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Kate Shakes Up Her Sartorial Line-Up In Erdem at the V&A

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

When I was little some family member either lived or travelled to Hawaii and brought me back a muumuu. I loved my muumuu, it was in a bright, red floral print and featured long, ruffled tiers. I felt like a princess in it. When Kate stepped out for her 100 Women in Hedge Funds gala last night,  I discovered that my muumuu my muumuu grew up...and Kate is wearing it. Before we descend into fashion-debate chaos, let's get some fast facts in:



Last night, Kate was out and about in her capacity as royal patron of 100 Women in Hedge Funds. The evening was benefitting another one her charities, The Art Room, a name with which we are all very familiar because Kate gives it so much time and attention.  The gala was held at the Victoria and Albert--a stunning museum on the Brompton Road in Knightsbridge.  


Indulge me in a brief granny-tangent as I tell you how much I love this road and this area. The V&A is right by the Brompton Oratory, a Grade II Roman Catholic Church in the Neo-Classical style. I remember a girl from my hometown married a British aristocrat and they were wed at this church. The ceremony was featured our local society magazine and I was so excited to come across the pictures and find, as one of the groomsmen, Prince Harry! 



The Oratory has a number of prestigious choirs, but their boys' choir is especially noted. They perform with the Royal Ballet and were featured on several of the Harry Potter soundtracks. Just down the street from the church and museum is Patisserie Valerie. My mom, sister, and I stopped here one afternoon in London, and I still dream about those marzipan covered cakes. If you are in London, take a stroll down this street, savor the sweets, browse the antiques, and pop into the V&A!


Last night, Kate was pictured in the Norfolk House Music Room, a stunning gallery at the V&A where the interior of a room from the Norfolk's London home has been reconstituted. I love this stuff. I love the French inspiration and ornate surroundings. 


According to the V&A:
Norfolk House was located on the west side of St James's Square and was the London residence of the Dukes of Norfolk from 1722 until it was demolished in 1938. Its music room was one of the earliest examples of a room in a grand house specifically set aside for music. After 1938, the cream of the contents of Norfolk House was removed to Arundel Castle, Sussex, but the panelling from the Music Room and the doorways from the Great Room, decorated with carved monkeys, were acquired by the V&A.
The 100 Women in Hedge Funds gala is always a glitzy affair and I was thrilled that Kate was this year's guest of honor. Let's transition to the fashion:



Kate shook things up by choosing a favorite label, but one she has never worn for black-tie event. She tapped Erdem, picking the "Alouette" dress from the current collection. The dress is made of silk-gazar and features a 1960s Japanese print. In theory, this is a fine dress. I love the deep pleats and you almost don't notice that ruffle in this photo:


There is theory and then there is reality. I am torn on this dress, but some things are incontrovertible. I would dislike this ruffle in the best of times. This isn't 1980 and Kate isn't 75 and snacking in her living room. Coupled with a very, very busy print, it is overwhelming. It needs to go. Also note that in the product shot, the transition from the skirt to the ruffle looks almost seamless, but in almost every photo of Kate, the that transition is far from smooth. It flares out in a distinct manner. In this shot--as Kate gives that final toss to her hair before the photo--you can see the ruffle really...sticks out like bubble skirt.  


Not to overly critique this, but I also felt that the dress was short-waisted on Kate. She has such a long, lithe body and it can be really hard to make that work with off-the-rack pieces. I usually am not a stickler about this in daywear, but this dress is so structured, it stuck out a little more. 


So, those were the elements that were really throwing me. This was not, however, all bad. The love the structure, I love the bright colors, I love how different it is! I really love that she threw a new label at us--no offense McQueen and Jenny P. No one would have called this, and I relish that unexpectedness. I am thrilled Kate is shaking it up. (Below is some video of her arrival. Ignore the factual discrepancies from the narrator)



Good or bad, I was stoked to see Kate wearing an Erdem. Design aside, I love getting broader samplings of these designers. Seeing a new piece, or even better, as was the case here, a different category of dress, is always exciting. I am sure some of you quickly thought of the "Sophia" from Kate's visit to Willows Primary School while pregnant with George. Are they the same? No. Are they family?...for sure, and it is interesting to make the connections.


I have a final thought on this, but I am going to save it for a larger point I am going to make in a post next week. Stay tuned... :) Not to be a tease or anything. In the meantime, let's talk about those earrings! According to the knowledgable blogger over at The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendour, and her companion blog Her Majesty's Jewel Vault, these earrings belonged to the Queen Mother and feature "sapphires surrounded by diamonds with a fringe of diamonds and small sapphires suspended below." She notes that there history is unknown. 


This seems to support the hypothesis that Kate's choice of jewelry is an indication that she is modeling her royal career on that of the Queen Mother's. Whether that is true or not, sapphires are always a win with me. I am a September baby, and of course, they are closely associated with Diana and now with Kate. I thought Kate wore them very well. 



The verdict. It's a hung jury. I guess on a purely objective basis, this was not a win. Don't tell anyone, but I was with a professor when I surreptitiously checked my phone and I barely stifled my choked cry when I saw the dress. So...that's not a good sign. On the other hand, I do love how completely different it is. It peps me up and excites me for her next event. I will say this: no woman on earth could have pulled this dress off better than Kate. And that, as they say in old movies, is the Bible truth.


This is the first time in recent memory that I have not gotten posts up on the same day. I do apologize for the delay. Monday was so busy with two Kate events and my usual workload, but I had a special deadline this morning and I had to work late into last night. Blogging just wasn't on the table. I was so disappointed yestedary as I saw a few photos as I rushed here and there, but I certainly looked forward to this evening's time here. Thanks for the messages of concern. It is good to be missed. :) I have a back-log of emails on a variety of topics and business, but will be getting to your messages as soon as I can!  Yesterday was law school's first victim, and although it is the first time I had to push blogging to focus on my academics, I have a feeling it will not be the last. That being said, I don't anticipate it will happen often. I am a super scheduler, and in general, with adequate planning, things run relatively smoothly. Knock on wood. Thanks everyone for dropping by to read, despite the tardy posting. 

See you soon...I hope! :) 



187 comments:

  1. I wish I liked this gown, but I just can't. That bottom ruffle is just too...ruffled, I suppose. I like the print, and had the dress finished in a floor-length A-line, I think I would have had a different reaction. However, the combination of the retro florals, the Dynasty ruffle, and the slightly 70s feel of her hair, it just didn't work for me.

    I applaud Kate for taking more risks lately, and branching out in her fashion choices. It's refreshing to see her up the glamour. I just hope that this is a dress that retires to the back of the wardrobe, and is not to be repeated.

    -D-

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  2. Love your blog. As to this dress. I like it. A lot. I like it because it was different. I liked that she stepped out of her comfort zone a bit. I liked that, as a visitor to the V & A myself - a museum that celebrates design - that she reflected that, as she often does in her choice of clothing and style. There is a lovely, lovely Japanese exhibit near the front of the museum that I couldn't stop thinking about when I saw this dress.

    I also felt that her hair looked spectacular with those beautiful family earrings. This was such a fashion moment for her and I feel like after I have read many blogs/critiques (fug girls- one of my favs) over the last 24 hours about this dress, that Kate owned it and was so confident in this - whereas she sometimes often doesn't project that image. I do see where many would feel that the 'dust ruffle' ruins it. BUT, it may not photograph well. In movement, it was a show stopper. I felt that she looked even taller and her hair was so voluminous.

    I have felt, as others have recently, that her style has sometimes verged on too conservative when compared with the other European royals or others of her status and recognition. But this was unique, fun, fashion-forward - being Erdem - and didn't scream dowdy like her Bond dress did on Monday night (just my opinion). I have felt sometimes that her style since George was hit or miss and has seen new experimentation since Charlotte which I appreciate. I'm glad she is surprising us and challenging us, perhaps herself, and still staying within the confines of the role. This was a beauty for me!

    All the best, Jane - I hope we won't have to wait another month or so to see Kate again!

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  3. This gown would have been pretty if worn maybe in the summertime and didn't have that ruffle at the bottom
    And I couldn't help but notice how put together all the other ladies at the event were and Kate looked like she didn't do a thing with her hair
    I wonder how she could look in the mirror leaving the house and say hey this looks good
    Sarah usa

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  4. When I saw on Twitter that she was wearing Erdem, I braced myself for the photos. Even then I wasn't prepared for the dress--it was just wrong on so many levels. The entire look was busy--the print, her hair, the flounce, the weird seams and darts. I thought the two women on either side of her (photo 8) were much better dressed for the occasion. Their gowns were lovely.

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  5. This one got a lot of mixed comments-as many as the JP gown the night before.

    I like both. They're young and fun and as she begins to attend more of these vets, I'm sure we'll see a sartorial pattern emerge. Love the earrings and the implications for her as she is moving quickly towards her fifth wedding anniversary and five years with "the firm".

    I'm looking forward to seeing her on Remembrance Day along with the other royals and their guests the king and queen of the Netherlands. Also hoping to see them at Royal Variety (though it may be Charles and Camillas turn) and at the diplomatic reception.

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    1. I like both gowns too, and they are young and fun. I was so happy to see this dress because its trending on the runways now. Usually Kate plays it safe with a modified,
      more conservative version of what is out there. With McQueen this has frustrated me especially because the edgier elements that make a piece a McQueen are softened or often lost in the process. This Erdem dress is pure unadulterated high fashion and I love that she wore it.

      Also, I think it is so fitting that she wore this dress at an event that benefits The Art Room because the dress is a piece of art. The fabric is luxurious, the print is museum worthy and the structure of the bodice is impeccable. It really is an interesting dress and I'm so thrilled by the unpredictability of her choice.

      Initially the ruffle threw me off but the more images I looked at the more I liked it. Its a retro look designed for the 21st century. The ruffle is not supposed to blend but is meant to be an exaggerated structural element of the design. Its different and that's what makes it special. She looked like the young mom of two duchess that she is amid a sea
      of predictably dressed women. How terrific is that?

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    2. I am not a fan of the dress but your comments make sense and is easier to understand why to many this dress would work and be a beautiful piece. I do not like the print in the dress form but I bet I would love the original print it is based on.ali

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    3. Glad you got what I was trying to say ali :) I was just thrilled to see this dress because I think she should have fun with her clothing while she is still young. She has years to go the safe conservative route.

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  6. I think the dress is too long. It touches the floor which looks as if it causes the ruffle portion to poof out a bit... Does that make sense?

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    1. It makes a lot of sense, Grace....mk

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  7. That fabric is absolutely gorgeous. You can 'feel' how soft and rich it is by the look but the ruffle at the bottom and the tucks in front need to go...She was there representing power women and her dress should have represented that. A sleeker line would have been much more chic as would a smoother hairstyle...

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  8. I always read your posts Jane, and I'm not a big commenter but I have to put in my two cents on this ensemble. While this wasn't a "home run" for me either, there is something I really DO like about this dress that I just can't put my finger on! I think it is the structure, and I love the colors of the dress. They look so well on Kate. The pattern really doesn't bother me as it does others, but it wouldn't be my first choice.

    However, there is also something that just doesn't sit well either. It has got to be the ruffle. I think if it wasn't so "ruffly", and was more subtle that would have done the trick. I do like the idea of the dress, but the execution is a little off. I think Kate's hair also gives it that slight "dated" feel. I love her new hair style, and my own is very similar. I think that maybe if she had pulled a little hair back from her face that could have helped. But, as you said, if anyone could pull this off it is definitely Kate. I also love this dress with the Queen Mum's sapphire earnings!! I think that they look fantastic and they were a perfect choice. As others have said, I think we are all loving the new directions Kate is branching out in! Thanks for all your posts Jane. I know we all look forward to them :)

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    1. I agree, Nicole...this dress has a certain something. :)
      Thanks for taking the time to comment!
      Jane

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  9. I think there is a nice balance of Kate borrowing from her family, not just the Royals. Where she can she implements the Middletons so it isn't all about memorializing the BRF. I'm just trying to decide - did the Middletons pay for Carole's jewelry? I know they paid for Kate's wedding attire and I assume Pippa will wear the acorn earrings when she gets married one day. However I always assumed Carole's jewelry was a loaner.

    How is Kate modelling after the Queen Mother? I also saw on Twitter that Kate was given these sapphire earrings - I doubt it. Don't you think we'd see the York girls sporting royals jewels if the Queen was giving them away?

    I loved the pattern and the look of the fabric. The design was odd. I think the town was appropriate for this event so I give her credit for that. Remember there have been times she's worn a cocktail dress to a gala.

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    1. It seems that The Queen gives important pieces to future queens. She gave many pieces to Diana (which she returned after the divorce) and she has given some significant pieces to Camilla. As a future queen, Kate has a qualification the York girls don't have. They are also not working royals. Of the senior royals Princess Anne, Kate, Sophie, and Camilla (as much as it galls me to say it) are the working royals who put a face on the family. They attend and represent the Queen at state and diplomatic events. The York girls and the Phillips kids don't do that. I think all of the jewelry officially belongs to the House of Windsor and when The Queen gifts a piece it's actually on permanent loan until such time as the giftee no longer wears it due to death or, as in Diana's case, divorce.

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    2. Robin, good point about the York girls not working. I think I find the York girls very confusing. They don't work for the Firm and they don't have a security detail. However, to honor them being blood princesses the Queen did ensure the rule book on family order (what is it officially called??) has Kate curtsying to them. That curtsy rule bothers me with Ann and the York girls, but especially the York girls. Anyway, I'm just trying to say good point, I just find the York girls confusing. Interesting that Kate may be receiving "gifts" of royal jewelry; I thought she was always borrowing one event at a time. Thx!

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    3. I guess I never realized Kate had to curtsy to the Yorks. I think, as Duchess of Cambridge, she officially outranks them so that is very strange. Anne is the Princess Royal and, besides being The Queen's daughter, she also represents her mother at official events. She also has been awarded so many royal orders. I think it might be in order to curtsy her but I certainly don't get the Yorks either. I think it's called the Order of Precedence. Blood or not, the York girls are "do nothings" and Kate should not have to curtsy to them.

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    4. OK, Anon. 7:58, I did a little research (thanks for the alert) and found an article explaining the whole thing. I don't necessarily agree with how it all ended up but at least she doesn't have to curtsy to them when William is with her. Here's the article:

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/theroyalfamily/9351571/The-Queen-tells-the-Duchess-of-Cambridge-to-curtsy-to-the-blood-princesses.html

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    5. On the subject of royal jewellery, and the Yorkies (my pet name for Bea and Eug), it has occurred to me that one potential reason why Kate is not in possession of the Royal Family Order might be that the Queen has none to spare; that is, that she has doled them out to the likes of the Yorkies, Zara, and maybe even Louise, all of whom the Queen would view as of the Blood Royal, whereas Kate....

      I would be most interested in hearing the views of others, on this topic.

      JC

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    6. There are very sound financial reasons why HM will not give any of the jewellery. At death there is no duty payable on anything left by the monarch (or the consort) to the next monarch, but if she gifts it at death (or within seven years of that event) to anyone but the next monarch, it is taxable and would probably result in much of it having to be sold.

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    7. How can we be sure Catherine does not have the FO? I think ivory prevented the wearing.....mk

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    8. Jean-would you happen to know what happens when a non-regnant queen consort decides to hang on to a few
      royal jewels after the death of her husband the monarch? I know the QM kept some pieces after George VI's
      death. Did they revert to the Crown techically and then were re-loaned by the new monarch? (ERII) I'm sure there
      is someone who keeps track of what is a personal gift ( Emirate's gifts, for example) and what belongs to the
      monarchy.
      Wow! I just thought of Queen Mary after George V's death. She lived quite awhile after that and wore a lot of
      jewels.I'm just having visions of wheelbarrows full of sparkly trinkets being trotted to BP and then back to
      the queen consort on loan.

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    9. Well, the curtsey dilemma is easily resolved; Kate just needs to have her "best accessory" (as Robin refers to William) with her during those potentially awkward moments. (The thought of William's wife having to curtsey to Camilla is another story, but I will bite my lip on that one!)

      JC, how sad if the Queen does *not* have a RFO to spare, but if Kate did not receive one, or does not receive one in the near future, it will not reflect well on the Windsor clan. For those of us who can remember, it will be a vivid reminder of a time when the Firm did not recognize or appreciate a true gem while the rest of the world couldn't miss it.

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    10. Regarding the curtsy, Kate is saved from this when William is present. This works well at Christmas and other "family gatherings". However, it still happens. Kate has attended certain charity events that the York girls have been out. Remember this summer there was the grumpy family balcony scene? William, Ann, etc were part of the parade, while Kate, Andrew, his girls, etc were on the balcony all grumpy? In that situation Kate would have had to curtsy.

      As for the Family Order, I kind of wonder if William declined on Kate's behalf, due to the ivory factor. Or if she was given it, maybe they agreed she wouldn't wear it. ? With William's stance on destroying the royal ivory collection, I think the FO prevents a huge problem.

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    11. mk, we can't be sure...thats the, excuse me, pisser. Apparently, these miniature paintings of the Queen, in her twenties, were applied on slabs of IVORY--the very same substance which William has been campaigning against as ornamental, and which he wants destroyed. Sooo, would he want his wife and future Queen wearing ivory, especially in front of the President of China, of all people and places? I don't think so!! Talk about hypocritical!!

      Nevertheless, if the Queen had given Kate the RFO, prior to the Chinese State Banquet, who would Kate have chosen to insult? HMTQ by not wearing it, or her husband, by making a fool of him and wearing it?

      Perhaps the Queen solved this conundrum by giving Kate permission to wear those two ultra diamond bracelets, in particular, the Wedding Gift bracelet--the one Philip gave her as a wedding gift, thereby attempting to send a message to the public that Kate was indeed accepted as a Royal Family Member, without giving her the RFO. Just a thought.

      I also think it quite possible that the Queen has no RFO left to give. (Lets face it; Andrew may well have pushed for both Bea and Eug to be given said Order, and the Queen may well have given her favourite son just what he wanted.)

      Those are my theories, at any rate. Personally, I don't believe that Kate has been given the RFO.

      JC

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    12. Gawd! Why don't I read before I speak? I just caught your comment, royalfan, and completely agree with your sentiments, re the RFO. Kate should be in possession of it...altho there is William to consider....Perfect solution: the Queen gifts Kate with modern and tasteful jewellery (decently sized white diamond studs, set in white gold or platinum, tennis bracelet and necklace to match. NEW, and simple, and expensive.) Yeah, I could forgive the Queen for her stupidity in either giving away all RFOs in her possession, or her failure to perceive how very important Kate is to the future of the monarchy, equally stupid. And altho it was before the time when I had any interest in the BRF, I can read, and have done so, and yes, treating Kate like a second class citizen--when, after all Camilla, of all people, was given the RFO some two years after joining the Firm--is pretty much the way the Queen treated Diana, or so it seems to me. They don't learn, do they?

      Anon at 8:43 PM, yes, I agree that ivory might have been a factor--but what stopped the Queen from commissioning a new portrait, painted on a different material, in time for the Chinese State Banquet?

      JC

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    13. I think the whole "ivory" issue with the Family Order is overblown. Prince Phillip was the first to get on this cause and he is far more extreme than William is. Destroying something, or refusing to use it, is not going to bring back the magnificent animal it came from. Going forward they can use something else, but refusing something from The Queen because of where it came from when it was created however many decades ago is silly. I really hope this isn't the case because it's just window dressing if it is. royalfan is right, Kate needs to receive that award - especially is Camilla has it. The York girls have certainly not earned it so they should never receive it. I think they are part of the extra baggage Charles would like to see the monarchy stop supporting. They don't do anything except stand on the balcony a couple of times a year.

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    14. I have an additional point to add to the RFO / ivory debate... From day one, William has been very protective of Kate because of his mother's experience within the firm. Therefore, I do not believe he would decline the RFO on Kate's behalf and leave her open to the sort of speculation that has been going on since she appeared without it at the State Banquet.

      To give or not give the RFO is a decision for the Queen to make and, if she had made her intention clear to William, and if he had an issue with the ivory, an alternative could, and would, have been found.

      For goodness sake, Camilla was a key player in one of the worst chapters in recent royal history and she received it. Surely Kate, as the best antidote the Windsor's could have hoped for, is deserving of it. The stability and potential she represents is a true asset to the monarchy. And, on a personal level, she has been as loving and supportive of William as can be, and has given him the happy family life he was in dire need of. Sooo, me thinks the Queen, both as head of the Firm and "as a grandmother" (remember when she said those words??), should see to it that Kate is given the RFO rather quickly!

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  10. Jane, with your love of history, you may be interested to know Brompton Oratory is also known as a spy-site:

    "Brompton Oratory, Kensington:
    At the height of the Cold War there were hundreds of Russian spies operating in London. The bustling capital was ideal for agents to ‘bump’ in to one another, seamlessly transferring packages in the blink of an eye.
    Another method of transferring intelligence was the rather sinister sounding (but not really that sinister at all) dead letter drop – or DLD to those in the know. One favoured location for DLDs was Brompton Oratory, an Italian Renaissance-style Catholic church situated next to the V&A on Brompton Road. Spies would visit the church and place documents and/or microfilm behind one of the pillars near a statue, ready to be picked up by their KGB handlers. The location was ideal with its narrow winding lanes leading off Brompton Road and proximity to the Russian Embassy. If Russian spies felt they were being followed, they would enter the Harrods store down the road, which has many exits and flights of stairs, and is perfect for losing a tail."

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    1. I have trouble finding my way out of Harrod's once I'm inside so I can see why this technique was used by spies during the cold war. Thanks for the interesting tidbit!

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    2. So interesting, Kaye! Thanks for sharing. Hopefully, I'll make it to London someday!

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    3. Robin, I can relate to the Harrods experience, too! And I've been there a handful of times, and despite signage always have to ask for directions. I can see how spies would have utilized that building.

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    4. Kaye-all very fascinating! I vote for Mr. Security as the next 007. The heck with Daniel Craig, suave as he is....mk

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    5. All this talk of Harrods has me reminiscing about the Food Halls. Talk about a feast for the eyes. O-M-G.

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    6. Kaye, this was SO cool! Thank you for posting it!!

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  11. Oh, this dress. Where to begin... The fabric is fabulous and the jewel neckline and sleeveless silhouette are a good look for her except for the strange darts. But from the waist down it's just a great mess. Too much fabric, completely off on the fitting, and that ruffle! Any ruffle would have been a mistake but that ruffle is a disaster. You're right, Jane, it was a muu muu made out of too many yards of expensive silk fabric. Let's leave Erdem to the daylight hours. And...if you're going to wear an evening muu muu, wear evening sandals. Those shoes were not quite right either.

    The earrings are beautiful and I also have an affinity for the sapphires as they remind me so much of Diana. However, I thought her hair was also a bit of a mess. Her bangs flared out almost as awkwardly as that ruffle and I felt like she needed to take a brush to her curls to make them a little less obvious and a little less something I can't put my finger on. And, most disappointing, her hair also covered up those earrings. She's been out and about so much lately that they can't all be a win so, if we're looking at the odds, I guess she was due but I think this was her first crash and burn.

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  12. I keep wanting to dislike this dress, but there is something appealing about it. The colors and fabric are beautiful and I agree with others that without the ruffle it would be fine.

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  13. Also wanted to add that I loved, loved the earrings. So nice that they have been loaned to Kate. They reminded me of the emerald earrings she wore last December in New York at the St. Andrews occasion. Beautiful!!

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  14. School is cool, Jane; no worries!

    I like the print, I dislike the ruffle. I like the colors on Kate, I dislike the cut on her. I love that she went bold, though - earrings, print, those Jimmy Choos that make her even taller - I do like a bold Kate, even in this dress:)

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  15. I may be the only one, but I thought that on the whole, this was lovely and quite beautiful on Kate as a complete look. She isn't or tries not to be a fashion plate, but if you're going to be one, the Victoria and Albert or the Met perhaps by comparison, is the venue. A dress which has a unique design at a museum which celebrates art and fashion. Home run from the sartorial perspective.

    I also felt that the hair was lovely. Voluminous! I have similar hair with the bangs, and thick hair can be such a challenge. This looked lovely for this dress. I also thought the earrings were stunning and she accessorized appropriately.

    While not "princessey" which I think many would like to see (bond premiere, state dinner) - I didn't like her Bond dress, it was still an appropriate and fun dress and she seemed much more confident in it than she has in many other clothes. I also believe that it was still in keeping with the conservative style she must remain confined to, but represented the museum, Erdem (which is quite fashion-forward), and stood out from the other ladies quite well. Bravo, Kate!

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  16. Oh, wow. If it was cut off where the bottom ruffles are, I would like it. The print is interesting and different. But that ruffle at the bottom makes me feel like someone was just trying to lengthen the dress and just tacked it on. It looks amature to me, like something a designer on Project Runway would try to pull off, but Nina would tell them their taste level was questionable.

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  17. The more I look at this dress, the more I like it. I am just thrilled that Kate is mixing it up a bit and branching out. These primary colors always look great on her, and I like the print. Because of Kate's model thin (and tall- look at how tall she is in the group shot with the other ladies!) figure, she is the perfect muse for any designer. If anything falls flat or is a bit off, blame the design not Kate! I think she looks fabulous as always. Can't wait to see more as she grows into her role and does more evening events! Can't wait to see more jewels come from Granny's vault!

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  18. I guess I will be the only one, but I really like this dress! I wouldn't say I love it because I would prefer if it didn't have the ruffles in the middle of the skirt or if the upper part of the skirt was a bit more tight (like this: https://instagram.com/p/oIelB_wAl2/). But that gorgeous print in silk is just WOW! No wonder it costs $4,560!

    The "new" sapphire and diamond earrings are amazing. I'm glad the Queen is letting Kate wear more royal jewelry. Kate's hair looks really good as well, I like the volume.

    Overall I like it very much, again is a dress that is very different from the ones the Duchess wore before (I love that!). And I think Kate probably heard the criticism of the last dress (the ice blue that I love it, but most people hate it), this dress couldn't be more different.

    PS: I glad you are ok Jane!

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  19. I'm a long time reader and first time commenter. I am no fashion expert, but I would have like to see the dress stop above the knee and be worn as a day dress. As an evening gown I just think it was completely wrong in style and print.

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  20. Hi Jane, I was waiting with baited breath for your verdict...no pressure though, I'm just grateful you can find the time given your incredible work load! :) I too audibly gasped when I first saw The Ruffle. But I also kind of loved it. I loved that Kate picked something so different, and I really love those colors on her, with the earrings. The print looks wonderful on her, and the beautiful structuring of the bodice and neckline, all are big wins. The Ruffle is off-putting, because of its volume, but I like it anyway, even though it also reminds me of tiered hippy skirts I used to wear, and my mother used to wear. But they were really cute hippy skirts and I find it intriguing to do one of this magnitude in this luxurious fabric...on Kate! I think the dress would have been a much bigger success if it had been shortened by a couple of inches, and if Kate had worn more delicate shoes. Those platforms were too heavy given the over-heaviness of TR (The Ruffle). Boy, Kate continues to surprise us! First the fringe, then that purple lace Dolce and Gabana (!), and now TR! She's kind of all over the place, and it's a lot of fun. Can't wait for the next one! (And where is Charlotte? I'm dying to see her and George together again. I wish Kate would release another picture of the two). :)

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    Replies
    1. Ahh, thank you for circling back and reading despite the long wait!
      I wonder when we will see Charlotte, too. The tour brought George out...

      Delete
  21. I love that you called it a Hawaiian muumuu b/c my first thought was "Wait, why is Kate wearing a hawaiian maxi dress to a gala?" But then strangely, I think I like it? I don't know!

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  22. Suzanne in ColoradoOctober 28, 2015 at 10:53 PM

    This is the first time that I have looked at the Duchess and thought "Barbie Doll"! The print, the ruffle, the hair, the impossible thinness next to ordinary people. The whole thing just looked strange.

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  23. When I saw this dress, I wondered if Kate was trying to "stand out" in the crowd, much like the Queen has said she selects bright colors for her ensembles so people can see her in the crowd.

    Perhaps Kate knew she would be in pictures with a group of well dressed women in beautiful evening gowns and thought selecting a pattern would set her apart (?).

    In the end, it was not my favorite look, but as Jane said, she wore as well as anyone could.

    As a side note to Jane - Thanks for keeping up the blog amidst your busy schedule! I looked forward to see what you thought about this dress :).

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  24. When I was a young, in the late 1960s, I was a flower girl for someone's wedding, and was forced to wear an orange taffeta dress with a ruffle like one. I hated it, and had a temper tantrum about wearing it. My parents won. I still don't like dresses with ruffles in them, and this one is no exception.

    However, in other respects, I like the dress. The colour is stunning and youthful. It looks well on Kate. I do agree with other posters that she didn't look her usual put-together self. Her hair wasn't at its peak, and would have looked better put up in a 'do of some sort, and that ruffle.....

    Kate is always beautiful, and would be in muddy jeans and wellies, but this is not my favourite of her fashion choices.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Allie, you made me laugh! In the late 70s I was a bridesmaid for a friends wedding and I wore an orange dress with a ruffle too! Even worse...it had puffy sleeves and the fabric was flocked! It was the stereotype of horrid bridesmaid dresses!

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  25. I think we can nominate this dress, the worst she has ever worn, and it is not an exaggeration.

    Also if she wears a bling like that, why she uses her hair to hide it? No clue.

    Only Mr.Security was nice to see this evening really.:)))

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  26. I've noticed Erdem have that silhouette on a number of their new designs but it is a very niche look. My pick of Erdem's silk gowns at the moment is this one: https://erdem.com/shop/aurelia-dress-ohana-navy/
    I think it would have been very flattering on Kate with her tall, slim physique.

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    Replies
    1. Good choice! That one is beautiful and still would be if made with the same fabric Kate wore. It's not the fabric on her dress that's off, it's the style.

      Delete
    2. Perhaps a kimono? Can't wait for royalfan to join in.....mk

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    3. Yes, mk! royalfan, where are you?

      Delete
    4. mk, I missed your comment (so much for multitasking!) :) Robin, I do agree... Great choice on Kelly's part. I think Kate would look beautiful in this gown and I love the colors.

      Delete
    5. Could someone please tell me why designers choose such blah (or less than blah!) footwear for their models? A nice pump or sandal would do so much more for the overall look. :))

      https://erdem.com/shop/dresses

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    6. royalfan, that I can answer! Blah footwear doesn't draw the eye away from the fashion they want to showcase. By the same token, you will never see anything bright or sexy in a shoe ad so as not to draw the eye away from the shoes.

      Delete
    7. Wow, that dress is stunning and I agree, would be very flattering on Kate.

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    8. Thank you, Robin. :) It does make sense!

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    9. Kelly, that is a very "Kate" dress in terms of silhouette! I like it!

      Delete
  27. Looking at the big picture of Kate amongst the other guests, this seems the perfect choice. She stands out. Surely that's a purposeful decision when faced with a room of beautiful ladies, who all likely have similar spending power on their appearance?

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  28. PS. The colours suit her fabulously

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  29. For me this dress was - why didn't someone say to her No don't do it! It did nothing for her. The pattern is old for her and the flounce at the bottom dreadful. It did nothing for her. Just a no no no.

    KiwiNic

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  30. Jane, never apologize, we're rooting for your straight As! Completely agree on the dress and chuckled quite a bit. I wish Kate had gone with stud earrings, a sleek chignon and a red lip. That would have made all the difference. Styled as is I can imagine Heidi Klum and Michael Kors battering her with one of her tirades about the importance of styling. I do realize how outside her comfort zone that would be and how unlikely it is to occur but a girl can dream.

    While this is a miss, it's a miss earned with admiration. Some of her previous misses felt like boring misses and those are a disappointment. Pink and black bespoke dress with bell sleeves worn to the pre-London Games banquet, I'm looking squarely at you!

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    Replies
    1. I like how you put that..."a miss earned with admiration." I think a lot of us are in agreement there. We're glad she's branching out. And as someone else put it, if anyone would even be able to pull this dress off, it would be Kate.

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  31. Well on a positive Mr Security didn't let us down : )

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    Replies
    1. He has been the star of the show the past few engagements. I love it and it is good to have him back!

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  32. I would love to see her in an Elie Saab dress, she would kill it!

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  33. Carmen, The NetherlandsOctober 29, 2015 at 4:38 AM

    I don't like the ruffle at all, but overall it's still a win for me! She really stands out in the crowd and the colours look great on her. Maybe the bottom part can be altered?

    ReplyDelete
  34. I have been looking at this dress now for about 36 hours and have come to the conclusion that one of the problems is that it is too long. It sort of bunches on the floor, so that the frill (or whatever you want to call it) doesn't hang properly.
    However, seems to prove that whatever she wears, she looks beautiful and no one can complain that she plays it safe.
    Loved the earrings---glad to see she is able to have some access to the fabulous jewellery collection.
    Jane--I think you are fantastic continuing with this blog whilst reading law. A member of my family is a law graduate and I know that it takes hard work and long hours.


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  35. Oh wow...this is bad. I think Kate herself is radiant, as always, and you're right that no other woman on the planet would be able to look radiant in such a bad dress. I think it might have been saved with a well-placed belt of some sort, something grounding amidst the chaos of that pattern. Yes, I think my main problem (besides the awful ruffle - I won't even go there) is the weird waist. For such a structured dress, it seems odd that it wasn't a smooth waist. A solid belt possibly would have helped. But wow. Onto you, Jane: no apologies for being busy! We're all just delighted that you have time to write at all, so I don't think anyone's going to nitpick you because you don't post fast enough. Sleep is important too! Thanks for the great post :)

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  36. I absolutely love the fabric and print of this dress...but perhaps not THIS dress. In my humble opinion it was just too much print and too many seams, darts, and ruffles. Too....too....much. I might even say it just didn't fit the duchess very well. The bust darts, the waist line, the length of the dress just didn't match her body. My first time commenting and I would have liked it to be on a more positive note so I will add that her earrings were perfect and I'm sure the evening was enchanting.

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  37. I don't think I can pull any punches here - for me, this was awful. The print would have worked if the dress was sleek but the structure and flounce at the bottom killed the whole thing. I also think this was an instance in which she needed to put her hair up because having it down just adds to the over-voluminous feel of the whole look.

    On a positive note, not only did I love the earrings, I love the fact that they were the Queen Mother's and that Kate really seems to have a penchant for her jewellery. (Showing them off would have been another good reason to wear her hair up).

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  38. I loved the Sophia dress and when I saw this one, I was a little confounded with the print so I thought : OK, it's... different but at least coloured... And then I saw the ruffle and was : Oh Kate, why ? Why did you take your grandmother's curtain ? It is just bad, too big and voluminous. It's a miss for me, a disappointing end to this fabulous streak of engagements (the grey Orla Kiely with the pony was a delight !).
    However, the earrings are lovely, and the bracelet is fabulous !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL...granny's curtains (print and fabric) were exactly what I thought. And I wish she'd wear more comfortable shoes--I fear for her back/feet as she reaches 40.
      Cute bump of heads with Mr. security on one of the other sites.

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    2. Hey, curtains worked for Sound of Music ;-)

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    3. And Scarlett, I might add.....mk

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  39. I haven't read thru other comments yet, but this is my take. Leaving aside the huge bed ruffle in the skirt. the rather clunky black suede Jimmy Choo platform footwear, and the fact that I am on record as having an aversion to Erdem...that latter is a big ask....

    When I saw the group photo taken at this event, of Kate and some 19 members--presumably the board of directors of 100 Women in Hedge Funds-- I began to see this gown in a new light. Kate, who was standing in the middle, looked both vibrant and young when compared to the rest; to a woman, regardless of age, the rest were dressed in exactly what anyone would expect; they looked staid and boring and predictable whereas Kate looked ready to dance the calypso.

    Do I think Kate's gown is a classic? No. But I do think it telegraphs a sense of fun, and, after all, she is a princess of the UK and hence entitled to occasionally follow trends, as opposed to classics, IMO. (And the fabric of the dress was to die for.)

    I also thought that Kate's hairstyle was appropriate;. given the casual style of the dress; it balanced the wide skirt.

    Just my two cents.

    JC

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  40. At first I thought I hated the dress but on further reflection, I actually love the dress but hate it on Kate. I think it's just too "out there" and the dress is wearing her. There are definitely some women who could wrangle this dress and make it amazing. What I do love is that Kate seems to be experimenting more and I bet as she gets more comfortable in her role and becomes a more commanding royal, she will be able to rock interesting things like this.

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  41. There were at least 2 women in the group photo with more unfortunate dress choices than Kate. I'll leave it at that.

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    Replies
    1. You made me chuckle! You're looking at the 6th in from the left aren't you? It's like a train wreck you can't turn away from!

      Delete
  42. I enjoyed reading the other comments about this dress as many people pointed out that the rich design of the dress could have been a nod to the rich design of the V&A museum. That makes a lot of sense to me and I feel certain Kate took that into account. I like the dress and I love her boldness in wearing such an unusual piece. I could probably love the dress if perhaps it had flared to the floor in a soft A-line and had a tad lower waist?

    The colors of the dress suited her wonderfully and really set off her hair color. Her makeup also seemed to be working especially well with the dress colors. And I love love love those earrings of Queen Mum's!

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  43. I was OK with the dress until I saw the ruffle, then it became a 'no'. Also, as noted above, thought it too long and noticed that she had some serious platform shoes on. With a print that loud, a slimmer silhouette would have been better, though maybe that dress could be shortened and become a day dress.

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  44. This dress made me laugh. In a good way. I would never have chosen this for Kate, but I love that she tried it and strangely, I think this was the event to do it. I agree with JC, she did stand out against women who played it safe, I agree with those who say that she represents the Art Room and this dress is art, I agree with those who say the fabric is beautiful. She made me laugh. It was fun, not at all boring. Good for her. Now put it back in the closet and bring it out for dress-up with Charlotte one day....

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  45. I was glad to read that someone else thought this dress was "shortwaisted". Many of her dresses, to my eyes, don't seem to hit her at her natural waist. I have been wondering as to whether this was the style, was I seeing things, or the result of the dresses not fitting correctly on her fabulous body. I'm really curious to find out.

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    Replies
    1. I read somewhere--not sure where--that Kate is long-waisted. To make her legs look longer, she has her dresses tailored to sit above her natural waist. I don't believe everything I read about her, but this makes sense as MANY of her dresses don't seem to hit her waist where they should.

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    2. I read somewhere Kate is long-waisted so she has her dresses tailored to sit above her waist to try to make her legs look longer. May not be true but it makes sense to me that she has them altered. Many of her very expensive dresses don't seem to hit at the waist where I would expect them too. This dress MAY be supposed to fit everyone high but all of her other dresses (like the R Lauren houndstooth worn at the Anna Freud Centr) can't all be expected to sit high.

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    3. Thanks. Mystery solved.

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    4. When you see early pictures of her in low rise jeans with shirts tucked in you can see that she is long-waisted. I think, however, the strategy of making her dresses short-waisted (if this is what she's doing) is a mistake in some cases (like this one) because they just look like they don't fit properly.

      Delete
    5. This was an expensive off-the-rack purchase; it was not custom-made. As such, it was made to fit the average British female--who tend to be short-waisted, IMO. Kate doesn't have this waistline problem when she shops American, off-the-rack.

      I have decided to simply accept the fact that, aside from McQueen, Brit designers just don't account for anyone not short-waisted.

      JC

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    6. Hmm...interesting observation, JC.

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    7. I believe it was meant to be a modified empire waist style.Was never intended to fit anyone at the waist. but it may be a bit more exaggerated on the long waisted woman. As JC said the off the rack proportions can be hard to fit for, sleeves tend to be too short for me and I am petite but not short and have a chest, buying off the rack stuff is extremely difficult.ali

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    8. Short or long waisted, she also has a straight boyish figure. She relies on her clothing to create curves. This is part of what makes fashion fun!

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    9. Anon 4:26, Kate is slim, but she does have a curve to her. I wouldn't define that as a boyish figure.

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    10. Thank-you, royalfan. My answer was censored. ha!...mk

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    11. It doesn't look quite Empire waist to me. Remember that the models who wear it for these product shots are also usually on the tall side. :)
      MK, if you signed your comment mk, I haven't censored anything from you...recently. ;) Seriously, though, I haven't seen anything from you that hasn't gone live. I just checked spam, but nothing is there. I don't know what you said...but it seems cyberspace must not have liked it.

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    12. I was kind of joking. ("ha!") I forgot to sign. Sorry. Anyway, it referred to events better left in the past, which clearly
      belied the boyish figure label........mk

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  46. I'm in the minority that kind of loves this dress. It's incredibly striking, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it pop up in an exhibition in the future as one of Kate's immediately recognizable pieces. Maybe it's her obvious confidence and radiance that make it work so well -- she seems more at ease in this dress than she did in the Spectre premiere Packham gown. Just wish she had pulled back her hair a bit to really showcase those amazing earrings.

    There's something about the ruffle I find vaguely reminiscent of Princess Madeleine of Sweden's wedding gown.

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  47. Good for her for taking a fashion risk. But a risk is just that, a risk. Sometimes you end up on the losing end, which is what happened with this dress in my opinion. The dress definitely wore her this time and although her hair looked great, wearing it up would have avoided it competing with a statement dress and the earrings. I will respectfully disagree and say that I think there are more than a few women who could pull this look off better than Kate did.

    Luna, CA

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    Replies
    1. Harry's former amour-Cressida?

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  48. This dress is terrific until the bottom ruffle! It would be a great cocktail dress if it were cut off around the knee, with gorgeous colour and pattern. I'm so glad Kate is taking fashion risks but in my opinion that ruffle just screams "curtains"!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kay, if it were cut off at the knee the remains fabric from "the dreaded ruffle" could be used to make a matching wrap! Now that would be stunning! Hair up, those gorgeous earrings, and some strappy evening sandals and, voila! Diana would, on occasion, have an outfit redesigned with great success so it's not unheard of!

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  49. Wow, check out her arms in that last pic! The Duchess hasn't looked that sculpted since before she had George! (That's not to say that she hasn't looked amazing, because of course she has.) Methinks the rumors of her and Pippa spurring eachother on to greater exercise feats may be founded in some sort of reality. If only I liked exercise as much as they do... ;-D

    Regarding the dress, I would absolutely adore it if it were knee-length or even midi. As it is, it's not her best evening look, but even a slightly weird dress can't stop her from looking fantastic.

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  50. It is an exciting miss for me! I am glad the Duchess is experimenting with style again. I do quite like her hair and makeup the past few days. She looks younger to me. Something relating to her hair and makeup remind me of the good old Kate Middleton days. She looks fresh!

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  51. First, thank you Jane for such a thoughtful and thorough post. Loved the way you gave us a tour of the venue, and the area surrounding it! Your posts are always worth waiting for.

    While waiting I had the time to let this dress sink it. My first thought had been ugh. I will never, ever put anyone down for trying something new and I gave Kate lots of credit for trying. But a too long tropical print at the end of October?

    With time, I've come to the conclusion that this is by far not my favorite dress style-wise. However, I've also come to the conclusion that in terms of expression, finding one's own way, it may be my favorite dress for Kate so far. She stands out in it, it was a group of women interested in funding the arts with whom she was spending the evening and Kate did look feminine in a frilly and arty way.

    I love the earrings & am so glad that she is wearing so much of the Queen Mum's jewelry. A good role model! Also someone who made some interesting fashion choices herself. (Check out the Queen Mum's wedding dress.)

    Regarding the other earrings, belonging to Carole, here is my hunch: William, perhaps even Charles, is discretely and in a non-patronizing manner helping out the Middleton's. A new home, with room for security and all that comes with hosting even the most non-demanding of future kings. Jewels. While certainly prosperous I sense someone knows the Middletons do not have the means to keep up with their daughter's life and they are gently being helped. Just a thought.

    Also, I am going on today... Am I the only one who has noticed Kate has a lot going on with her necklines/decollete lately? Seems very covered up, with high necklines or with billowy chiffon or with flaps and frills. Just wondering....

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  52. Hi, Jane,

    Many thanks for keeping up with this blog despite the workload at law school. I've been to law school and know that the work load is a significant uptick from previous university courses. With your obvious intelligence and communication skills, I know you'll do very well.

    I must say I have very mixed feelings about this gown. I'm having very strong '70s flashbacks to any number of ruffled dresses I wore, including one with spaghetti strap tie ups at the shoulders. *Shudder*....

    You really helped me feel better about this gown by doing two things: reminding me of the Erdem "Sophia" dress which I always really liked and posting the video. When I could see HRH move in this gown and saw how the print complimented her height, I felt much better about it. Thank you.

    Still-the ruffle is just wrong. Please, please, some things must not be brought back. We know better now!

    But the colours, print and fabric are beautiful. I only wish she had worn her hair up so the earrings could have been more in play.

    I wager she's going to disappear now for some time, except for Remembrance Sunday, so I'm sure we'll be glad to see her again, even in the Erdem.

    Have a great Hallowe'en !

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  53. Jane, have you seen the news? The change in China's one child policy. Some say it is too little too late.

    Dress wise: my Mum taught me if you can't say something nice, say nothing at all-which I will invoke at this time.
    Besides, it has all been said-many times.
    Law school is a game-changer. We will applaud when we hear from you and be patient in between....mk

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    1. I did see that change, mk. It's true that it's very late in coming but at least it has happened. Interesting that it happened right after the state visit to the UK. I have other opinions on this but this isn't a political forum.

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    2. I like to think they listened to Jane.ha!
      I only mentioned it as a follow-up to Jane's remarks......mk

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    3. The Chinese president would do well to listen to Jane! I heard later this afternoon that the limit has only been raised to two children so there is still an embargo of sorts going on. One speculation from the international community is that they did it because the average age in China is now around 60 years old. Start messing with the natural progression of things and it backfires every time.

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  54. I completely and respectfully disagree with you Jane! This dress is drop-dead gorgeous! Kate's shining confidence in it proves she knows it as well. The color, pattern and yes, that stunning ruffle, are brilliant. In fact, the ruffle is what makes the design element of the dress and brings to it the haute couture feel. Without the ruffle, the dress would fall flat from a design standpoint. The antique Japanese floral pattern lends sophistication to the dress while the fitted bodice and modern ruffle element (reminiscent of boho-chic) makes it very on-trend. I don't think it proper to critique the hair and makeup of another person (which so often slips into the comment section of this blog)

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    1. Shall we callbit a flounce?.....mk

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  55. Jane,
    I love your blog and look forward reading every time you post! I think the dress was beautiful, but I was expecting something a bit more formal. I think it's wonderful that Duchess Catherine is branching out but this was a bit of a let down. I also visit this website:http://news.itnsource.com/?cat=Royal and they have short clips from each event. It gives me a further glimpse into the event, other than pictures. I did notice that near the end of the video, mentioned above, that she seemed reluctant to pose for pics, when asked...but did oblige, but she didn't give the photographers long before she walked off. I cannot imagine how she must feel at times about the publicity...especially from the paparazzi..so I expect there to be moments when she's reluctant to "grin and pose".
    Thanks Jane for this wonderful blog!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for the link, while I was watching the video of the Bond premiere I noticed a funny thing, by the end, when Rachel Woods passes in front of Prince William, he gave her a "look" (if you know what I mean) which Kate notices and then give him a "look" (not same kind of look, if you know what mean), hilarious to see how in the end of the day William is just like any other man that will be stupid enough to check other woman's "back" in front of his wife!

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    2. Thank you so much for the link. Not only is it great to see Kate in action...but I love London and this little clip...makes me feel like I am there for a few minutes.

      So this was interesting....the flash from the photographers was unbelieveable....it was like a strobe light. To a normal person that would be blinding....but Kate didn't even blink. I can understand why she wanted to get out of that...the glare has to be unsettling.

      Thanks for the link. I have bookmarked it for future reference.

      And might I add that Mr. Security is looking mighty fine! Glad to have him back on the job!!

      Laura in Canada

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  56. I think the Japanese print of the fabric is completely gorgeous. The cut and shape is beautiful if unexpected.
    It isn't summery or tropical at all but a classic Japanese style flower print. In deep more fallish tones with the deep blue. Who of us would not wish to look as good at a formal evening?
    She really pulled out the week of engagements well- keeping everyone on tenterhooks to see what she would wear next. Good work promoting her family and causes. She will not be out much for atime because you can see how much she is followed and it upstages (through no fault of their own) the next heir- her father -in-law and his older less glamorous wife.
    The Cambridges are not the next up to the throne and as such they are carefully deployed so as not to upstage the Prince of Wales. Imagine how much attention the Cambridges would generate in six months of this pace? She looked beautiful at each outing promoting the royal family with aplomb.
    No doubt she could run some of these anti bullying workshops herself. Who else could empathize with cyber bullying as she can already after all these years?

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    Replies
    1. I think the idea is to keep the Cambridges in low profile while the Cornwalls tour Australia most of November. They would have little attention if William and Catherine were to keep up this pace during that time.
      I don't doubt there will again be moans and groans and remarks that they are "hiding out at Amner Hall.".....mk

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    2. Surprise, surprise, but I do agree with Anon 2:08 and mk. And yes, they will hide out because a photo of Kate at Starbucks would be published ahead of "other events." May I add, "ha!"? :)

      Delete
    3. Spot on, Anon 2:08, about not upstaging C&C. As unappealing as it may seem to many, Charles is the next monarch. Also spot on, mk, regarding the "hiding out" comments that are sure to follow. Love or hate this dress, she sure went on break with a bang!

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    4. Imagine if they go on a holiday during the Cornwalls' trip. I wonder what press and attention they would get.

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    5. Probably the perfect time to go on holiday! The Cornwall's will get all the press while the Cambridges can be on an island retreat. Then again, William probably has to work so maybe just Kate and the kids will go with her family.

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  57. I think the dress was designed with the waistline to fall between the empire waist style and a natural waist. On the models and on its own it looks to me like a modified empire wist style. ali

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  58. I, too, struggled with what was so very wrong with this dress, and the biggest offender is the ruffle (I think we mostly agree). Jane pointed out the poofiness of it, and that's a difference I noticed between the pics in online stores and this live version. It looks to me like it was pressed to stand out from the seam rather than to lie flat, and to me that made a huge difference!

    I do love the print and the colors on Kate, and I love her spirit of play with this choice, but the weird bubble at the ruffle is awful. Although I wish the skirt had been sewn in one piece with those nice box pleats, if the ruffle had been ironed flat it would have been loads better. (It would also probably have tripped her as it is, so an inch or so off the hem wouldn't have gone amiss either.) It was interesting but definitely not my favorite.

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  59. I think Catherine’s unique fashion statement on the night of the 100 Women in Hedge Funds event (10.28.15) could use an insight I want to share bringing an interesting perspective to Catherine's more personal life and interests we might often forget about or overlook. I graduated with a degree in the History of Art, and so did Catherine. I am very fascinated with Japanese art, and find I love it for its delicate precision and detailed, solid color blocking, and nature-inspired elements that span centuries of its various artistic periods. Catherine could have very well come across this Japanese-inspired Erdem gown and fallen in love with its silk fabric as a nod to oriental dress and the print being very much in line with her proclivity to historical art, and perhaps (this is more of a wild guess), 20th century Japanese print art. Not to mention, the orchids and irises are lovely, symbolic flowers used across centuries on Japanese kimonos, scrolls, and later produced and celebrated in a vibrant series by our ever-popular favorite, Van Gogh.
    I know I would be over the moon to wear something like this that is a rare departure, out of the ordinary, exotic fabric print with flamboyance and fluff in the silk and overall unique bodice cut. She was probably relieved to find something that she could take a risk in, and still like. It was also a perfect selection for the Gala event as taking place in the Victoria and Albert museum. They have hosted numerous exhibits celebrating Asian art and I think people did not consider that Catherine considered she would be showing up and giving a nod as an ‘ambassador’ for art within the British museum.
    To me, the dress choice shows her proclivity to historical art that I have not seen clearly before, and/or overall attraction and taste to aesthetic. I think perhaps it is a glimpse into Catherine finding her grounding desires and identity in her new role as future princess and Queen. This dress, and her in it, tells me Catherine wants to find ways to enjoy, relax, and have fun (she’s young, beautiful, smart, and capable!) in her increasingly prominent (and popular) role in society where she can come into the power she has to make a difference in positive, uplifting, and even life changing ways. I believe this to be a very beautiful insight to the Catherine we all follow and adore, and I think putting the exact print we are seeing her in aside, and thinking more along the lines of the symbolic representation of what this print and dress selections means is what I am talking about here. She found a unique way to express herself at this point in time, and besides the usual comments of “I love it, I hate it” here on the FromBerkshiretoBuckinghamblog, I think there is more exposure and expression of who Catherine is than I have seen in a long time or perhaps ever get the chance to see. - Emily Rose Reeder, Encinitas, California

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    1. I love your name, Emily Rose. Interesting analysis. I also wonder if the nod to Japan was to balance the
      attention recently paid to China. Didn't William also visit Japan? And her fashion choices have often included
      subtle references lately. She seems to always have a reason for her choices.....mk

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    2. Emily Rose, I really appreciate your thoughtful comments here. We don't really know Kate as a person, but I think she is an old soul and a deep thinker. She doesn't like the spotlight, prefers to be a team player in the BRF and has always thought of herself as the "support system" be it her family's business, William or the Royal Family at large. Beneath the mirth and vivacity of the Queen Mother, there was a steel magnolia so to speak. I think Kate is like that too. This dress displays an exuberance we have seldom seen from her-- I like it and hope to see more of it. I don't think we'll see it on display much when she's with her husband or in a group setting with the Royal Family. I think it was very smart and thoughtful to show her photography skills with George and Charlotte's pictures this summer. In small ways, she is asserting herself as a strong albeit quiet personality.

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    3. Love your comment regarding the Queen Mother and Catherine as steel magnolias, HoosierLori! Also, to your point about Catherine being a team player is insightful as it is much in keeping with her steadfast nature and purpose she exudes for those she loves and for those causes she supports.

      Delete
  60. Jane-"shakes OF her Sartorial....?" she took her line up and shook it and the result is shakes of?
    I'm paying attention, Jane. ha!.....mk

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  61. This gown is not in my top five, but I don't think it's as bad as some have suggested, and I'm glad she is experimenting. The movement of the fabric is lovely and this is lost in photos.

    Also, since it does appear to be a nod to Japanese design, the gown would have been enhanced by an updo that would reveal her neck and the neckline of the gown. And perhaps a delicate flower (real or jewel) in her hair? Finally, the suede pumps and bag were not the best combination with a silk evening look. My vote would be for a patent or satin bag with matching pumps or sandals.

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  62. I'm a little confused at the insistence that this is a Japanese print. Erdem named every dress made from this fabric Ohana. Ohana is the Hawaiian word for family. It may have a Japanese feeling to it because both are, technically, Pacific Islands, but I don't believe the designer would have named this Ohana if they intended it to be a nod to a Japanese design.

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    1. Hi RobinfromCa, That is very interesting as you point out the designer called the series using this particular fabric we are looking at on Catherine,"Ohana" meaning family in Hawaiian. Hawaiian art does not share the historical significance and richness of print making like this fabric emulates, and perhaps the designer is referring to the flowers themselves as 'Hawaiian' or 'Pacific Island' origin like you say, but the print itself in its style of repetition, fine detail, and illustration-esque appearance alludes to Japanese print design. The inspiration and raisons d'être of the fabric from the designer seem to be a little nod and blend of both perhaps! - Emily Rose Reeder, Encinitas, California

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    2. Ohana is Hawaiian, but I thought Jane said it was based on a 1960's Japanese print. The Hawaiian Islands have a huge Japanese presence, but the Hawaiians have their own unique culture and artistic characteristics. I am surprised Erdem used a Japanese print and then a Hawaiian word for the "label". Was the artist living in Hawaii when he produced the print? Hawaiians are very proud and protective of their unique culture.

      Delete
    3. My husband is frequently in Tokyo for business for I pulled out his handy dandy English/ Japanese pocket dictionary and Ohana is there. It means flowers or a flower which makes complete sense. Knowing the Japanese, its not as simple as that. Might refer to a specific type of flower or a specific kind of floral style or treatment but we have a link to flowers nonetheless :)

      Delete
    4. Faith good to know. We have a Hawaiian restaurant near us called O'hanas so I assumed it was a word that originated in Hawaii. Thank you for checking. ali

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    5. Maybe it's the type of tulip in the fabric. Maybe it's the blend of the flowers into a "family" on the fabric. Maybe we're all reaching a little... lol!

      You're right, Faith, I'm sure it's not as easy as that. My husband has traveled to Japan so many times on business and their words have meanings and nuances that don't always translate well to English.

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    6. Or maybe he just liked the sound of Ohana Tulip Robin :) Has the name of a fabric pattern ever generated so much discussion?

      Ali, I had no idea that it was a Japanese word either but thought I'd check and see. Should have thought about it earlier but sometimes it takes me a while. :)

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  63. Just a little spelling correction-their history is unknown. As far as the dress, the colors are wonderful. As someone petite and about 8 inches shorter than Kate, I can't imagine wearing this. I think the print and design elements were overwhelming even on someone as tall as she.

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  64. I think Sophie is wearing this dress...

    https://erdem.com/shop/shirlette-dress/

    http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/sophie-countess-of-wessexattends-the-prince-albert-ii-of-news-photo/494844226

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    Replies
    1. Really good eye, royalfan! I think you're right!

      Delete
    2. Yes. And if you like to follow Sophie, her charities, and her fashion choices, www.hrhcountessofwessex.com is a great blog for that.

      Delete
    3. Robin, it was funny because Kelly's Erdem link had me looking through other dresses. And then I did my usual Getty photo check and there it was! :)

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  65. Not a fan of the bottom of the dress but I'm happy to see her take a fashion risk! This dress feels a little Dolce & Gabbana too, which she just wore recently also. :)

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  66. Any advice for those of us who want a long, lithe body? Serious suggestions only please.

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    1. I think any forms of exercise where you're building muscles while stretching them is the way to do this. Ballet (or ballet barre), yoga, pilates...the key is to actually do them! (This last is a note to myself, not to you.) I did take adult beginner ballet several times, and after a few months I noticed that my thighs were actually developing nice long muscles after many years of being quite frankly stocky. I hope that helps!

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    2. Anon 12:30... Pilates. I swear by it and it gives you muscle tone without bulk.

      I have the machine at home (bought it from a home shopping channel years ago) and use it daily. And, as you get older, it keeps things where they belong. You'll have to take my word for that one! :))

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    3. I, too, swear by Pilates. I have one by my bed. I should use mine daily and need to start. The Pilates promise (After 10 classes you feel a difference, after 10 more you see a difference, after 10 more you have a new body) is real. I just love it.
      Tsipa, I have been thinking of trying Ballet Barre, would you recommend it?

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    4. Haha, I wish I could tell you! I confess I haven't tried it yet, but I have loved regular ballet. I started it during a particularly stressful time in my life and I found that it took so much concentration to do the moves accurately that I couldn't think about the other things bothering me. It also really does create long, lean muscles, and all the stretching made me walk taller, as well. I think the key is to find a teacher that understands that a non-ballet dancer's adult body will not move the way that a dancer's or a child's would, so they're not encouraging you to move in unhealthy ways.

      My mention of ballet barre, yoga, and pilates is based on the intention to try them at some point...that point hasn't arrived just yet. ;-)

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    5. Jane, I have a friend that teaches Pure Barre and she swears by it. She has really toned up since she started doing it.

      Delete
  67. The Duke and Duchess will be at the Albert Hall on Nov 7, for the Festival of Remembrance and the Duke will take the salute at the march past on Sun 8th.

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  68. Hello all....

    Well I am late to this conversation ...been that kind of week!

    But I did glimpse at the photos on Tuesday and like alot of you cringed at the sight of the ruffle. Yikes! I have spent the rest of the week pondering this look - trying to figure out if it was a win or a fail...And just now I spent a lovely morning reading the comments ....all 150 of them!! Wow.

    So here is my verdict...this is a miss for me. But...not because of the dress. The dress is fine. In fact like alot of you I love the bright colors and the fabric is gorgeous...I don't even mind the ruffle. It is a bold and daring choice by the Duchess and I applaud her for it.

    So why is this a fail...it is not the dress. It is the styling that went along with the dress. This dress is high fashion and high fashion is most often a juxtaposition of different styles...femine vs edgy....clean harsh lines vs soft flowing fabrics. This is a daring choice because Kate's style is classic..timeless and conservative...Not items that mix with high fashion. And there in lies the problem with this look. She took a high fashion dress but didn't change her hair, makeup , jewlery or shoes. She only went half way.

    This dress is so femine and busy with the print and the ruffle ...everything else needed to be simple and clean. Imagine it with her hair - side part, slicked back, straight high ponytail. If you looks at the way Erdem styles the models on his website they have very straight hair ..simple. (By the way if you haven't checked out his website....you should . His fabrics are just gorgeous!) Also...and don't hate me for this....but the earrings. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the fact that she is wearing the Queen Mom's earrings. But as many of you said.....these are a statement in themselves. They get lost in the business of the dress and hair. Something simpler would have been better.

    Anyways...I think you get my message her. I applaud Kate for trying something new and going to the high end of the fashion world. Keep going Kate....just committ to it and go all the way.

    Jane...I have great admiration for you keeping this blog up while attendig law school. No small task. Just remember there is no rush to get postings up....as you can tell from the volume of comments on this post...we will be here...ready to jump in when you can find the time to post. We so appreciate your efforts!

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  69. Sonja from BavariaOctober 31, 2015 at 1:11 PM

    Well, I'm not a big fan of that dress. It isn't terrible or ugly, but I also don't really like it. The pattern is a bit too busy. The solhouette isn't bad, but I hate that ruffle!! The ruffle is the worst thing about the dress.
    I looked at the erdem website and I found two gowns I would have liked better:
    https://erdem.com/shop/lucetta-gown-hibiya-orchid/
    https://erdem.com/shop/aurelia-dress-ohana-navy/

    However, I liked that she tried something new. Many people had complained that she dressed too boring, plain and matronly - she tried to impress them and wire something completely different. I just prefer her 'old/normal' style which I don't consider as boring, but classic and sophisticated.

    I love the Queen Mother's earrings, they are so beautiful and regal. Sadly, we didn't get a good look at them because her hair was in front of them. I love Kate's glossy hair, but I would prefer her hair up if she wears such precious earrings.

    My opinion on this dreaa really depends. In some pictures, I don't like it at all, in others I like it. But the ruffle is still ugly.

    I think it's interesting that many of Kate's "royal" jewels once belonged to the Queen Mother. I think it's so great that Kate has shown us some serious bling lately :) love it!

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  70. Sonja from BavariaOctober 31, 2015 at 1:16 PM

    Jane, totally forgot to add that I greatly admire you. It's incredible that you still blog even though you're so busy with your studies. I don't mind if a post isn't published the same day as Kate's appearance, I just love reading all your thoughts on her outfit etc. Keep up the great work! :)

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  71. I am responding to a comment I read (in my inbox), but cannot find here.

    The exact reason for Kate not being given the RFO (I/we assume she does not have it) is unknown. We can only speculate, but let us say it is an example of "not the best judgment" on the Firm's part.

    Regarding Kate being unknown to the Queen when she married William...I do not agree.

    And I am not suggesting that they spent hours upon hours of quality time drinking tea and walking the corgis, but after the marital disasters of three of the Queen's children, and Charles' non-negotiable marriage to Camilla, the Firm had a lot riding on William getting it right. Aside from private conversations she may have had with her grandson, I suspect she was paying close attention to this relationship.

    Given William's position in the Firm, Kate was included in the fold in a way that was unprecedented. Although W&K did not play to the photographers during their courtship (something that frustrated the media and played into the hands of the naysayers), William did not hide the fact that she was his girlfriend, nor did he hide his relationship with the Middleton family.

    In 2006, Kate and the Middleton family attended William's Passing Out Parade at Sandhurst; in 2007 they accompanied her to the Diana Concert; in 2008 Kate sat next to Diana's sister at William's RAF wings ceremony. Later that year, Kate represented William at Peter and Autumn's wedding. And I lost track of the number of weddings they attended together or the informal polo weekends where Kate was in the company of Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton or William's cousin, Zara. William vacationed with the Middleton's...he spent time with Kate and her family in Bucklebury...the Middleton's were invited to Birkhall... ALL unprecedented and, IMO, very much on the Queen's radar.

    Now back to the RFO...did anyone else think there may have been a subtle PR message behind Kate wearing the Queen Mother's sapphire and diamond earrings? I have wondered since it was after the State Banquet...

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    Replies
    1. I agree completely, royalfan, on all of the points you made. There was a lot of press surrounding William and Kate's courtship but they were together for years and we did not know all of their movements during that time. I'm sure there were visits involving the family we don't have a clue about. The Firm definitely has a poor track record on some of these things but, again I have to point out, if it can be awarded to Camilla then Kate should have one too. The thing is, Charles was not in love with Diana and he's spineless. William, on the other hand, is completely in love with his wife and will not allow the family to treat her the way his mother was treated. He's independently wealthy because of the money his mother left him and he works. They would do well not to alienate him. He loves the private country life and he could still do all of his charity work without the "official" title. If Her Majesty wants to preserve the monarchy she needs avoid the mistakes she's made in the past.

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    2. Can you enlighten me what the connection between their dating history and not getting RFO? Maybe I am dumb.:-)

      I do not know what to do with statements like if Camilla than Kate should have one too. I personally rather go for earning it, kind of.

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    3. Hi Katie. You're not dumb at all! Many people speculate that Kate hasn't received the RFO because she is still an unproven factor because she was relatively unknown to The Queen before the marriage. In my mind people think this because The Queen feels as if she was burned by the scandals surrounding the divorces of two of her sons. The fact is, while Her Majesty had distantly known Diana and Fergie as they grew up, she spent very little time with them during their very short courtships with her sons. This is not the case with Kate, however. She and William dated for years and years and spent time together in social and, most likely, family situations. I don't know to which comment royalfan was referring, but this was my take on her response.

      As for my Camilla v. Kate comment - the whole history of Camillagate and the role she played in the destruction of Charles & Diana's marriage is well documented. Their affair destroyed two families and turned the tide of public opinion firmly against Charles (and the whole family in some respects) when he admitted the affair in a television interview after recordings of some racy phone conversations between he and Camilla were made public. (That's a whole different thing but, still, it did happen.) The Firm completely underestimated how much the people loved Diana and the monarchy took another hit after her death for many reasons. This is the reason that, although Charles is the Prince of Wales, Camilla is the Duchess of Cornwall. Calling her the Princess of Wales would never be accepted. And Charles, in order to gain approval for his and Camilla's marriage, capitulated to an agreement that she will never be called The Queen Consort but the Princess Consort upon Charles succession to the throne. Whether or not Charles honors that agreement is yet to be seen after The Queen is gone. Camilla has admitted she is not thrilled with that agreement.

      Kate, on the other hand, has never caused a scandal or embarrassed the family in any way. There have been some things that may have embarrassed her (thanks to privacy invasions) but she has never displayed untoward behavior. The fact that she has given birth to "an heir and a spare" in less than five years of marriage (and is so ill with each pregnancy), has represented the monarchy on royal tours, works hard for her charities, and is a loving wife and mother, IMO, makes her more than eligible for the RFO.

      Delete
    4. The Queen does not appear to give her heirs any orders too early, which is surprising when she wears two of the family orders, one from George V. She was not quite 10 years old when George V died, so could not have received it for any great service to him and she wasn't even in the direct line when he died.

      Delete
    5. Are orders ever given in a monarch's name posthumously?
      Good points, Jean. Thank-you. They are meant as a gift,
      not as a reward for royal chores done. I do think HM might possibly use the FO as a kind of a means of control or
      a way to keep all her royal ducks in a row. It could certainly explain the seeming lack of a pattern in their bestowal.I
      I can imagine such a scenario before the 2005 C&C nuptials.
      Also, the date used for the receipt of the FO is usually the date it was first seen being worn in public; that may not be a true indicator of when the gift was actually given.....mk

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    6. What a very interesting observation, Jean. I never put that together before. Even more interesting that Kate hasn't received it yet.

      Delete
    7. mk, said ducks would not be seen as being in a row if something were to happen to the Queen (and I do hope she has her mother's genes) and the next coronation would be on the calendar ahead of Kate being given the RFO. It would strike a note that the Windsor's would be wise to avoid. IMO.

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    8. It seems that each monarch has awarded their RFO in different ways for different reasons but QEII doesn't seem to be consistent in her method. I'm fairly sure they cannot be awarded posthumously. After the succession, the RFO would be from Charles. It will be redesigned and have his picture on it. It is awarded by the current monarch only to female members of the family.

      Delete
  72. It's odd that before Kate wore that recent blue Bond evening dress, people were wondering whether she was breastfeeding. But, her shape looked completely different in that gown.

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  73. Prince Harry has been busy publicising the Invictus Games in the USA. (Is he popular in the USA?) Shame it didn't work out with Chelsy or Cressida, I expected him to marry one of them.....

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Harry is quite popular over here but I wish he would have visited with dignitaries who do more for our wounded vets than those he met with. It looks good to mingle with the top of the heap but that's where the cut in our veterans benefits was spawned. It's disingenuous but, for them, the photo op was prime.

      I don't think Chelsey or Cressida would have made an easy transition into the BRF. They both seem like another Fergie waiting to happen. Harry needs to stop dating party girls if he really wants to settle down. On the other hand, he seems determined to deny that he's looking to settle down which is a reasonable request because every time he even looks at a girl the press have got him walking down the aisle with her.

      Delete
    2. Michelle Obama and Jo Biden have worked tirelessly for veterans and their families. It would have been
      awkward for Harry if the President had refused to see him.I doubt Obama gained from the "photo op," but I imagine
      Harry did.
      Congress spawned the cuts. I'm not aware of any presidential veto of a veteran's funding bill.
      I thought we didn't discuss politics here? This is a reply to the strong 09:10 political remarks-equal time, so to speak.
      Let's not throw US partisan innuendo into our Kate discussions. Jane has her hands full as it is.

      Delete
    3. I agree it is probably best to avoid American politics. :)

      Delete
    4. Robin, I do agree that Harry needs a different type of girl. Marrying a royal is not the best option for an independent, free spirit type (male or female).

      Delete
    5. Along the lines of finding the right girl.......

      I found this article on all the "requirements" Maxima had to agree to when she became engaged and I thought it was quite interesting. It's a different world...

      http://royalista.com/blog/juanikinder/108419/maximas-history-part-3-the-wedding/

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  74. Three different outfits worn by CP Mary...and I could almost see Kate in each one. :))

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3305488/Crown-Princess-Mary-glamorous-grey-pays-visit-courts-Netherlands.html

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the link! I'm in Texas visiting the grandkids so I haven't been keeping up. Crown Princess Mary and Queen Maxima both looked wonderful. I didn't care for the nude shoes with the grey dress but I want that pink coat!

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    2. Thanks for the link. Mary always seems to look elegant and appropriately dressed.

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    3. I agree with you royalfan, but we have already seen Kate in similar some outfits and she has been critizied. Posters felt the Peter Pan collar dress/coat was " too immature" and the double breasted coat, while in a deeper pink, was not appropriate either. As you have said before she can never win.

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    4. You're welcome, ladies. I really like Mary's style and I think it is the closest (among royal ladies) to Kate's more streamlined approach to fashion. I also admire Maxima's willingness to "go for it", including her large hats!

      Eva, you are correct and that is the reason I posted the link. I smiled to myself when I saw Mary dressed in styles so similar to what Kate has worn.

      Robin, enjoy your grandchildren.... :))

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  75. I don't know why, but I like this dress. I can't explain it, I just do. And FYI, I saw, I think on the Erdem website, that the print is called Ohana Tulip. 'Ohana' means 'family' in Hawaii, so your muumuu vibe is spot on!

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  76. I love this dress so much until it took a stop at ruffle town. If it had just gone straight down it would have been amazing. Because from the ruffle up I think it's perfect. It's almost like someone wanted a Barbie cake but they were broke so they just stuck Barbie in a cupcake and the ruffle is the cupcake. I notice Kate has dresses that are very very similar to runway designs but she has elements altered to meet her tastes, and I wish she had ordered this dress sans ruffle.

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  77. I know I'm late commenting on this dress, but I just wanted to say that I love everything about it--except for that darn ruffle! The colors are gorgeous on Kate, and the simple lines of the dress are classic and flattering. I usually prefer her hair down, but here, it would have been nice if she had worn her hair up to show off her earrings as well as the "v" neckline in the back of the dress. This would have been a lovely and somewhat different look for Kate, but the ruffle spoiled everything. I agree with another commenter who said that this dress is reminiscent of Princess Madeleine's wedding gown (which I also loved, except for the ruffle).

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