uh oh, the hat expert has arrived. ;) This is cool! But, I very much dislike the term "cocktail hat" it makes me think of...too long ago to still be chic, if you catch my drift. I see the distinction you are making between fascinator and a larger small hat...but, are you saying that a cocktail hat is the same thing as a percher? I could work with percher.

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    2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascinator - Kate as an the example, wearing a red fascinator during the Canada trip. So Jane You were right ;)

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    3. I hate to be difficult but the red headpiece worn in Canada was not a fascinator- the clearly visible straw base makes it a textbook example of the cocktail hat. Wikipedia (along with most mainstream media) often gets this wrong!

      A percher hat is where the edges of the hat curve under, so the hat is resting or perching on the head. Many of Kate's cocktail hats could be considered perchers. The exception would be her embellished berets- those you could just call a beret!

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  4. I agree the picture isn't recent, but not with the sweeping statement that its not possible to be wearing such an outfit in England in late September - check the weather reports - it's been incredibly mild this month !

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    1. Hi there! I see your point, for sure. On this one I am going to stick by my comment, just because I had considered the weather while pondering the picture and based on the weather and my study of Kate's dressing habits, I think she would be wearing a little something more, even with this milder weather.

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  5. In the mystery photo she appears to be carrying the same bag as in the pre-engagement photo in your prior post. That makes me think the mystery photo is a few years old.

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    1. Hi Meggie! Great eye! Both bags are Longchamp Le Pliage totes in the same black and brown color combo. I think I confused some people, so I added a caption to the 2nd picture. The first photo on the post is a mystery shot and she appears to be wearing a similar ensemble to the second very clear picture (holding the Longchamp bag) which was taken in 2012. Regarding the bags, the one from 2005 has long straps and the one she was carrying at the airport has the shortened straps. They are really great bags and Kate has had a number of them. When William was unloading their small carry-on luggage when they made their transfer in Sydney before arriving in Wellington, he pulled out a briefcase for himself, the little Kangaroo back pack for George, and the Longchamp for Kate. She really likes to travel with it... You can see the post here: http://fromberkshiretobuckingham.blogspot.com/2014/04/down-under-tour-kate-in-maxmara-from.html
      Anyway, I am sorry that the post wasn't clearer. I think several people were thrown about which photo was which. I will try to be better in the future. ;)

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  6. I would love to see Kate wear more wide-brimmed. I think because I only ever see her in photos I am not concerned about a good angle, but if you were actually there to see her in person it could leave you disappointed.
    Great blog, Jane. Thanks for putting time in here. We love it!

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    1. I selfishly agree. :) But, I LOVE the fascinators so much, too. I think there will be some occasions she can go a little bigger, but I think the trend will remain smaller...maybe until she becomes a more senior royal.

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  7. I think Kate can wear both wide brim hats and the smaller hats she has been wearing the last few years. Hope she follows the trend with the larger brims. She has the looks to carry them off. I know some of the royal women who are not as tall as Kate, seem to be able to carry off large brims (i.e. the Countess of Wessex and the Duchess of Cornwall), but with Kate's height, she looks wonderful in the larger hats.

    I thought facinators were out of style and didn't count as hats in the royal enclosure. Anyone know about this?

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    1. I do not clearly make dissections between fascinators and small hats. This has been pointed out earlier in this comment thread by The (fabulous) Royal Hats Blog. :)
      The Royal Enclosure demands that a "hat" have an at least 4-inch base, which even I in my generosity to the term fascinator, would be forced to agree is no longer a fascinator.
      Ultimately, I think the problem is that a fascinator, when strictly defined, is more of an embellished headband. It ticks the box if you are expected to wear a headpiece of some kind, but lacks a certain formality, which is probably why they have been banned from the Royal Enclosure.

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  8. I was shocked seeing her feet in the shoes at the Brisbane Airport. They look very strange. I don't think it's because quality of the photo, because her face looks nice. The shoes hardly fit and cover her fingers. Sorry but it looks very odd.

    She has HG, but it doesn't mean she must lay all the time in bed. She went for a walk, probably with her dog to get some fresh air. It's good for her health. We can't compare the walk with a two day trip to Malta. The plane, stress, people, timetable, food ... and the feeling you may get sick any moment. I would be very risky. I remember fainting in a train when I was pregnant. I was on my way to my work. It was dangerous and horrible. I was pregnant with twins and I hardly could resist vomiting. But I couldn't have stayed at home that time.

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    1. What is so shocking and odd about toes?

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  9. Wow, I agree with Anon Sep 27 @951am. That is an unflattering picture of her toes. I think the shoe "toe box" is just awfully small. I have encountered some shoes like that and I think they must be returned. I'm guessing Kate didn't notice this.

    I wouldn't be too upset with the make-believe stories of Kate fit. I don't believe so. She might be feeling better and that can only be good. I would also imagine that after being stuck at home and her parents she would want to venture out for a walk.

    I'm just hoping her next outing won't be shopping because that would be very bad PR - I hope once she is up to it, she is seen at an official engagement before her normal day-to-day activities.

    Anyway, I also saw a pic that I forgot to bring to your attention Jane (I know you like candid pics too).
    http://wills-and-kate.tumblr.com/post/97563386438
    I read it was taken on their last date (prior to the train ride to London).

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    1. Hi. If one has nice feet and toes, I think toe cleavage can be a sexy thing. I have a low cut pair of kitten heel slingbacks that I just love. Anyway, long flights make my feet swell, so wouldn't be surprised if she opted for a roomier pair of shoes for that reason.

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