Although William and Kate's feet are still firmly planted on English soil, and despite the fact we are several days away from their departure, the spring 2016 tour of India has (in some ways) just begun! This evening, the Duke and Duchess hosted a reception at Kensington Palace to meet young people from India and Bhutan who are living, working, and studying in the United Kingdom. The event serves as a preliminary event to the tour and will certainly be grouped with the tour when we think back in years to come. Kate debuted the first dress of the "tour collection" by choosing this blue dotted dress by Indian-born designer Saloni Lodha.
We are already familiar with the label, because Kate wore Saloni last November to an event for the Fostering Network. The label features beautiful mixes of colors and textures and elegant designs with a contemporary edge. The Maxine crinkle dress Kate wore in November was a perfect example, featuring a diamond back and structurally pleasing box-pleats.
The first photo I saw of Kate tonight was from the back, but I knew the dress featured a plunging front. I couldn't wait to see a shot from the front to find out how Kate had handled that! Did she have it altered? Did she dare to bare?
|Via Victoria Murphy, Daily Mirror|
Kate compromised and, per usual, hit perfection in doing so. The dress is substantially the same as the original, but that plunging front is an illusion panel. You can see a secondary panel across the bodice, if you look carefully.
Kate loves plunging necklines and has favored them for many years. You likely remember all of these classics, which by happenstance, are also some of my favorite Kate Middleton looks ever.
Tonight's dress is so Kate in every respect. It is simple and slimming, highlighting her waist and trim build. Kate loves dots, and we see her gravitate toward them with some regularity. Many women might shy away from this pattern, but Kate really pulls off the mix of formal and sweet in one ensemble. I love the soft motion this gown has and particularly the high ruffled collar.
Kate has featured ruffles in her wardrobe for many years. But, just recently, she wore a high collar similar to the collar on this dress, which also featured a delicate little ruffle. The Vinnie Button Blouse from Reiss tapped into the same style. I just love it!
This dress had no need of a necklace and Kate generally doesn't carry a clutch when at an event at KP, so the accessories were very simple tonight. She wore her "Temple of Heaven" tiered earrings and Rupert Sanderson's "Malory" pumps in blue suede.
I am most interested to see just how much "India" Kate will wear this tour. I am thinking about this primarily because of our experience with the tour Down Under. (Doesn't that seem like just yesterday? Crazy.) Anyway, on that tour, we expected to see something of a never-ending runway of pieces from various Australian and New Zealand labels. We didn't, though. Instead Kate turned to established brands already in her closet to craft her wardrobe, and debuted only a handful of labels, most of which were American!
|Princess Kate wearing Designer Labels|
This time around, I think we will see her highlight the host country far more. I am going to say now that I think Saloni will be the Erdem of this tour. When Kate wore Erdem for the tour through Canada it was natural to assume that she would wear the brand a few times in Canada, because she was there, but that we wouldn't see the designer again. As we are all aware today, it became a staple label. I don't think Saloni will be a one-off for this trip--as, say Prabal Gurung was from SouthEast Asia--rather, we will see Saloni pop up in her rotation as time moves forward. At least, I hope that turns out to be the case. It is such a lovely label and fits right into Kate's style niche. (Sidetone: I love the girl leaning in really close to Kate. She knew not to waist this moment to rub elbows with royalty. :))
The verdict this evening is an absolute win. I loved every element of this dress. The delicate fabric, the airy sleeves, the faux plunge, the hint of skin in the diamond back, and the Victorian-esque collar. Oh, and not to forget Kate's absolute favorite color combo in the whole world, black and blue. The dots are actually deep navy, but they appear black unless the light is glinting just so. The Daily Mail has a video with highlights form the event, including the Cambridges in the courtyard getting their picture taken. At the end, as they return to the Palace, there is a sweet moment as William puts his arm briefly around Kate.
Here is the video:
Quick note: I promised you a post early this week and I didn't fulfill that promise. I have had at least one peeved reader expressing dissatisfaction. I apologize. It is very hard to balance law school and this blog and we are in a rather crucial time right now. Class loads are heavy and I am in the midst of a faux appellate oral argument competition. The last thing I want is to be standing in front of a panel of judges unsure how to answer the question on the First Amendment because I was playing on my blog the night before rather than reviewing case law. I really wanted to get that post up, but it just wasn't possible. I hope to soon. Certainly, I want to be clear that I expected to get it up, and I wasn't trying to lure people into checking the blog for no purpose.
I am excited for this tour! I hope you are, too!
I am excited for this tour! I hope you are, too!