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Is Kate A Princess? Should Kate Be Called Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge?

Monday, September 29, 2014

A while ago I asked what people called Kate casually. I was specifically wondering if there was a divide based on nationality. Did the Europeans tend to call her Duchess Kate, while Americans gravitated toward Princess Kate, etc? Ultimately, I don't think there was a really solid conclusion, or perhaps more precisely, there seems to be no particular correlation between nationality and preferred title. Plenty of Americans call her Duchess Kate, while Princess is also used widely throughout Western and Eastern Europe and the world.



That question was to determine how you refer to Kate in daily conversation, not how she is titled were you to stick to the rules. Now, looking at the situation as it is, rather than as we make it...What are Kate’s titles, is she a princess? Is she a duchess? How is she named? It seems confusing and heaven knows there has been disagreement, but it should be quite simple. To know what Kate’s titles are, to know if she is or is not a duchess or a princess, or what have you, we have only to look at William for the answer. Was Kate born royal? No. But, she is a royal now. She married William and she derives every single royal element from that union. Kate walked into the Abbey as Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, but she was transformed at the altar. If William holds a title, he shares it with his wife. Every one of them, as his oath plainly states:
With this ring, I thee wed; with my body, I thee honor; and all my worldly goods, with thee I share.


Brief interlude, this always makes me think of the Scarlet Pimpernel. The two most perfect weddings in movie history are Maria von Trapp's in the Sound of Music, an almost royal wedding in itself, and the ethereal ceremony in the Scarlet Pimpernel. That's awesome, too. Woah, this is getting pretty girlie. Let's move one... :)

Is Kate a princess?
Yes, Kate is a princess. No one denies William is a prince now that he holds a peerage that precedes the princely title. (amended) Her spouse William is a Prince of the United Kingdom and as his wife, she holds all his corresponding titles, so she is a Princess of the United Kingdom, just as we say Princess Michael of Kent, even though her Christian name is Marie-Christine. Furthermore, when William filled out George’s birth certificate he designated Kate as a “Princess of the UK.” I am not going to gainsay the expert. He is a prince, so she is a princess. Plain and simple.



N.B. She is Princess William of the United Kingdom. She is not Princess Kate in her own right, and that is where confusion seems to take hold. Only women born royal are princesses in their own right, i.e Princess (insert Christian name). So, the Princess Royal is truly Princess Anne—she did not receive the title from a spouse. Eugenie and Beatrice are the same, they are princesses all by themselves. But, Kate is Princess William because she is royal by marriage, not by birth.


Similarly, Kate is a countess. William's Scottish title is Count of Strathearn and so as his wife, Kate is the Countess of Strathearn.

The Countess of Strathearn at the Order of the Thistle in Scotland Carrying Her Strathearn Tartan
July 5, 2012

Lastly, she also shares William's Irish title and so is the Lady Carrickfergus. Below, we see her in Ireland shortly before her marriage. 

William and Kate in Ireland before their marriage

You see the pattern. Kate married William and she shares his titles. Duchess, Princess...someday Queen. 

Is it proper to call Kate Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge? 
No.  That is actually the pattern you would use for a divorced woman.  For example, when Diana and Charles were married, Diana was The Princess of Wales. When they divorced, her HRH was taken from her, as was her title The Princess of Wales, because she no longer was married to the Prince of Wales, but she was allowed to retain the style as a part of her name, so she was: Diana, Princess of Wales.  Had she remarried, she would have lost Princess of Wales after her name. It functioned like a last name. This is why Sarah Ferguson is still called Sarah, Duchess of York, but she is not The Duchess of York. Kate should never be Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, but she will be HRH the Duchess of Cambridge until she (and William) ascends to a title that takes precedence over her husband's dukedom.



Which brings us to... What Will Kate's Next Title Be?
I very much hope that it will be Princess of Wales, and I fully expect it to be. When the unhappy, but inevitable day arrives, and Her Majesty passes away, Charles will be the King of England and the position of the Prince of Wales will be empty. The Prince of Wales is always the heir to the throne, but it is not an automatically inherited title. You may be the heir, but not have been granted the title The Prince of Wales. I find it nearly inconceivable that Charles will not invest William as the Prince of Wales. He is quite old-school and it is important to maintain these traditions within the monarchy. When William is made Prince of Wales, Kate will become The Princess of Wales. This will be quite exciting as we have not had a Princess of Wales, titled as such, since the very beloved Diana. 


Again, important to note that Camilla is currently The Princess of Wales. She has the right to that title, and could be styled as such if she chose. When she married Charles it was decided she would be styled by one of Charles' secondary titles to avoid public backlash. Princess of Wales was so closely associated with Diana, and their history being what it was, she chose to forego the iconic title to keep the peace. Certainly, a very wise move.

There is one title that plays by its own rules and that will be the highest title Kate will receive. When William is crowned King at Westminster Abbey, Kate will be anointed and crowned Queen. She will not be Queen William, she will be very properly Queen Catherine. 



What Does Kate Use As a Last Name?
Asking then what the royals do more casually gets just a bit more complicated. While there is an official family last name, they often use their titles as we use last names. So, you will notice that both William and Harry would use “Wales” on military fatigues since their father is the Prince of Wales and they are Princes William and Harry of Wales. We call Beatrice and Eugenie the York girls, etc, etc.


There are two stories about Kate and her last name.  The first is that at the wedding reception (the final, smallest, most exclusive evening reception at Buckinghan Palace) William introduced Kate as Mrs. Wales. Certainly a sweet story, although difficult to confirm. Given he had been Wales all his life and had just that day been shifted to Cambridge, I do not think it unlikely that he still thought of Kate as the new Mrs. Wales, rather than Cambridge.


The second is that Kate was shopping near her home and forgot her purse. When she asked the shop keeper to hold the item, he requested a name, and she gave “Mrs. Cambridge.” Again, hard to say. It could very well be true, after all even if on the day of their wedding William called Kate Mrs. Wales, by now it seems likely they have made the switch to Cambridge. George will be George Cambridge, it is their primary title, etc. Again, I wasn't there, I cannot positively confirm. That's the story...go with your gut.




So, in the end, I continue to support the right to call Kate what you choose. She is styled Duchess of Cambridge, but she is as much a princess as she ever can be, and as much a princess as she is a duchess.  

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!

Why Is Kate Such a Star? Diana's Legacy Is A Factor

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

During that happiest of royal watching times--April 2014--the question was raised, "What made Kate so popular?"  I said I would give my two cents, but the summer  ran away with me, so here we are just getting to it now. So...why is she such a popular royal, where does the magic spring from? The next question is obviously, does Kate bring anything unique to this situation, or would any woman have reached this stardom once she was made William's princess? After all, as Shakespeare's Juliet mused... that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet. 



The answer has several layers. The Kate-mania came about through a complicated formula, but let's start with one significant factor: Diana. Kate has undeniably inherited some of her super-star power from her late mother-in-law.

Prince Charles was the heir to the most prominent monarchy in modern times and certainly one of the most prestigious monarchies in history. The last man to stand in his place was his disgraced great-uncle-Edward VIII (the king who abdicated the throne to marry his American divorcée, passing the crown to Elizabeth II's father George VI). When Charles finally settled on a bride and asked Lady Diana Spencer to marry him, excitement for a royal wedding and modern royal romance went through the roof.


Diana's popularity in itself was a bit of a multi-faceted concoction. The really tectonic shifts in media and communication that came about in the late 20th century enabled the world historically unprecedented access to information. This allowed people to feel a much deeper connection with a public figure than was ever possible before. The tense geopolitical situations in the world at the time probably also primed the public for a story that lifted hearts and moods. A prince and princess, a real-life fairytale, fashion, charities, the pomp and the pageantry... Whatever the factors and however they got whisked together, the world fell really, really hard for Diana.

Diana was the perfect subject for this new world of celebrity access, because we truly watched her transform. When Diana came to the public eye she was for all intents and purposes still a child. She was still 19 when the 33 year-old Charles proposed, she married him in July of the same year, having turned 20 the same month,  and she delivered William on the 21st of June...several weeks before her 21st birthday.



Unhappily, while time changed her into a sophisticated and savvy princess, the circumstances that brought it about were anything but those of a fairytale. The public had bonded with her as a young woman marrying a prince and were then heartbroken with her and for her as her isolation became more apparent. The drama fed the media interest and fueled her celebrity.



Impressively, she poured her pain into charity work for others, looking outward rather than only focusing on herself.  Again, the world loved her all the more for it.

Her very premature, dramatic, and tragic death in Paris solidified her star-status. It froze her in a time and a place and in an image. The emotional charge seems almost as strong 17 years after her death as it did when she was alive; it's remarkable. Prime Minister Blair's comments upon her death could have been taken as political rhetoric, but they have proved to be entirely prophetic:
She was a wonderful and warm human being. Though her own life was often sadly touched by tragedy, she touched the lives of so many others in Britain – throughout the world – with joy and with comfort. How many times shall we remember her, in how many different ways, with the sick, the dying, with children, with the needy, when, with just a look or a gesture that spoke so much more than words, she would reveal to all of us the depth of her compassion and her humanity. How difficult things were for her from time to time, surely we can only guess at – but the people everywhere, not just here in Britain but everywhere, they kept faith with Princess Diana, they liked her, they loved her, they regarded her as one of the people. She was the people’s princess and that’s how she will stay, how she will remain in our hearts and in our memories forever.
Diana passed her extraordinary popularity onto her boys. As children walking behind their mother's coffin, they were figures of heartrending pity. The fascination that Diana so deeply inspired has imbued them with a star quality not possessed by any other members of the Royal Family.



Although, William said in the engagement interview that no one was trying to fill Diana's shoes, which is true, it is wrong to try to entirely disassociate Kate from Diana's legacy. Just like the boys inherited the scrutiny, the press interest, and the public adulation, whatever woman ultimately became William's bride was going to be the subject of significant interest...because people are still in love with Diana and her story.  
The next question is obviously, does Kate bring anything unique to this situation, or would any woman have reached this stardom? The very clear answer to me is that Kate does indeed bring a special touch that has helped to make her the sell-out princess that she is and will continue to become.


We have talked about who Kate really is in this post Should the Real Kate Middleton Show Herself and I can only reiterate that Kate has got it right where Diana got it wrong. If you go back to when the public first had the opportunity to follow Kate, the story is not entirely unlike Diana's. The public got to watch Kate find her way through post-college into adulthood,  and for some of us, we were growing up with her.
In those early years, we learned quite a bit about the woman she is. We saw she was polished, she was cheerful and put on a pleasant face for the cameras...Kate understands good PR and knows how to be polite. She seemed impermeable to press slurs, remaining friendly and pleasant.  Yet, consider that in the almost ten years she dated William she never once spoke. (We heard her voice when she kindly answered a question for a camera about a trade conference she was attending several years before her marriage. Other than that, Kate said hello for the first time when she sat with William for their engagement interview.)  She was splashed all over front-pages, we knew all manner of details about her relationship with William, her habits and holidays, her work, and her family, and yet she remained very much a private woman.



She is a private woman who can be both publicly available and personally reserved. Her current modus operandi, if you wish to term it such, is exactly the protocol she lived by when she was just the commoner dating the prince. The only difference is that now we get to see a little more of her, both literally and figuratively. The Kate who kept a pleasant demeanor for the cameras can now smile, wave, and even chat with her fans--enabling us greater access, but not necessarily giving us anymore than we already knew.

Kate knows how to give enough, but not all. Despite the celebrity, she maintains a healthy and robust personal life. Kate has Diana's warmth and she has her compassion and she is able to genuinely convey that she truly cares, but she will never be Diana. She will never bare her soul to the media in interviews or the public forum. She will never fully open her heart and display the vulnerability and the hurt that Diana would so easily convey.

Ultimately, although we loved Diana she failed at being a public princess. We knew her too well, she gave too much of herself to too many people, and she damaged the institution that initially had shone the spotlight on her. While she did her best with the cards she was dealt, no one can look at Diana's life and say, what a happy 36 years. Were there times of joy? Were there blessings for which to be grateful? To be sure, but her marriage, which comprised almost half her life, was desperately unhappy, she was often separated from her children, she was scrutinized in the most intimate of personal choices...it was not an enviable existence. In a strange dichotomy, the most loved public figure in recent history was often isolated and lonely. Diana's life was tragic.

By contrast, Kate's public life is controlled. The long years taught us that Kate is strong. She didn't know how her whole royal romance was going to end, and neither did we. She had to navigate the usual stressful ups and downs of her private life very much in the public eye and it taught her how to protect the private while still being a people's princess. The relationships she has with her husband, her children, her close family and friends are delicately separated from her public life. All family information and media generously takes into account the public's excitement, love and enthusiasm, but always is tempered by a respect for the boundary beyond which Her Grace is just Kate.  

William and Kate wanted to learn from the lessons of the past and they have done that brilliantly. All the years that Kate dated William she was often mocked in the press: Waity Katie, the girl who wouldn't get a job. She was called lazy and a social climber. In response, she smiled, she went about her life, she dated her prince, and she focused on her family. Her calm, her strength, and her resolve were all the virtues that she also needs now to weather the withering media attention she will receive for the remainder of her life.

Kate will always keep the delicate balance of public persona and personal life in precise order, which means we will never see into her soul as deeply as we did Diana's, we won't get as many photo ops, we won't see her as often, but it also means that when we do we will see a woman who loves because she is loved, we will see a human heart that radiates confidence and calm, because she is stable and secure.  

This also contributes to her star power. We were fascinated by Diana and we are fascinated by Kate, but she presents a picture to which people aspire. The public may have loved Diana and been spellbound by her story, but no one looked at Diana and wanted to live her life.

Kate is a beautiful, emotionally healthy woman in a world of dysfunctional celebrities, and that stability that she brings, that simple and normal background--from her own happy family, to the new little royal family she is building with William--is her own "particular brand of magic" drawing the masses. She is a personality that inspires emulation.



I cheated when I quoted from Shakespeare at the beginning of this post, because I took it out of context. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet... But Juliet's musings about the accidental (non-essential) nature of Romeo's name are explaining that what she loved in Romeo lay in something more fundamental to him as a person than a name.  
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes 
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name;
And for that name, which is no part of thee,
Take all myself.

Just so, William could have fallen in love with and married Kate had she been Kate Bucklebury or Melissa Jones, but not just any girl could have stepped into Kate's position and made of it what Kate has. As is the case with each human soul, Kate is unique and she has brought a special touch to William, to the monarchy, and to the world.


I welcome your theories. You know, people have varying reasons for why they follow Kate, and some stories are quite personal. It's interesting that her story has found an echo in so many other lives around the world.


N.B. on comments: This is a post primarily discussing why Kate is the global figure she has become, and the differences between her personality and Diana's. It is not a post on her work load. We have discussed her work load many times in the past and this post is not the forum for that discussion now. Comments that address that topic will not be posted


William: We Agreed the Heat Would Be Too Much For Her

Sunday, September 21, 2014

This afternoon, Prince William wrapped up what was a very successful two-day trip to Malta. When Kate was forced to pull-out, everyone expected William to go in her stead, and indeed there is no other royal with the requisite star power to stand in for the duchess. 



As many probably remember, (personally or from the study of history) Diana far eclipsed Charles in popularity, which while not the cause of their marriage's disintegration, certainly did not help matters. Kate is clearly massively popular and seems to draw a very dedicated fan base, (hey, all y'all) at the same time, though, William remains such a popular royal. It is a mistake to apply the Wales dynamic to the Cambridges. They are a far more balanced couple and this trip is proof of that reality. Everyone was disappointed that Kate didn't come, but everyone was also so very excited to see her handsome prince.



Royal watchers were interested, although certainly not surprised, to see that Rebecca Deacon was in Malta with William. As the decision was put off to the very last minute, the entire tour had been planned for Kate and obviously Ms. Deacon was entirely informed on every detail. It only highlighted the last minute nature of the change, but also how flawlessly the royal household was able to accommodate the change. The plans were not altered by a Duke rather than his Duchess flying to Malta, and of course, thanks Rebecca worked closely with William before his engagement to Kate, so it was old-home week all around. 



It was a weekend with a debut, as well: William attended his first public Mass this morning in Valletta at St. John's Co-Cathedral. The Cathedral is widely considered one of the finest examples of baroque architecture in Europe and houses a stunning Caravaggio. Aides remarked that although William may have been to a private requiem, it was his first public Catholic ceremony.



There has been a certain ennui with William's wardrobe, so excitement was high when he debuted his Frenchman pants earlier this year. Women being the fickle creatures that we are (that's a blessing, by the way) need more variety in fashion, but it seems that men do not. Day 2 saw the Frenchman pants return with a vengeance. Someone needs to tell him these come in a variety of colors...In any case, these really could be just a tad more fitted, and a little darker. Right now it requires a double take to ascertain that they are indeed his Frenchboy pants and not just a pair of faded jeans. Kate, this is your department.

I still very firmly believe that the long hesitation in announcing Kate's decision on Malta speaks to her continuing recovery. William is always the thoughtful gentleman and the disappointment that was inevitable after the Duchess's withdrawal was often the subject of his remarks. He told fans on a Saturday walkabout that Kate was "feeling so-so" and that it was up and down at the moment, and at a garden party today he said that he had spoken to her on the phone this morning and that she was feeling "a little bit better." People reported William's remark:
He was very happy to be here. William told me that Catherine was sad to have missed the trip, but we both agreed that the hot weather would have been too much for her. I asked how she was doing and he said he spoke to her this morning and she was feeling a little better.
So, I think that we can very safely assume that she will be feeling markedly better in the relatively near future and we may even see her add an engagement to the calendar before long. I suspect she could be back on the job by mid-October. 



William gave fans a quick update on George as well, saying that the baby prince was "very busy" and that "they are very hectic at that age." I can just imagine what a rambunctious tot he must be, as every sighting of him as indicated quite an independent spirit. I am sure he is darling.

Valletta, Malta



William read a statement from the Queen, who has many happy memories of Malta. Between 1949 and 1951 then Princess Elizabeth lived intermittently in Malta with Prince Philip who was serving in the Royal Navy at the time. Prince Charles and Princess Anne remained in Britain. William said he had just been asking her about her time in Malta last week...possibly while he visited her in Scotland as they anxiously awaited Scotland's vote for independence or unity. This trip to Malta was, after all, commemorating Malta's break from the UK. William read a message from the Queen:
We have such fond memories of your country at different stages of our lives," it read. "First as a young married couple when we lived in Malta, and then again when we returned at the time of our 60th wedding anniversary in 2007. Prince Philip and I are grateful to the people of Malta for always making us, and our family, feel so welcome."


It is a shame that Kate was unable to come, since the beautiful, warm island would have been right up her alley. Hopefully, we will get a chance to see her visit in the future. In any event,w e know what Kate is doing right this second. She is curled up on her couch--hopefully George is in bed--she has some tea and something to settle her stomach and she is watching the season premiere of Downton Abbey! Oh September, you truly are the most wonderful time of the year.




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.