After visiting the French embassy to sign a book of condolence for the victims of the Paris Attacks, Kate changed gears for a night of joy and celebration with The Fostering Network. She debuted a new dress from a brand new designer!
Kate has been involved with The Fostering Network before, but the charity is not one of her official patronages. She attended one of their events in January wearing her brown Hobbs dress to meet with workers and families who welcome foster children.
Tonight, Kate was on hand to present the 2015 Fostering Excellence Awards. A press release from the organization before the event noted:
The Duchess will meet children and young people, foster carers, social workers, and care leavers, and present the Fostering Achievement Award to three exceptional young people in celebration of their extraordinary achievements in the last 12 months. She will also be presented with quilts for Prince George and Princess Charlotte by fostered children.
George and Charlotte will soon have a storage room for their gifts that is larger than their mom's closet. ;)
This was an awards evening...for kids. What do you do with an awards evening where over half the attendees, including the award recipients are minors? Throw a tea-party! So, super cute. Who doesn't love a tea party?
Apparently, Kate thoughtfully made her way around to all the tables greeting and chatting with guests. All the photos have beaming kids and adults alike. I think it was a success.
Kate debuted a dress by Saloni. The label is London based, but the designer Saloni Lodha was born in India:
Saloni grew up in a traditional Marwari family and her love affair with textiles began at a very young age. The women in her community only wore sarees and her grandfather owned a fabric shop. When she first moved to Hong Kong in 2001, which then was dominated exclusively by luxury brands, she saw a gap in the market for something more personal .She decided to set up pop-up boutiques and sell one-off pieces of clothing made in collaboration with artisans back home. When she moved to London in 2004 she did a short course at St Martins, got some work experience and she started her own brand.
India is such an incredibly colorful and artistically rich country, and I think you can see all sorts of these influences in Kate's beautiful dress this evening. From the texture of the matelassé to the eye-popping blue, and the flattering box-pleats. And the diamond back Kate loves so much? This dress is a home-run.
Kate cinched the dress with her black belt and paired it with new shoes from Gianvito Rossi and her Catherine Zoraida earrings that we caught just a brief glimpse of at rugby. She carried her Mulberry "Bayswater" clutch. If I had to take a wild guess, my thought is people are not going to love this belt. I really like that she added a belt, which adds a certain panache, but this belt seems a little clunky for the lightweight material of the dress. It likely just photographs poorly, but it does seem a little faded. If memory serves, this belt got pretty harsh reviews the last time we saw it.
This longer hemline is a lot like the hem she chose for her evening reception in New Zealand. It is like it is her in-between length to signal she is changing her look, but not going floor length.
Of course, she also wore s similar silhouette just the other day to Shaun the Sheep & Co., which probably helped her as she moved about and leaned over to interact with kids.
Finally, doesn't this dress make you think of her bespoke Emilia Wickstead when pregnant with George?
This shot from The Fostering Network's Facebook page gives a nice view of Kate's hair and the v-back. I am just crazy about the box-pleats!
Verdict: I love, love tonight's dress! As you know, Kate has me addicted to longer hemlines these days, and the retro edge is super on-trend. I am always excited when ethnic and cultural elements are expressed in clothes, too. her hair was a nice twist and allowed us to see her lovely earrings and beautiful face. I also am a huge fan of Kate's signature blue/black combo. She was polished and radiant. Perfect night. Well, new belt, but otherwise perfect night!
Don't forget the StyleRocks giveaway is still open. This post has details. Someone is going to win the $500 credit for new, beautiful jewelry. It may as well be you. :)