Kate undertook what is likely her last public engagement of the year (private events like the Queen's family lunch at Buckingham Palace and the walk to Church on Christmas morning excepted) and it was a perfect festive send-off as she joined the Anna Freud Centre's Family School Christmas party.
Kate was recycling for the fourth time. She wore the bespoke McQueen she debuted for the Thames River Pageant in 2012. This was a very popular ensemble when she first wore it, although we didn't get a lot of great full-length shots on that occasion, because she was on the boat:
The Duchess wore it again in a more private capacity when she was photographed on her way into Buckingham Palace for the Queen's family Christmas luncheon in 2013:
She tapped the dress a third time when she accompanied the Queen to a reception honoring the Dramatic Arts at Buckingham Palace. On that occasion, the princess mingled with Hollywood celebrities including Uma Thurman, Joan Collins, and The Queen, I mean, Helen Mirren. Oh, yes, and that guy who plays...who does this guy play? Does he play Prince Charles in something? I don't know why I know him. Oh la la. Fried brain here.
Today is its fourth wear, which is a good showing for this dress. It is very flattering on Kate. It shows off her trim figure, but the smart tailoring also highlights her curves. The design creates a polished and professional vibe, but the playful, pleated skirt keeps it flirty, fun, and young. I really like this dress on Kate, and obviously she is a big fan, too.
It was a good choice for a lot of reasons. Kate looks fantastic in it, it is a style she loves, and it was the right color. All in red, she coordinated perfectly with the children, the green of the Christmas firs, and the twinkling lights.
I was also interested, though, to see another circa 2012 dress get a recycle. Although this dress has seen multiple recycles since, it is a dress that hearkens back to that first year and a half. It is like Kate is circling back through her closet. It started on November 18th when Kate recycled the Matthew Williamson dress she first wore in 2012:
Two days later, on the 20th, Kate recycled another piece that dates from Christmas 2011! The "Angel" fit & flare coat was publicly debuted in early 2012 at St. George's Park, but was mothballed until her trip to Wales.
On her next public engagement, Kate again repeated a 2012 ensemble. This time it was her wildly popular L.K. Bennett separates. I honestly didn't think we'd ever see this ensemble again. Mostly because it was such a huge success it struck me as the sort of outfit you'd retire. (Although she recycled it admirably)
Then, although she debuted a new coat, Kate recycled her Emilia Wickstead pleated dress. You may find this to be a bit of a cheat, but lumping the teal versions with the pink, the "Alice" dresses as a group were first debuted in 2012. Initially, we saw the pink version at a luncheon marking the Diamond Jubilee and Kate repeated it almost immediately at a garden party. So, although the teal isn't technically a 2012 recycle, it kind of is. :)
I note this in the Welcome page of the Kate's Clothes website, but the Queen's wardrobe is very carefully curated. All her clothes are carefully noted so she always knows when and where to recycle. I am interested to see Kate draw constantly from 2012 in these past engagements. She must be in the mood for that style. We have already chatted about what a mini Golden Age it was for her, so I think fans are excited to see the rewears. (NB: Keep an eye on this little guy. He's the star of our show)
Today was a really lovely, lovely close to Kate's official public engagements. She has certainly made good on her press office's promise that she would highlight mental health this fall/winter. Closing it all off with the Anna Freud Family School party could not have been more appropriate. The Duchess chatted with the kids who are celebrating the end of the term (along with certain relieved law students) and even played the drums with the group of enthusiastic youngsters.
This little guy really stole the show, though. He was the lucky man who got a parting hug from the world's covergirl. Notice how Kate is, like, in the midst of workout here. Let me break it down for you. She is in a deep squat, holding a weight in her left hand (the gift basket), and extending her right arm for the hug. She is working her core, her legs, her arms...and looking amazing. This woman is my hero.
It's inspiring you to find your Pilates mat, I know it is. The below photo wins "sweetest shot of the day" award. That smitten face just warms my heart:
This little guy was definitely enamored. My favorite photo is this one. As Kate is leaving, he rushes out for a final look and a wave as Rebecca Deacon looks on with an amused smile:
He was apprehended by a staff member who ushered him back into the building... I think we can all relate with that face: unrequited love. Welcome to adulthood, kid.
Kate turned just in time to catch a farewell glimpse. It was so Love Actually.
Well, that, as they say, is that. I think the Queen will host her family luncheon tomorrow. She usually holds it on Wednesday and then everyone can disperse to their various holiday destinations. As I have mentioned in an earlier post, I think that Kate and William will take their children home to Anmer in Norfolk and that the Middletons will join them there for a royal family Christmas. I am excited to see what Kate wears to the luncheon and even more excited for Christmas day! Oh, and yes, Mr. Security was on the job. Day made.
See you all soon!