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London Fashion Week SS 2015: Royal Edition

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ok, kids, the Fashion Weeks roll on. My little sister told me the other day, "Oh, I stopped reading your blog because you were reporting on Fashion Week and I thought that was boring." Soo, if you are with JBarr the Younger, you can toddle off now, but if you want to see how the wind is blowing in the world of couture, march on.

This week we are in London. Oh, London. What a wonderful city. Kensington and Chelsea, Knightsbridge, Notting Hill, Bloomsbury... Lovely, lovely, lovely.

Simon Syon

I think that after a certain town that doesn't stop sparkling, this is coolest city on the planet. And, of course, it is also home to our very favorite Royal Family and their shining, the luminous Duchess of Cambridge.

Pedro Szekely


London Fashion Week was naturally packed with labels that Kate has worn, so it was certainly a busy week. Again, keep in mind that much of what walks the runway becomes significantly more wearable, if you will, once it actually hits the rack.

Emilia Wickstead

Kate can be counted to wear Emilia Wickstead with relative regularity. She loved one of Wickstead's designs so much she wore it several times, in two shades. I fully expect to see this designer often on the Duchess in the future.



There was absolutely nothing in the show that Kate would wear directly off the runway, and precious little you could imagine her wear altered unless some serious re-inventing took place. That being said, Emilia Wickstead's style of tailoring and design were very present and the entire collection reminded me of Kate's baby blue maternity dress that she wore to the National Portrait Gallery. The scoops, the darts, the lines...


McQ Alexander McQueen

McQ is a diffusion line of Alexander McQueen and as we all know, Kate loves all kinds of Alexander McQueen. The beautiful Black Watch tartan coat she wore right before her pregnancy announcement in 2012, and then again to Christmas just this past year, is a McQ.



While we all loved that, I wasn't doing back flips over what McQ showed this week in London. Don't hold your breath on these.


Orla Kiely

Kate doesn't wear the Irish label as much as she does other brands, but when she does it is always unique, super cute, and memorable.


There was a lot to love and to dream about in Orla Kiely's Spring 2015 presentation. It was full of  imaginative detailing. Orla Kiely's playful vibe might not always work for a duchess, but I think these looks are very youthful on Kate and particularly nice when she visits a school, or is dealing with children. I hope we see lots more Orla Kiely on Kate. 


Joseph

Kate has worn Joseph several times with fantastic success...of course. The creamy Joseph jacket she paired with her Reiss Peacock remains one of my favorite ensembles. Nevertheless, the collection shown at LFW is almost enough to undo all my happy memories.




I have nothing positive to say about Joseph. Frankly, after viewing the collection, I was irritated that I had wasted the ten minutes it took to review it. Ten minutes I can never get back. I could have been sipping coffee and staring at the ceiling and it would have been more productive. It seemed the designer had been tripping on acid and thinking of the 80's...



Topshop Unique

Kate has been sporadically wearing TopShop for years. The High Street brand could hardly be termed a staple label, but certainly it pops up with enough regularity to warrant a quick peek at the show.


There were some pieces that certainly had potential, but in general nothing was extremely "Duchess-worthy." The pleated skirt looks like something Kate could wear in a less flashy color and the knit dress on the far right is in her silhouette if not her whole style. Nothing was a show stopper.


Temperley London

Kate is such a Temperley fan. While it still does not rank with McQueen and Jenny P, the veritable Queen's of Kate's closet, Temperley is a very solid player. Kate wears Temperley for the formal all the way to the casual, and the unique style is exactly the look to which Kate seems to gravitate.



Oooh, Temperley. I do love Temperley. This collection was patterns gone wild, but done so stunningly well. I covet this structured pink skirt, and with a smart, starched, white blouse and a statement piece, Kate could really make this gorgeous at a mid-morning event or luncheon. Temperley is extraordinary, the label makes the quintessentially relaxed boho stunningly elegant. It is perfect for our princess. This was a great show!


Mulberry

This is a solid brand that you can count on Kate wearing at least several times a year, both in public and when spotted on her off time.  Her Mulberry choices are usually relatively classic and subdued.



The Mulberry show didn't present anything immediately wearable for Kate, but the elements that attract her were there, as has been the case for many of these collections. We will have to wait and see if any of their pieces transform a little off the runway and make it to Kate.


Jonathan Saunders

Kate has worn Jonathan Saunders only a few times, but certainly with success. I really loved the colorful print she debuted on her tour of South East Asia:


You would be forgiven if at first glance you struggled to guess to what or whom Saunders attributed the inspiration for his collection, but he said it was inspired by cotton voile from Japan--light and airy. I think he was successful, and I think once the large bows and paper-mache like embellishments are ditched, there could be some really beautiful dresses from this collection. The delicate blue is reminding me of Kate's Temperley dress at her tea party with Jimmy Choo...


Roksanda Ilincic 

When Kate first wore Roksanda Ilincic it seemed it might be a one-off, but the duchess not only recycled that dress, but then debuted two more just recently on tour Down Under. It seems Kate likes the bold designer as much as we do.


She showed bright colors and geometric color blocking as well as attention grabbing "architectural" details, like the swirling ruffles on the left and the right and the curving neckline and bodice in the middle. I hope Kate wears Roksanda Ilincic again, albeit in lightly more subdued pieces, as we saw with her Australian sheath dress.


Erdem

A major player in Kate's label line-up is certainly Erdem. Debuted almost the moment she became a Duchess, we have had a very steady diet of it, with almost universal success. I overlook the blue embroidered Trooping dress...


The show this week left me feeling a little dreary. I was starting to look around for my vodka bottle. I kid.... But, seriously, did they forget this was Spring 2015? The darker colors, subdued lighting, etc seemed more appropriate for a moody fall collection. Nevertheless, all of Erdem's signatures showed up. Heavy detailing, such as feathers and appliqué, were present in force. I do think this will transform into a really great SS line-up off the runway, but honestly I feel like they needed to lighten the atmosphere.


Burberry Prorsum 

Is there anything more British than Burberry? Maybe Buckingham Palace... Kate isn't actually a huge, huge Burberry girl. It was a bit of a surprise when she stepped out in a classic trench with a twist...or should I say ruffle...in Ireland during the Engagement Tour of the UK. Partly because up to that point she hadn't really been wearing a lot of really high-end labels. The winds of change were blowing...


Brace yourself, though. Moving from Erdem's dark-jungle-woman vibe to Burberry's sugar-and-not-much-spice girl might give you light whiplash. Easy conclusion: unless Kate is invited to another charity roller disco, we won't be seeing any of this on HRH. Candy Land called...they want their wardrobe back.


Issa

Kate's former It-label showed this week as well. Although in the past we have discussed in detail how the princess won't be wearing Issa anymore, I have still loved following the label over the years. The problem now is that Daniella Helayel, who founded Issa and was at the helm when Kate was such a devotee, left the brand in 2013. As inevitably happens when a new creative director takes over, the flavor changes just a little. I didn't dislike the collection, it just is a new perspective.


For example, this was Issa SS 2012


Then SS 2013:


This is Issa SS 2015:



You always know that Carolina Herrera will deliver her exquisite evening gowns and Oscar de la Renta has been playing with his breathtaking embroidery for several seasons, and you used to know that Issa would deliver color, flattering jersey knits, flowing kaftans, and daring plunges. That's not what we got. Times change and all good things come to an end. This is a little life lesson right smack in the middle of fashion week. C'est la vie.

Christopher Kane

Well, you all know what I think of Christopher Kane, so I will keep this brief.


He still likes shiny fabric:


That wraps up my coverage of London Fashion Week. Today is the very tense Scottish Referendum vote and I am certainly hoping very much that Great Britain still exists at the end of the day. For those interested in the election and the ramifications this was a very interesting article that you may enjoy. The last poll taken showed the "no" vote ahead by a hair.

The Countess of Strathearn

Lastly, as you no doubt have heard, it was announced this morning that Kate is still too ill to go to Malta, and William will go in her stead. Nevertheless, I do hope very much that her weekend in Bucklebury and the long hesitation before canceling the trip to Malta indicate that Kate is feeling significantly better, even if not entirely well. 


9 comments:

  1. Jane, the readers may have already asked themselves this question. Is it Kate, or is it the fashion? At the start, I was interested in learning a bit more about this pretty young woman, but now, I realize my interest actually tends to be the fashion.

    First, there was news of the engagement. Wonderful! Then she was pregnant with her first child. Joyous! Now, happy news a sibling is on the way. More great news, except I am concerned for her health and the health of the baby.

    I hope I am saying this, where it is understood, since this is not an attack on Kate, but an opinion I have come to after many years. I like watching the clothes and hearing about the major events in the life of William and Kate. Oprah Winfrey used to say to her audience, when people show you who they are, believe them. I have come to realize I am a follower of Kate, because of all the fashion which comes into play, but not for too much else.

    I believe Kate has told us who she is, and in my observation, she is a devoted wife and mother. Her family and her life at home are her priorities. When she became engaged, she told everyone she would work hard. I think this was her mistake. At least, I took this to believe she would be a very hard working royal. I think this is part of why she has received backlash from people about the number of charities she has chosen to be patron and her schedule.

    Now, the Palace has told us she will not make the trip to Malta. We are told she DESPERATELY wanted to make this trip. As an RN, I am well aware the seriousness of her medical problems, but I think the palace is going overboard with this statement.

    While Kate has many followers and fans, I can't help but remember the flowers and the tears from millions upon the death of Princess Diana. The world recognized the years of hard work and love which Diana spread. She knew her position gave her a platform to shine a light on the issues of the day. She brought new issues to the forefront. Even my husband was sick at heart when she died.

    I realize both Diana and Kate are their own women. Diana spread her love, but Kate keeps her love for a tight, intimate circle of family and friends.
    While little JB does not like to see posts about fashion week, I have come to realize the fashion is what I come here to see.

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    Replies
    1. Well, I guess part of this issue rests on the question “Does Kate work enough?” and that topic has been pretty amply covered here more than once, so I don’t want to re-open the topic. We will let that be a matter of personal opinion.

      As to your other question, is it Kate or the clothes? It’s both, but the undeniable fact, simply by numbers, is that it is very much Kate. There are many beautiful royal women in the world, Queen Letizia, Crown Princess Victoria, Princess Mary, Queen Rania, etc, etc. All these women are more senior than Kate in their royal families and are therefore more active and out more often. All of them are physically beautiful and have significant wardrobe budgets--just stunning, stunning clothes. Yet, you cannot find anywhere near the blogs, the Tumblrs, the magazine articles, the media attention that Kate garners.

      Why are we all in love with Kate? It’s a complicated answer…partly because the world was so enamored with Diana, partly because the BRF is the biggest monarchy in the world, but partly because Kate is Kate. Approachable and normal yet reserved and regal… And different people will give different reasons why they are drawn to her, but one can’t say it’s just the fashion, because in today’s internet world one could easily follow any number of other stunning royal women whose clothes are as beautiful as Kate’s, but who are more closely aligned with that individual’s preferred personality or family life, etc.

      So, the quick answer based on world interest is that a lot of women are drawn to clothes, and royal mystique, but that those women are also particularly drawn to Kate as a person, as woman they admire, respect, resonate with, wish to emulate, etc.

      I hope you don’t stop reading and go follow only Letizia or Mary! You are certainly allowed to read just for the fashion, but the answer to your question is that for more women than not, it is about Kate as well.

      Best! Jane

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    2. Anon
      I too was a registered nurse, but i would never have tried to decide how ill a person was, when I had never met them or knew them in any way. The decision not to go to Malta, was decided on the advice of her doctors---all of them eminent in their field. I think they are capable of knowing what is best for Catherine.
      I come on this site to see the clothes--or more particularly, the woman wearing the clothes and the occasion for which she wears them. I also like to see what she is doing, but quite candidly just at present she is pregnant and ill, so better at home.

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    3. I agree it's not kate I watch or what she contributes to the world, just the clothes. She doesn't contribute enough to the charitable/community side of things to make me go wow she's so intelligent and giving to the community at large. She just seems nice, pretty and puts on a good smile. She cares about privacy, her family and looking the part, that's it. Which is great but not what a global figure should represent. She's a great mother and wife though.

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    4. I am sorry, I must have worded things so that I was not clear. I was commenting more on the Palace wording of the statement using the word desperately v disappointment, not that Kate was staying home from Malta due to her own choice. I stated my concern for her current medical situation, which anyone with a medical or nursing background knows is serious. While I don't think anyone should diagnosis someone based on media accounts, I really think with her medical history, she should not be travelling alone (i.e. no family members) especially, this distance.

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  2. Hi Jane,

    Thanks for a great post on London Fashion Week. I find it interesting how designers show some pretty unusual designs at their shows but then are able to turn them into wearable creations. I wonder if Christopher Kane was a magpie in a previous life due to his fascination with all things shiny. :) I was surprised by the McQ line, kind of boring to me and what was with the shiny wrap around the model on the left? Also, I don't see Kate wearing those sandals anytime soon. lol I did like the Temperley collection and the pink skirt is adorable and I'm sure would look great on you! I rather liked the Tempereley dress just to the right of the pink skirt, if something was added so that it wasn't see through I think it could be a nice look for Kate. Unfortunately, we probably won't see Kate in any of these creations due to her pregnancy and the clothes she wore last time might not work this time around due to the different seasons.

    After reading Anon's post, I have to add my thoughts on this. When Kate first came on the scene after the engagement I quickly became one of her biggest fan. To me she represented the perfect role model for young women (and the not so young :)). I dreamed about her role in the royal family and all she could accomplish. Fast forward three years later and I have to say my dream has faded. I still enjoy the fashions and hearing about what's going on in the lives of her family but have given up hope that she will use this incredible platform she been handed. Of course, she will do the duties assigned to her and do them well but no more than is required. Like you I follow her fashion choices because frankly that's all there is, I can't remember the last time she visited one of her charities. I say these things not to bash Kate or debate her work ethic but simply to try to make sense of my changing thoughts about her. I guess I was drawn into the royal fairytale, similar to Diana's, but am finding that the reality is quite different.

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    1. Thank you for understanding the point I was trying to make. Jane started her post with a comment that her sister didn't have any interest in the fashion week blogs. This was enough to keep her from reading on those days.

      I was trying to point out that unlike little sis, I am a reader who loves the fashion week info, or any other fashion photos from designers of current classic clothing. I like most of what the Duchess wears, despite being closer to Diana's date of birth, than I am to H.R.H Kate. While there are many royals to follow, Kate wears more high street fashions, which many of us can afford. The high end designers she wears, or photos of designer lines which come out as "possible Kate picks", are fun to see.

      While there are other royals to watch and fashion blogs to read, it is fast and easy to come to one place to see fashion which is close to my taste. It may even be something I can afford on my budget. Princess Diana wore many expensive custom pieces. In the 1980's there was not a wide range of items I liked from her wordrobe. Her style changed quite a bit in the 1990's.

      When the initial point came up as to why readers came to this blog it got me thinking. I followed Diana for her work and less for her style. I follow Kate more for the clothes.




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  3. I come to the site because I just want to learn more about Kate. What she wears is fun and what she gets to do (charity, travel, live all over the UK) is so so fun to read about. She's beautiful, yes, but these little snippets also show her as a fun, likable, interesting person.

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  4. Unfortunately, the top designers world wide seem to have such outrageous, over the top fashions at their runway shows that I find it hard to even believe they are the same designers of the things Kate wears. If McQueen had a stand alone store, or even a section within a large department store like Harrod's, what would we see? If the runway styles were on display in the front window, I wouldn't even enter the store. However, the things Kate wears are stunning.

    As I've said before, I'm not disturbed by the amount of "work" Kate does. Until William is first in line to the throne, I think her devotion to her husband and child should be her priority. I don't think we want to hear that like the Queen, she leaves her children with nannies for two whole years. When Diana was Princess of Wales, Charles was already first in line to the throne so she immediately had more engagements. Just my humble opinion.

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