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Déjà Vu in Dolce: Kate Debuts a Second Lace Dress at Festival of Remembrance

Saturday, November 7, 2015

William and Kate made their first appearance at the Festival of Remembrance tonight. The concert is held every year on the eve of Remembrance Sunday and always features a moving line-up of performances that pay tribute to Britain's fallen. It is a mandatory "black-only" kind of an event, and Kate was sure to follow suit. 


Kate doesn't really have anything that perfectly fits the mood of this evening in her closet, so I guessed she would go new, and she did. I did not expect her to wear what was immediately apparent as another Dolce & Gabbana! This lace pencil dress is essentially the same design as the aubergine piece Kate wore when welcoming the Chinese delegation. 


I mean, really, it is basically the same dress. I can almost see Kate trying to decide between these two and just going with both because she couldn't make up her mind.



The fun part is that we get a sense of the dress in a different shade and with a more subdued neckline. A lot of people felt the mandarin collar was overwhelming on Kate. Do you like it better with the modified neckline? One thing is certain. Seeing two dresses that are so similar tells us that Kate really liked something about this design.   


This dress is also looks very much like a close relative of the DVF "Zarita." Kate wore the Zarita to a similar kind of event. While not as solemn, certainly, the Royal Variety Performance is an annual evening to which the Queen is the primary guest. Kate's appearance at that night was a big deal, as was tonight's debut. I do like that continuity. 


Kate wore her Jimmy Choo "Aimee" pumps, carried her "Maud" clutch from Anya Hindmarch--both accessories she has been favoring--and wore her "Art Deco Diamond Drops" from Prince Charles:


Tonight, Kate was front and center within the royal pack, sitting next to her husband and Her Majesty the Queen. I love the people one level above peering down. 


Kate laughed and chatted with Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.


...and whispered with Prince William:


Perhaps the most endearing element of the royal night, however, was the interaction between the Queen and her grandson...and once removed-heir. William has always had a close relationship with his grandmother and that was very apparent tonight. The two are obviously very comfortable with one another.


On a night like this, I would imagine one would reflect on one's life and accomplishments, and inevitably, on the waning days left, be they relatively long or short. She must be very proud of William--the man he has become, the family he has formed with Kate, and the obviously bright future he brings to the institution of the British monarchy. 


The affection between the two is evident and it seemed like a night of happiness, as well as tribute.  I don't know what joke HM is making, but it sure must have been funny:


Despite the smiles, it was a very poignant evening, ending with a "snowfall" of petals in silent tribute to the fallen:


Fashion verdict: I really liked seeing this dress in a new configuration. Kate loves lace, and so do I. This dress flattered Kate's gorgeous figure and I did feel like the collar change enables the entire ensemble to breath a little better. I think that because it was so similar to several pieces the Duchess has worn, that it was not a terribly exciting dress. It fit the occasion, it just didn't make a sartorial splash. 


We are at the Cenotaph tomorrow to mark Remembrance Sunday. Until then... 

52 comments:

  1. Thanks Jane for the quick post. We all appreciate your time and effort and I very much enjoy reading your comments.

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  2. I really like the dress. It seems like in the last year she has acquired several black lace-type dresses. I'm wondering if she'll recycle a coat for tomorrow.

    I don't like her fringe/bangs when her hair is down. It ages her. He looked older tonight.

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    1. Fully agree, the bangs age her with hair down. It looks so heavy!

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    2. I know. I love the fringe when her hair is up as it adds layers and a playfulness. Hair down and she's instantly aged. They're looking longer so maybe she's growing them out?

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    3. I quite agree. The growing-out-part was also on my mind but I would think her hair dressers now better ways to handle this (sticking two needles above the ear to give it some styled form etc)
      I am more and more sure that her and my style will never be quite similar .. how could she even repeat that dress? The collar was really the only slightly interesting artistic hint to the eastern flair of the event, and now it's comepletely missing.
      I do like lace, but only if it is used minimalistically, purposely. Like florals/design patterns growing or reaching towards a body part or dress fabric change OR for elegantly hiding parts that could also be shown (like the wedding dress!)..I like to see lace in a dress as something playful.. but this heaavy use reminds me of some lingerie-style.. obviously not fitting neither for sleep nor for an event with the queen.
      Love the earrings.
      Love how happy the family seems all together!
      And I so miss Charlotte! I'm curious about her changing face! Anyone hopeful that we might get a christmas gift this year from both kids?
      Alice

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    4. I will not be happy if there is not at least one Christmas portrait of the children.

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  3. Hi Jane! Thanks for the post. I love this dress so much more than the Dolce she wore during the China visit. The collar on that one was a little high but the collar of this one is much more flattering. All in all she looked wonderful tonight.

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  4. Kate looks beautiful, but when are we going to see Charlotte again?!?!

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    1. The next time we see Princess Charlotte will be her wedding day

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    2. LOL 10:52. There were rumours of a Cambridge Mustique vacation in November (which is already upon us)....rumours of a early 2016 family tour of the Caribbean. A new family photo as an early Christmas gift to the public would be lovely. She may be there second child, but isn't she still a Blood Princess?

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  5. People are going to moan about how many black lace dresses she owns but..... this one is superb Great fit, elegant style, great length. 100%

    She wore a black lace (short) dress in NYC but she was 3-4 months pregnant so (1) it wont fit now (2) it was too short (3) not a good look generally so if its gone - I'm happy

    The DVF long black lace dress is not suitable for this event and, again, she wore it when pregnant. Loved it but unless altered, we wont see it again. I hope its altered (or maybe she gets pregnant......)

    She has worn a black "cut out" dress (with "strings" across the front) which glowed white in the flash lights and I think the most of us disliked it - so why would any of us want to see it again?

    And then there was another black "cut out" which was short, that she wore to a Sports Gala. I don't think the majority liked that one either. Technically these last 2 are not lace.

    So instead of moaning about too many black lace dresses, let's be glad she's ditched the ugly and bought a great one.

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    1. Well, thus far I haven't heard anyone moaning, but it is certainly well within the realm of the possible. I like many of Kate's various black dresses, but none of them were quite right for tonight, I agree. This was a lovely dress. :)

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    2. That's a very good point! I have heard some moaning on other blogs, but I agree that this new one is better than the older ones (and more appropriate for the function).

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    3. Here is the moaning then. I found all lace dresses very pretty but it is way too much. She became less interesting sorry. I think the 89-year old queen's style is more to talk about than Kate's.

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    4. This reminds me of myself and my black dress collection (I own several colourful dresses too) - you have different styles of black dresses: cocktail, gown, fun, something respectable/conservative (I.e. Funeral), work/business, etc. I won't judge Kate on owning too many black dresses, it's where/when she chooses to wear them that is where I'll have an opinion :-)

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  6. The lace detail resembles a poppy. I wonder if that is why she chose this dress. As always she looks very elegant.

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    1. I think you're right about the lace resembling a poppy, and that is really the only saving grace of this dress.
      How many near-identical black lace dresses does any one Duchess require?

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  7. Hi Jane thanks for the great post. Kate looked just so stunning tonight. Loved the dress. They looked so happy and relaxed.
    Cant wait to see them again tomorrow.

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  8. She does have another short black dress...the one she wore in NYC I don't get wasting thousands on a dress you basically have

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    1. Anon at 7.17 mentions that dress and also points out that she was about four months pregnant when she wore it. Also it was too short to be appropriate for this event. Thought she looked great today.

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  9. hi jane i love the dress they look so happy the queen looks lovely her dress too

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  10. Well.....I must admit to being surprised at her choice. :) The dress is appropriate and she looks great in it, but it is so similar to her black lace gowns. Regarding the mandarin collar vs. this neckline...with an updo, I think the mandarin collar is stunning.

    And I love the photos of William interacting with the Queen and Kate. He gets such a bad rap sometimes, but I see a very different young man.

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    1. royalfan, I too was surprised at seeing yet another lace dress--clearly a Kate-fetish. So be it...altho the two D & Gs are both very pretty and beat the two--three?-- Temperley black cocktail dresses Kate has worn by a country mile, IMO. As far as necklines go, I like both, but, as you said, the faux turtleneck neckline of the aubergine almost requires that the wearer puts her hair into an updo (or has a short haircut).

      Both dresses are, in a way, cocktail classics, especially the black. Hope she retains them, but also hope that she soon acquires a lovely LBD not using lace. (I often wonder if part of her choice of lace is that it is ornamental enuf to wear without a necklace--she could use a single string of fat, white pearls.)

      JC

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    2. JC, the more I think about it, the more I am convinced that choosing *another* black lace dress was very intentional on her part. She has the wisdom, and the confidence, to understand that it is better to be accused of not having an imagination than being a fashion icon. ;)

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    3. Which is kind of sad in my opinion royalfan.

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    4. I agree, Faith, and I think she shows an incredible amount of restraint given her position. But the alternative...? Sad too, IMO.

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    5. There needs to be a middle of the road option that is not without imagination but not necessarily fashion icon status in situations like this.

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    6. Faith, I don't disagree with you. And to expand on your middle of the road observation...sometimes she will bear to right, and sometimes to the left. It will depend on the occasion and, perhaps more importantly, on the guest list. :)

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    7. Yes, she does do that.

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  11. It is a very uninteresting choice in a lot of ways - I'd guess that that was intentional, to keep the focus on the occasion and not the fashion. For that reason I think the choice is just right; it's lovely, of fantastic quality, suitable, and boring in the best way possible. Well done, YRH. :-)

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  12. I was eager to see what Kate was wearing, caught a glimpse of her on the television tonight at the Festival; my reaction was 'Oh no! How repetitive! Yet ANOTHER black lace dress'.

    I am not even sure whether a dress with so much lace is suitable to wear for such a solemn occasion, a bit 'dressy/cocktail in nature'....

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    1. My thought about all the lace was all the peek-a-boo skin. A lace dress with more lining to cover more skin would have been a bit better.

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    2. The neckline is high, the hem is long and the style is staid. Any less skin and it would fall into the antiquated widow weeds category. She is so young. Why do people want her to dress like an old woman?

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  13. We have seen so many variations on this theme that not exciting, nor a sartorial splash sums it up well. This dress is predictable and not memorable, and relatively indistinguishable from her other black lace cocktail numbers. Also, I just don't think its all that pretty. The lace pattern is ponderous while the dress makes her look much bigger than she actually is. Also, I think a lower neckline like that of the black lace DVF is much more flattering. Not liking the ordinary everyday hair with this dress either. Sorry I'm complaining so much but just do not find this attractive on a young woman. I am glad that she and William were at this event. I think its significant that they are associated with this high profile
    engagement for senior royals.

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  14. Classic and elegant and perfect for the occasion.

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  15. Kate looked beautiful, and the dress is nice. But I thought the Queen had more style tonight than Kate. The Queen looked very chic in her all-black ensemble with no hat and no fuss and not too many diamonds. Well done, your Majesty! :) Kate is beautiful no matter what, but I don't love these lace dresses, I really disliked the aubergine dress. I don't love lace as a rule, it either looks old or a little Kardashian for my taste - the exception was that fantastic beige McQueen she has worn twice. That was a knock out! And these hemlines are killing me. They are about 2 - 3 inches too long, which looks a little matronly. I don't suggest she should wear short hemlines, but something slightly above the knee would be perfect, or something more fitted like the McQueen so the longer hem still looks stylish. When they are not as fitted, cover the knees, AND she wears matching shoes, or dark shoes, it just looks old. She used to wear nude heels a lot, and her legs looked incredible. A royal mother of two doesn't need her legs to look incredible I suppose, but i think it's a shame to hide Kate's natural beauty behind stuffy lace and long hems and heavy fringe, and hose, god I hate the hose. Oh well, as usual she was perfectly appropriate and lovely, and truly the perfect duchess for sweet William. LOVED the photos of him laughing with his royal gran. Charming. :) And gosh I can't wait to see Charlotte again, wish Kate would release some more home photos of the two children.

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    1. "The Queen had more style...." I think that was the intent. When sitting next to HM, take care not to out-shine her.
      I think Kate looked lovely Very modest-no flashy necklace or earrings. Simple hair style. Modest hemline adequate to cover her knees when sitting. Jane and anon 07:12 got it right-the other black dresses were either an inappropriate length
      or probably the wrong size by now.
      I think perhaps part of HM classy look was the stunning pearls. Hard to miss. And her smile.
      Maybe some day Catherine will be gifted such pearls, although they are a trademark of HM.
      Jane, who is the woman behind the Queen wearing, apparently, the RFO ? ( not meaning to restart that rather heated
      debate ).......mk

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  16. Thanks Jane for the great post- you always have the nicest pictures! I love HM and William together! I think this is a lovely dress and very suitable for the occasion. I am sure we will see this one repeated in the future. I thought she might repeat one of the other dresses in her closet so that she could be as subdued as possible since she was in with the "royal pack" as you so eloquently put it. I'll put money on her repeating her Temperly "Noa" coat tomorrow since she's standing next to Queen Maxima tomorrow. And maybe a bigger black hat. Maxima is always snazzy and wears some stylish chapeaux!

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  17. In the purple vs. aubergine vote, I weigh in on aubergine, and I loved the mandarin collar on her. I wasn't a fan of tonight's dress on Kate, despite the fact that it's virtually the same dress, with the collar different. I don't know what I don't like ---- it's 1:00 a.m., far beyond a time when I can think logically ---- but I don't.

    I know that this isn't the subject of this blog, but I had a great deal of difficulty dealing with seeing how poorly the Duke of Edinburgh looked this evening, especially in the photographs taken of him in the car. He's virtually skeletal. Very upsetting to see what the ravages of age do to a once extremely handsome man. It took my mind completely off couture.

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    1. I share your concern and regret about the Duke's appearance. I think he still presents a dashing figure most times..
      I wonder if evening engagements are more difficult for him, or perhaps not a good day or not a flattering camera angle. Or the flash lighting....mk

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  18. Sonja from BavariaNovember 8, 2015 at 1:21 AM

    I like today's outfit because I love lace. However, as you've said, it isn't too special or exciting as she has several similar styles in her wardrobe. I would have preferred if she had changed the black clutch for her red bow mcqueen clutch to coordinate with the poppy (or would that have been against the all black dress code?)

    But, I really loved her hair! It looked great that she had it falling down her back, but still open. This looks do great as her hair (which I absolutely love!) can sometimes be a bit... overwhelming or just too much... to busy and destracting from the dress, you know? Only in a nuber of cases, but for example with lace.

    It's always great to see them interacting with the other royals.
    Do you think they'll release Christmas pics in december as they did last year? I really hope so, o'd love to sseecute photos of George & Charlotte (or even better, a family shot of them, W&K AND LUPO!)

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  19. This was a lovely dress-- and more important exactly appropriate for the occasion. I note that she kept her jewellery to earrings and the poppy. brooch.
    Since the end of 2012 , Catherine has had two pregnancies, so her body shape has changed before and after---and bodies do not conveniently change in the same way, so I suspect other black lace dresses she wore then, would not now fit. The one she wore for the Command Variety performance was full length and not suitable for last night's event.
    In my opinion HRH dresses for the occasion.
    Incidentally, lovely to see HM so animated and enjoying having her grandson beside her.

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  20. Totally underwhelming dress. Sorry, but I fail to see how this dress can be called a nice piece. She has a lot of far better lace dresses to choose and yet, she wore a new, perhaps expensive boring and trite lace dress. It was also very unflatering and made her bust looks strange. Disaster. Look at the Duchess of Wessex! That was a nice and proper choice.

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  21. Kate looked lovely and I still like the fringe. The dress... I'm bored of "Kate + (black) lace," but it was an appropriate choice and looked fine. I'm excited that she's wearing some Dolce! Keep up the good work, Jane!

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  22. This is really stretching the black lace topic, but- what was Kate wearing at St Andrews in the fashion show where William
    supposedly fell for her? That, and the long hair-if it ain't broke, don't fix it. William's her guy.I think she cares much more for
    his opinion than that of Josephine Public.

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  23. Agree that HM looked lovely. Kate would look great in a winter-weight fabric. I did love her hair worn straight in back rather than the hideous sausage curls or weighty hair over her shoulders. The dress is so shapeless:I had to search for her waist.

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    1. Agreed! The dress is fine (nothing exciting, nothing hideous) but the tailoring left me puzzled. It looks loose around her waist and it makes her look much bigger than she actually is.

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  24. You are correct the two dresses look almost identical, I checked the lace earlier because they looked so close. The plum seems to fit better so either a different size or just a different cut or just a different cut in the assembly line:), not to be cheap but I assume the dressmaker just swopped out the lace and neckline style and the rest was the same. i.e. same cut for slip, same cut except for neck on the lace sheath. This is were it is so clear how ridiculous most designer fashion is. I love well made clothes but Ido not where you go to actually find that anymore.

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  25. I think this dress probably looked stunning to Kate when she tried it on at home in front of the mirror. Here though, in a dark setting, the dress blends with the background so makes Kate look a little shorter and wider than usual because you can't see the silhouette clearly. But the occasion being what it was, black was key and I bet she looked fabulous in person though!

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  26. I love everything D&G and so I love this dress. I'm going to disagree with the consensus though and say that I preferred the aubergine, mostly because I loved the mandarin collar!

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    1. I agree with you on the mandarin collar. And, with an updo and diamond earrings....major wow-factor, IMO.

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  27. I thought Kate looked nice here. I don't mind her wearing yet another black lace dress. She obviously loves lace. However, I much preferred the black lace dress she wore in NYC last year. In fact, even though I'm not a big fan of lace in general, the NYC dress is one of my all-time favorites. I'm not sure why, but I really liked it on Kate. Maybe it was the three-quarter length sleeves, or the fuller skirt. I always thought the NYC dress was very flattering and youthful looking. This dress is similar, but much more tailored, so I suppose it was more appropriate for this occasion.

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