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Kate Recycles Popular Orla Kiely Daisy Dress for Chance UK

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Yesterday, Kate was at the Islington Town Hall for an event hosted by Chance UK, a charity that runs early intervention programs targeted at primary-schoolers at risk of developing antisocial or criminal behavior. It is a charity that fits into the broader umbrella of "youth wellness," a cause on which Kate, William, and Harry are very focused. As you already know, in addition to her charity work, the Duchess had a surprise for fashion fans:


Kate dug way back (can we really already be saying that?) into the royal archives to pull this charming dress she first debuted in early 2012. When I peruse Kate's past ensembles in my mind, and wonder what I would like to see recycled, I have paused on this dress more than once. It is by Irish designer Orla Kiely and Kate first wore it on an engagement at the Dulwich Picture Gallery with Charles and Camilla.



Kate has only worn Orla Kiely a few times. There are a number labels whichever received similar and  limited exposure, but for the most part they don't stick in my mind as strongly. Orla Kiely, however always has been a name that bubbles up in my head when I think about designers connected with the princess. I think she is a spectacular designer and I love her very simple, but whimsical, interesting, and feminine designs. The Duchess has worn two of the label's dresses, this "Grey Daisy" dress and the "Birdie Wool Jacquard" dress, which she has recycled already. She has worn another piece not as quickly spotted, but I will leave that for you to guess about in the comments. :) 



I think that first year of Kate's marriage, while we were still all on the wedding high and sort of getting to know her public persona, was a very special time, and there is no doubt in my mind that it was a golden era of fashion for her. To everything, there is a season (great John Rutter piece, by the way, one my favorites) and the verse is applicable to fashion. Kate is in a different--and very good--phase today, but that first year or so was a style-period of its own. Kate was really showcasing a youthful look. She was transitioning from Miss Middleton to a senior royal and she really merged those two to perfection. This dress was a factor:



So, this was a very exciting recycle for me. I very frankly wasn't sure we'd ever see it again, and I think it is a beautiful dress. I know there are a lot of you out there who are just as excited as I! 



What do we always ask from a recycle? Variety. The best way for Kate to switch up her look is to change her hairstyle (usually this calls for a ponytail) and sometimes to add jewelry. For this recycle, she put her hair up, which I applaud, but let the dress speak for itself and added no jewelry. Again, smart move. Her voluminous hair obscured some of the daisy detailing on the first wear, and it was nice to see the dress unencumbered. 


The event itself was a big success, and as usual, Kate showed up entirely prepped. There was an article in the Standard that described Kate's very pro-active involvement in ChanceUK: 
Chance UK trustee Ruth Puttick said Kate was "lovely - very friendly and smily".
"She knew her stuff," she added. "She was very warm and engaging. She was interested in the children that we serve and the impact it has on their lives. She was interested in how we recruit the mentors, and was impressed with the commitment they make over the course of a year supporting the young people, and interested in the day-to-day work itself."
Here Kate congratulates a 2005 graduate of the program now studying at Goldsmiths (University of London). 

@DavidBurrowesmp

Kate paired the dress with black suede accessories: her Stuart Weitzman "Power" pumps, the Mulberry "Bayswater," and she wore her Annoushka Baroque Pearl drops and her Cartier watch. 


The verdict, as you can imagine, is a good one. Kate's hair looked sleek and cute pulled into a pony, and it was so fun to see this darling dress in more detail. I loved the throw-back to 2012, and can't help but notice how great she looks in this dress...less than 6 months after Charlotte's birth!  Anytime there is a recycle, it is hard not to have a favorite. A number of Kate's recycles have scored bigger points in my book than their respective debuts. For this dress, though, I still love the first wear.  This is not because there is anything lacking in this second wear, but because that first time was so, so hard to beat. The below photo from that March morning remains an all time favorite of the glowing Duchess:


As I say, though, nothing was lacking in Islington and it was a strong sartorial win for HRH. Certainly, it was a special day for the children Kate met! The final comment in that article I quoted earlier made me smile. The trustee remarked: 
"It's not every day you meet Kate Middleton."
It sure isn't.  :)  See you on the next post where I will finally weigh in on the 100 Women in Hedge Funds dress!

30 comments:

  1. She looks gorgeous from head to toe in this outfit. I love it! N. Lopez

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  2. I love this dress and think it's one of her best repeats! The dress is too special to not have a second wear but it was fun that it took long enough that it was almost a forgotten piece. The hair and pearls are perfect with it and she really allowed the details on the dress to shine. Can't wait to see what you say about the Erdem!

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    1. Yes, Robin, it was a nice surprise: ) I didn't expect to see this dress again.

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  3. Yay! I have been checking in because I've been so excited to hear what you have to say about the 100W dress :). I know you're super busy with school now and I was sliiiiiightly worried that you may get too busy for us. But glad to see you're still able to take some time to fill us in on your thoughts.

    I LOVED this recycle and think she looked even more polished and professional than the first wear. I think her hair looked awesome with the perky pony and the jewelry and makeup were spot on.

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  4. That is a lovely comment by Ruth Puttick. And the look on the graduate's face suggests he had to pinch himself once or twice during the day! :)

    Kate looks increasingly comfortable in her role and it's nice to see her enjoying the lighter moments during engagements.

    I like this dress very much, and even more so with this hairstyle. Perfect combination of professional and feminine. The Birdie Wool Jacquard...not a favorite, to be honest. I'm also not a fan of the way ankle boots cut (shorten) a woman's legs and hide nice ankles. (A pet peeve...forgive me for sharing. :)

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    1. I agree with you, royalfan, on the Birdie dress and the ankle boots. I love ankle boots with pants or jeans but not with dresses. And, I think I would have enjoyed the Birdie dress a little more if it weren't brown. I just don't care for brown unless it's a deep chocolate brown paired with something like pink or aqua. Even then, the belt on that dress is in an odd place for me.

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    2. Robin, I am with you 100% on chocolate brown, and her 2015 St Patrick's Day outfit is on my favorites list.

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  5. I wish she would recycle more of her clothes from 2011 and 2012...I hate to say it but every since she's become a mother her style has way more misses than hits for me
    The past two evening dresses have been a huge disappointment and someone with her means she never have a hard time finding good clothes to wear
    She looked so sloppy last night compared to everyone else at the dinner. And I don't understand why the skirt was the way it was
    She needs her old hairdresser back and a stylist or to fire the person who has been styling her
    I know she has a good sense of style and we saw it during the first two years of marriage and she really needs to go back to that
    I don't get spending thousands of dollars on dresses that aren't pretty
    Sarah usa

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    1. Sarah, look at the bright side... How many gals out there would kill to pull off Kate's "misses"?

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  6. I find your comment about Kate's good body after baby a littl disturbing because this week she has looked so unhealthy its been scary

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    1. I don't take what Jane said as disturbing. However I think Kate is an unrealistic goal/example for women 6mos post-party's, let alone 6mos post-partum with 2 kids. However, some women are so busy with kids they lose weight. All I know is it's a bit alarming; she looks great but she's an anomaly like GiseleB or HeidiK.

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    2. I'm not sure where the "unhealthy" part enters into the equation. It's not like she lost 50 pounds since William put a ring on her finger. IMO, Kate looks as healthy here as she did the first time she wore this dress.

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    3. The James Bond premire dress really was the one that pointed out to me how thin she has become
      And it's scary that no one else thinks she looks unhealthy

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    4. I don't think she looks unhealthy at all. She has been blessed with the good fortune to have one of those figures sometimes called "willowy" and clothes look fabulous on her. It's in her genes! Look how fabulous Carole looks and she had three babies and is now "of a certain age." Pippa would be as thin as Kate except she exercises so much she's become very muscular. The other thing that helps Kate get her figure back so quickly is nursing. I lost all my baby weight plus some I wasn't even trying to lose within three months of giving birth. If someone has lost too much weight as to be unhealthy you can tell by looking at their collar bone, elbows, and knees. Kate's are all healthy looking. When Diana was bulimic, it was very obvious and, in turn, very obvious when she was healthy again.

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  7. I was excited to see a recycle of this dress as well as it is a favorite of mine. I agree with you, Jane, about 2012 being the pinnacle of fashion for Kate and I think there have been few events since Dulwich where she has looked as lovely.

    That said, I liked this rewear a lot and especially appreciated that we could see the embellished neckline this time. The back of the dress is very pretty also.

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  8. Btw, the last Kiely piece is the pleated blue skirt she wore with the MaxMara moto jacket. Loved that outfit although most were scandalized by the skirt blowing up in the wind. I thought her legs looked great! Would not mind if she recycled that one again either.

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    1. I was racking my brain for the other Orla Kiely piece but you're faster!

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  9. I loved this dress the first time, and I love it this time. It's just a fun dress, and I'm so glad she brought it out again.

    Can't wait to read your take on last night's dress!

    -D-

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  10. I was stoked at this recycle as it does show how much she has grown! She first wore it when she was frequently joining senior royals at events to learn the ropes and be supported. Then she rewears it as a mother of 2 on a solo engagement. Smart PR on her behalf! I also just love it and would wear it myself.

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  11. I have come to my decision. I LOVE her bangs/fringe with an updo. I DISLIKE her bangs/fringe with her hair down. Not a criticism, I was just able to finally put my finger on it. :-)

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  13. This has always been one of my favorite dresses. She looked wonderful, healthy and happy. I find most people who find her too thin are simply envious that they are not. It might be a good thing if more people looked this "unhealthy",

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  14. That she can still look amazing in a dress that she originally wore prior to 2 children... Good for her!

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  15. I liked this dress the first time and was so glad to see it again. I think it's a great example to wear dresses more than once.

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  16. Wohooo finally!
    This has been my absolute favorite dress and I was hoping to see it again. I love everything about it and I would absolutely wear it myself if I could get my hands on it.
    I was so over the moon when I saw the first pictures! Ah, the small things in life..! :D
    This has been also been the part where I excuse her other fashion faux-pas, these last couple of outfits weren't really working for me, especially the evening gown was a disappointment.
    So happy though!
    Alice

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  17. Carmen, The NetherlandsOctober 29, 2015 at 4:28 AM

    I'm very glad to see her wear this dress again! It looks great on her an I also like her hair this way. So sassy but also chic! Great look!

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  18. FINALLY!! This is one of my absolute favorite Kate dresses of all time - I am thrilled with the recycle!! That photo of Kate wearing the O.K. dress the first time around is also one of my top favorite photos ever taken of Kate. I was so glad she wore her hair up so we could feast our eyes on the detailing at the neckline.

    You referred to a Golden Era of Fashion for Kate........sometimes I get bummed and think that nothing will ever be as good as coming off the wedding + first international tour + introduction to patronages/charities + the Golden Era of Fashion + the London Olympics + the Jubilee pageantry etc. I know Kate wouldn't go back for anything (not with her 2 precious nuggets) but it's still very bittersweet to realize that that was a perfect alignment of the stars for all of those AMAZING and once-in-a-lifetime events to occur so closely together. So while this dress has always been a firm favorite of mine I really love the special memories it brings with it.

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  19. https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/16/7d/88/167d88afabe75dfabbe6a87c5fd7a92d.jpg
    third piece possibly?

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  20. Sonja from BavariaOctober 31, 2015 at 7:18 AM

    I absolutely love this dress, it's one of my favourites she has ever worn! I already loved it in 2012, and it's nice that she changed the look a bit with a ponytail.

    This dress is so lovely, the pkeated skirt and the cute embroidered flowers. The Orla Kiely coat is also so beautiful. I really wish she would wear clothes by this designer more often :)

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