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.
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! :)