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New York Fashion Week: Duchess of Cambridge Edition

Friday, September 12, 2014

Today we are going looking at New York Fashion Week...through our Kate-colored glasses, of course. NYFW just wrapped up yesterday, on September 11, and amidst myriad of designers, more than one label that Kate has worn showed a new collection.

Night Falls On Manhattan
by Stephan Rebernik

If all these Fashion Weeks throw you for a loop, let me quickly sketch out for you the happenings. There are four major fashion capital cities that hold twice yearly shows to preview designer collections: spring/summer collections are shown in the fall, autumn/winter present in the spring. This is obviously the fall and the collections are all focused on spring/summer 2015. The capitals of the fashion world are: New York, London, Milan, and, bien sûr, Paris. I am not saying those are the only ones, but...they are the only ones.

by Vincent

For today's post, we are in Manhattan, New York, USA. NYC is the largest city in the United States, home to Wall Street, the Empire State Building, Central Park, St. Patrick's Cathedral, awesome nightlife, and obnoxious cabs... It's fun stuff.

Central Park in fall
by Anh Dinh

To get into the NYC mood, a short playlist of songs that are iconically New York:

Let's roll through the Kate-labels that showed in New York this past week. Keep in mind that none of these are predictions or even possibilities that Kate might wear. It is simply a look at labels that showed which Kate has also worn. Indeed the majority of collections we will go over are designers Kate has not worn that often. The major hitters are still to come, showing this week in London.

M Missoni
We all have recently been refreshed on Kate in M Missoni. The Duchess must really like the coat since she has worn it three times now, pictured here on its first wear at Fortnum & Mason:

The collection this year was feminine and eclectic. I didn't see a lot that jumped out as Duchess worthy, but three pieces did pop. This grey dress is really lovely after the skirt is made less, um, diaphanous. The jacket is super cute and entirely the style that Kate would wear. Finally, the dress on the far right reminded me of a mix of several of Kate's eyelets. It would be really cute after the sleeves were adjusted...  All in all, M Missoni didn't blow me away, but there were some nice pieces.

M Missoni


Kate hasn't worn BCBG in some time, but old timers may remember the blue evening gown she wore to the Boodles Boxing Ball in 2006. Some have confused it as an Issa, but no...

This week, BCBG showed the easy breezy styles that remain a trademark of the label. I think it is unlikely that anything from this showing will attract Kate's eye. Ultimately, her tastes and needs have matured beyond this, but that doesn't mean the rest of us can't take inspiration:

BCBG Max Azria


Kate recently debuted the Australian label during her Down Under Tour 2014 (I am so nostalgic for April right now) and wore the dress again to Wimbledon. While she obviously likes this dress, it remains to be seen if she wears the label more often after the tour, as she did with Roksanda Ilincic, or if it will be a one-hit wonder, as seems to be the case with say, Prabal Gurung.

The label showed the spring 2015 collection on Saturday. Bad. Bad news. Lots of sloppy lace, creations so disorganized they couldn't even qualify as asymmetrical. The brutal truth is: no. Honestly, many of the looks could have been the sartorial results of a 25 year old Miss Havisham, drunk on a Saturday night... For a label that just garnered international acknowledgement, this was disappointing.


Prabal Gurung

This is another tour label--Kate wore the Prabal Gurung in Southeast Asia in 2012. Frankly, it was an edgy look for Kate, who usually sticks to more traditional designs, but as is not unusual for the Duchess, it was perfect for her colorful and beautiful location.

The label showcased more unusual and edgy pieces, although the selection below highlights the sedate. Several of these dresses could morph into something a little more wearable with some adjustment off the runway, while the evening gown made me think of Chanel Spring 2014 going sporty...

Prabal Gurung Spring 2015

Rebecca Taylor

Kate wore Rebecca Taylor in April of 2012 in London, and recycled the very successful suit on her final engagements in New Zealand before waving-off at the airport in the navy two-piece. Kate really loves these textured outfits (think back to M Missoni earlier, and look forward to the Tory Burch).

Rebecca Taylor didn't have a lot of the tweedy pieces as she was showing spring, but I did find her mix of textures, even with lighter material, to be very prominent and intriguing. While none of these work directly off the runway, I liked very much the interplay. It was creative without being ridiculous.

Diane Von Fürstenberg

Kate has worn DVF so many times, both coats and dresses, and with good reason. She is always fabulous; I love this fantastic designer. Her beautiful bold prints and flattering silhouettes are the epitome of feminine luxury.

This year, there was a lot of gingham in her collection, nor was DVF the only designer to use the checkered print, but quietly I hope that's a trend that silently disappears. It isn't that I don't like the occasional bit of gingham, (hello Kate at the winery) but I don't exactly "cotton" to it in large doses. :)  In any case, as usual, DVF knows her shapes. This coat is super cute for early, chilly spring, the dress is closer to classic DVF, and I loved the tailored jacket on the far right. All Kate worthy creations.

Lela Rose

We were all surprised that Kate chose to close the Australian tour with an American label. But, that is just what our princess did in that white cocktail dress by Lela Rose. It was a success with fans and with William, apparently--the honeymoon just doesn't seem to end... Anyway, as a result, the label's show was under increased scrutiny as the collection took to the runway at NYFW.

The presentation was overarchingly feminine, and mixed retro and the unexpected very well. I found it creative while maintaining classic beauty. There is no way to predict if Kate will wear Lela Rose again, but I think it is relatively likely that she will. 

Tory Burch

Another American label that made its debut on Kate while Down Under.  Pippa, as we have discussed in previous posts, has worn Tory Burch in the past, and perhaps she got Kate hooked. The textures and fringe obviously appeal to Kate's inner bohemian. Her dress at the Plunket Playdate drew mixed reviews, but I liked it very much. She again wore (paisley) Tory Burch on a private visit to a charity conference this summer, so it does seem to be a label she has embraced, even if relatively quietly. 

There was fringe, and bold patterns, and what is that I see? Is that a Silver Fern? I don't know, but it sure looks like it. There were a lot of elements I liked, but I can't say I was crazy about the collection as a whole. It was a little too Southwest for me at some times, but certainly there were some successful pieces and plenty of possibility for off the runway designs.

Jenny Packham

Kate has worn Jenny Packham so many times it is hard to choose just once to highlight, but for reasons that will be quickly apparent, I choose the black from Down Under. Obviously, this is one of Kate's absolute favorite designers and these are actually looks that could conceivably be chosen by the Duchess, so let's give this show a little more attention.

Jenny must have really been inspired by the silver fern she put on Kate's New Zealand dress, because my gosh, ferns were everywhere. While I liked that detailing very much on Kate's dress, I can't say I loved them covering these dresses. I am thinking...centipedes. Not ideal.

Length seemed to be an element that matched Kate's silver fern dress, as well. The cocktail length we saw in New Zealand was echoed many times in the main presentation, in stark contrast to 2014 when the dresses were either above the knee or floor length. 

I didn't love this collection as much as I have loved Jenny P presentations in the past, but there were some highlights that did get me quite excited. Starting from the left. Remember the sparkling JP that Kate wore to the Tusk Trust Gala? Not my favorite, but if she is going to do head to toe shimmer again, she needs to go for this dress. It's the more sophisticated older sister of the Tusk dress. The Tusk Dress 2.0. I love the collar and appliquéd skirt on the blue and white evening dress. Mixing the structured looking collar with the feminine and flowing skirt is very Carolina Herrera--tough to go wrong there. Fantastic. (Ok, yes, wear this with more underneath...obviously.) Second from the right is the sexier New Zealand Fern dress. Kate could pull this off, and I bet she would get more oogly eyes from William, too.  

Michael Kors 

There were surprises on Down Under 2014, heaven knows. But, certainly the most jaw-dropping moment was when it was discovered that the coat none of us could ID was in fact, American Michael Kors. Wow. I am still shaking my head. Gorgeous coat, but a totally out of left field choice from the Duchess.  That's what keeps things fun.

The designer showed the classic American fare. Certainly traditional preppy spring looks, most of which weren't fitting what Kate might wear, but the dress below could really be gorgeous on her. 

Michael Kors
Ralph Lauren

While Kate wore Lela Rose and Michael Kors on tour, the American designer she is faithful to is Ralph Lauren. Kate wore RL before her marriage and continues to wear him as a Duchess. The classic look of the label fits directly into her style profile.

As a fairly permanent fixture in Kate's closet, Ralph Lauren has a place and it isn't evening wear, so while I love the white below I do not advocate Kate wear it, although the dress on the left could be something very interesting on another color. Kate should wear the ensemble on the right on her first official visit to Africa! 

From the princess perspective, that wraps up New York Fashion Week. From a purely fashionista perspective, don't miss out on Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta, and ZAC by Zac Posen. Zac Posen really showed up ready to play ball. He really presented some striking pieces. Well, Fashion Week has already shifted across the pond and is underway in London Town. This is where we will see the staples in Kate's closet show, so get very excited. I will have a wrap up, but don't miss out on the action as it takes place


  1. That was quite the saucy look William was giving Kate in the Lela Rose. Methinks they had some private shenanigans time before that event.

    1. Haha, I would not be able to speak to that, but he certainly is pretty prone to the "I like her" eyes. :)

  2. That's a great little playlist! Hope we get one for each fashion week. I find a lot of designer collections to be a little wacky, but I loved all the choices you made. Thanks, Jane!

    1. Thank you! I will do my best to pull together some better musical inspiration for the next few. :)
      Glad you enjoyed the post!

  3. The Lela Rose and the second set of Jenny Packham you showed are my favorites. The simple silver fern on Kate's dress was very elegant and one of my favorites of the tour but JP seems to have taken a good thing and run way too far with it. I think the Ralph Lauren collection you chose are all terrific with modifications. The white evening dress needs to ditch those pockets and you are definitely right about the color of the other one. I can definitely see her wearing the jacket from the Tory Burch ensemble on the left but, just my opinion here, I think she chose the Tory Burch on the tour because of the resemblance to Aboriginal art. I wonder if it's a label she would rely on. Can't wait to see what comes out of the London fashion week!

    1. Lela Rose really did very well! I thought a lot of her pieces were lovely.
      I agree that she very well may have chosen the dress because of its resemblance to Aboriginal art, but I think it also fit very snugly into a certain style we have seen her gravitate toward. I wouldn't be shocked if she wore more Tory Burch--not as a staple--but occasionally. Particularly because Pippa wears Tory Burch, I think that increases the likelihood that Kate will wear her again.
      Very excited for LFW, too. So far things are looking great!

  4. I am not American, British, Italian or French so my view is untainted by patriotism; best of this bunch, by a country mile, are the American designers--I am still staggered by the cream Lela Rose Kate wore in Oz and I hope she continues to favour this brand. DVF, Ralph Lauren, and Michael Kors are also great, and generally look great on Kate. I have never been a big fan of British fashion; as far as I am concerned, they inhabit the bottom rung on the high fashion ladder. JC

    1. Well, I love the American labels she wears, too. Still, I think the Brits have some pretty solid labels with Amanda Wakeley, Jenny Packham, Emilia Wickstead, and even Sarah Burton. I mean a lot of what Kate wears is British and it is pretty fabulous. Kate has done a wonderful job raising the profiles of all these designers. I think Kate has done a wonderful job of making british fashion a better and better place. There is a lot to be proud of there.

  5. Oh my goodness, so many wonderful choices for Kate!! Unfortunately I don't think she'll be able to fit into many of these fashions for some time:) However, if she would like to purchase any of these lovely gowns I would be more than happy to volunteer to wear them for her, you know just to make sure they wear well. lol

    Thanks for the great post Jane!!

    1. Hi Lauri, I agree, she won't be fitting into any of this in spring 2015. Hopefully in spring 2015 we are all looking at darling clothes for tiny baby girls!! :)

  6. Great jane! Fashion weeks are a great excuse to look at some lovely pics of the duchess. I was all giggles about your honeymoon remark :). They are so incredibly cute together! This kind of posts will get us through the dry spell that lies ahead till at least december i reckon.

    1. They are amazing! The envy of couples everywhere. :)
      Super glad you enjoyed the post. :) Hopefully we will see Kate later in the fall...

    2. Really enjoyed it indeed :) Took a second and better look at the items you selected (great job done btw) and I must say the Lela Rose dresses really took my breath away! Never heard of the designer till kate showed up in that amazing white dress. What an ambassador she is

  7. Jane, you gave us so many beautiful looks from NY fashion week. I really love so many of the soft watercolor florals shown for S/S 2015. Kate would look wonderful in many of the spring looks, perhaps made especially for her, since she will be in the last stage of her pregnancy.
    Maybe, it is just me, but when you showed the photo of Kate in the blue BCBG gown from 2006, it makes me miss the old Kate. I thought she had many years with great style.

    1. Kate is amazing in thats he can pull off so many different shades. I wonder if we will see Kate wear an evening dress while pregnant. That would be a first...
      I miss 25 year old Kate. :) People change organically and you almost don' notice, but looking back at those photos you do realize how time has slipped by. C'est la vie. I love her style now, too. But, those were good days for sure.

    2. I wasn't the biggest fan of Pre engagement Kate style. Early Kate watchers remember those flat black suede boots she wore with everything. They even crept up in some events during the engagement


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