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Royal Blue: Kate Sparkles for SportsAid's 40th Anniversary

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Tonight the Duchess of Cambridge hosted a birthday bash for one her charities, SportsAid! Kate threw the gala evening celebrating the 40th anniversary at the State Apartments of Kensington Palace, and as we had all hoped, she wore an evening gown. 


The evening began with an outdoor cocktail hour along the lawns of the Kensington Palace.

SportsAid

It was an appropriately swanky affair with a gracious classical music soundtrack to accompany the champagne and canapés as guests met and mingled.

Kate made the rounds and was introduced to past and present athletes from the SportsAid program. It was a fascinating mix of black-tie and laid back. There was a basketball hoop set up as well as a number of other sports ranges, including archery. Below Christine Ohuruogu, an alumna of SportsAid and an Olympic athlete, tries her hand with the bow.

SportsAid

The evening moved inside for dinner in the State Apartments where the program included a brief message from the Duchess in which she told us how much she loves sport...just in case you haven't been paying attention these past five years. :)


I am looking for a more complete video, but in the meantime, Emily Andrews to the rescue with her awesome Twitter reporting. It isn't included in this video, but Emily said in her tweet that Kate mentioned cheering on athletes at the Rio Olympics. I just asked her if Kate implied she would physically attend the Olympics and am waiting to hear back. I assume poor Emily is in slumber land in London right now as I type up this post on the other side of the pond. To be updated!


This dress is by French label Roland Mouret, a brand with which Kate has had an interesting relationship. She has patronized the label only a few times across her five years as a royal, but those three times almost evenly span the entire period, suggesting that she likely shops Roland Mouret regularly. Casting back almost to the beginning, Kate wore Mouret's "Manon" dress to board the flight that whisked her to her first overseas tour in 2011.



The Duchess turned again to the brand when she accompanied William to the Thirty Club in 2012. The white Lombard gown channeled old Hollywood glamour and stepped out of Kate's normal style sufficiently to cause a sartorial stir. 


It was a smash hit and was one of those dresses that only got better with time, garnering more rave reviews when the princess recycled it for the Nelson Mandela movie premiere in 2013.



Tonight's Nansen gown is a long overdue addition to the exclusive little band of Mouret pieces in Kate's Closet. The dress ricocheted to the opposite end of the spectrum from the Lombard, featuring modern and trendy details, such as the tucks and panelling that give the dress the signature geometric feel of a Mouret dress. At the same time, you can clearly see the two gowns are from the same creative source--both are streamlined in their own ways, carefully tailored, and sporting exposed zippers. 

Emily Andrews on Twitter (@byEmilyAndrews)

I love, love, love this dress, possibly, because it reminds me of one of Kate's absolute best, figure-hugging day-dresses: the Ridley Stretch Cady dress from Stella McCartney. Tonight's evening gown is the sexy grown up sister of that striking dress. 



Aside from the very similar shades of blue, I am particularly drawn to the exposed darts. Reversing the darts so they are on the outside creates fantastic detailing that is just precocious enough to make a statement without being fussy.


The verdict is an easy win. This stately evening gown shows off Kate's slim figure to perfection, and highlights her beautiful décolletage with the "cold-shoulder" style. I do not like the "cold shoulder" look in, say, everyday tops, which I have seen quite a lot of recently, but in its appropriate setting, it is very sophisticated. I think what is really getting everyone excited is that Kate broke away from her usual style when she tapped this structured and contemporary dress. The SportsAid blue was also described by royal reporter Richard Palmer as Egyptian blue, which conjures up images of Queens Nefertari, Hatshepsut, and Cleopatra and all the wonders of Ancient Egypt. I'm on board. [For my book fans, I am almost done rereading one of my favorites, Child of the Morning by Pauline Gedge. Highly recommended if you like Ancient Egyptian historical fiction.]


I love this shot of Kate with the kids by the sunken garden, because for anyone who has ever visited London and the Palace, this is a very familiar garden. I have a number of shots posing in front of this as I desperately hoped that Kate Middleton would wander by. :) No one came that afternoon, so it is good to finally see a royal gracing the scenery.

Emily Andrews (@byEmilyAndrews)

Kate recycled her shoes and clutch, the Criss-Cross sandal heels by Gianvito Rossi (see above) and recently acquired black Prada respectively. But, she added a special sparkle by debuting jaw-dropping earrings from Cartier that match the Trinity necklace Kate first wore when she debuted the McCartney dress. (This really was the same ensemble as that day at the NPG, but in evening form!!) These are Cartier's Tri-Color Trinity hoops. The 18k gold is studded with a combined 7.35 carets of diamonds and costs a cool $49,000. 




The necklace and earrings together would have cost over $100,000 and whenever I see the Trinity pieces I have to wonder again who gave them to her? Were they William's wedding gift? Although we often associate the three rings as a subtle tribute to sport and the Olympics, they really represent eternity and love before all else, and given the hefty price-tag I think they must be very special and mark a particularly important occasion in the Duchess's life.


This was an event to put a bookmark on. Kate was drop-dead sexy and looked every inch the Princess she is. This is further confirmation of the hypothesis I advanced about the Duchess's budding style profile. Three years ago she would have worn a cocktail dress and £35 earrings, and tonight she wowed in a Bond-girl worthy ensemble and dripping in almost $50,000 of bling.  I look forward to many such appearances at this year advances and into the future.








54 comments:

  1. Stunning! She is absolutely beautiful and I love everything about it! The color is just gorgeous! It's just magnifique ❤❤

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  2. And thanks for the book shout out! I am obsessed with Egypt and definitely going to look for this book :)

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  3. Jane her speech said she couldn't wait to cheer on 'our teams' competing in Rio. I didn't take that to mean she was going. I just don't see them going due to the Zika issues. Even if there is a remote chance for a thard baby or what if she accidently became pregnant again? I just do not see them risking it. So many athletes are dropping out and who knows what will happen by July. I personally wouldn't go if I was child bearing age ( paid my dues x3 to the world jk.. love my children not dues at all). Even if there was no issue it just seems unlikely for them to go to Rio anyway. That is a long trip and I doubt they want to be away from the children. I just can't see them going but maybe I am wrong. I don't even think William or Harry should go.

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    1. I agree with you on the Zika virus issues, Diane. The CDC has put out another warning about here. There are also some other serious issues surrounding these Olympics. I saw a story the other day that they had not sufficiently cleaned up their water supply as they had promised the IOC and they have also found some shoddy construction at some of the Olympic venues. Just a couple of days ago a brand new $12 million cycling bridge collapsed and two people were killed. I worry about our athletes going there at all.

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    2. Not to mention the state of affairs with their President being bascuslly under house arrest. The government is not stable. The masses are not happy campers. I would stay far away RobinfromCA

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  4. Sara from CanadaJune 9, 2016 at 10:19 PM

    Please post a pic of you by the garden! Would love to see it.

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    1. That would be a great post. Following in Kate's footsteps and dressed in a repliKate. I am curious as to how being an avid royal watcher has influenced not only your clothing, but also your life/lifestyle. Jenny

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  5. Bond Girl indeed! Very Sexy! Thanks Jane for the great pictures and post as always! Love this look and can't wait for Kate to continue her growth in the fashionista standings. This is cutting edge fashion and yet still princess appropriate- love it and I would rank it up there with the ivory gown of Roland's!!!

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  6. All I can say is: Damnnnnnnnn girl. :)

    She. looks. stunning. Her figure is gorgeous in that gown, her hair is perfection, and the earrings are to dye for. She hit it out of the ballpark.

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    1. Absolutely! Tottal win on all points! This is the Kate of 2011-20012 and I am so happy to see her back.

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  7. Love the earrings. The dress is very pretty but the zipper detracts, I think. I know the exposed zipper is popular right now but I'm not crazy about it in this dress.

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  8. Jane, your post is awesome. The DoC truly shined at this event. Dress, shoes, earring a perfect presentation. Yeah princess William. Ruth from Brooklyn.

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  9. A vision of loveliness...

    Fabulous dress. Beautiful colour.

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  10. She looks stunning in this dress! What a bold choice for her and yet it wasn't so avant garde that it was inappropriate. I loved that she wore her strappy sandals with it. My favorite thing overall is those earrings! Absolutely stunning in every way! Maybe a 5th anniversary present from William? If I had one little criticism it would be that it's probably time to try some other colors. The gown is beautiful but she wears this color a lot!

    I too have wandered these gardens many times and walked in that leafy tunnel never to see a royal. Not Diana during her day nor Kate during hers. Sigh.

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  11. wow it is like in a dream and kate is the beautiful angel! just stunning! thank you for your post jane.

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  12. Think I may have just about died and seen Heaven--sorry, it just wasn't enuf to say that I loved what what I saw. Too tepid.

    Why, oh why, hasn't Kate turned to Roland Mouret more often? (The same dress is available in black--truth is, I would've preferred that--but Kate, as always, preferred to support team colours over herself, a state of affairs which I can barely stand. Does she have no concept of her own beauty? no desire to enhance it? But I shouldn't quibble--she looked utterly delightful--and those earrings, no doubt borrowed from the jewellers, were the icing on the cake. Perfection. (Go ahead, royalfan--or anyone else-- ask me why I think they were borrrowed finery; I would be happy to give you my POV.)

    But, in the end, who cares? She looked like the princess she is, albeit by marriage as opposed to being born Of The Blood Royal, like Bea and Eug.

    SportsAid is a perfect patronage for Kate; it expresses so much of what she might have been--in another lifetime, one without William, IMO.

    JC

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    1. I will bite JC..Why borrowed?

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    2. Anon 12:30, Why do you think the earrings are borrowed? What about the matching necklace??

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    3. I doubt those earrings were borrowed from the jewellers. She has likely had them for the same length of time as the necklace (being as they are a set), we just had not seen them before now.

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    4. I too wondered if they were borrowed but then decided they weren't. I've never heard of a member of the royal family borrowing jewelry for an occasion the way those who walk the red carpet do. They borrow from the family collection but I've never heard otherwise.

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    5. Agree Robin but it was reported the Monica Vinader set was borrowed the first time Kate wore it. The designer herself was quoted as saying Kate's staff borrowed it.
      Of course this designer also has a picture of Kate on her website advertising the set so...

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    6. I wonder if she borrowed the MV to see if she liked it but she's worn it twice so I'm assuming she bought it. Maybe this is the same sort of thing.

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    7. JC, I'm laughing as I respond because I did think, "why?" before you dared us to ask. My guess was a that these earrings (and the necklace) were a personal gift (wedding, most likely).

      Lizzie, I don't recall reading that, but you are making me look...... :)

      I loved the look. Every bit of it! Modern and bold, yet very Kate. And the earrings prove my point that she really does need substantial earrings if she is wearing her hair down.

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    8. Lizzie, Kaye, Robin, Royalfan--and whomever. I think that the matching necklace may be hers, gifted by Tiffany when Kate visited the good old USA back in 2011. Entirely possible. But the earrings? Nope, not buying into it; there have been far too many occasions in the intervening years when they would've been the perfect accessory. Nor do I think that either William or Kate's parents are in the habit of gifting Kate with such expensive presents and, Kate, herself, cannot earn a livelihood--both the Queen and Charles would slice her and dice her; in other words, she's broke.

      Nope, these earrings are borrowed finery--and possibly, ditto, re the necklace. And BTW, Diana borrowed jewellery--royalfan, I am thoroughly ashamed of you, since you call yourself a Diana fan, and yet, have neglected to mention this mini factoid. Thoroughly ashamed! Apparently, Charles preferred to spend his money on his chief--but not only--mistress.

      I believe, altho it may seem crazy to some--heck, it strikes me as crazy too--that much of the jewellery Kate wears is borrowed, either from jewellers or from Carole or Pippa. Ditto, re some of the shoes Kate wears. So there!

      JC

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    9. Sorry, I meant to say Cartier, above. My bad.

      JC

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    10. Sorry, I meant to say Cartier, above. My bad.

      JC

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    11. JC, thank you for making up for my "C-" post. YES, Diana did borrow jewelry and it is well known that Charles has been taking care of Camilla in this department since before they married. The Edwardian fingerprint is on so many of her pieces.

      I would go along with your theory on this. [Lizzie, I cannot find the link ... ?] And as far as the earrings are concerned, it is possible that they have been in her possession all along. Consider her history with earrings once she married into the royal family... She has a penchant for wearing very small pieces and, while they may be beautiful and be packed with meaning (on a personal level), they do not photograph well or balance the look when she wears her hair down. I think it's only recently that she started to experiment with this look, and the blue lapis earrings are a perfect example of it. My two cents...

      By the way, you're not suggesting that her Kiki McDonough earrings are in the borrowed category? My guess is William or Mike and Carole.

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    12. Here is one recent link. There are others too.

      http://www.thecourtjeweller.com/2016/05/kate-wearing-borrowed-jewels.html?m=1

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    13. Thanks, Lizzie. :)

      I've been trying to find the link associated with the necklace that matches the earrings here, but so far have not been successful.

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  13. Beautiful; elegant and every inch a Princess.
    The skirt of this dress reminds me of Pippa's dress at the wedding. It should banish for all time any suggestion that she is too thin, just elegantly slim and shapely.
    The earrings are to die for.
    She did say she would be cheering the team at the Olympics, but I do that from my sitting room.
    Today's service is on BBC1 from 9:30 and repeated at 7pm on BBC 2.

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    1. I was reading all of the headlines about this event and they all talked about how beautiful Kate was - except the DM who said she was too thin. Figures! I also believe she was talking about cheering from home the way most of us do.

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  14. Simply stunning.

    My only wish is when she's got interesting shoulder stuff going on (like the fern dress in NZ) that she put her hair up! I used to have long hair quite similar to Catherine's (though red, not brown), and a glam up do was always so much fun to do. :)

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    1. I agree, but I bet she thought an updo would have made the ensemble too formal for the outdoor setting, which I would agree with. Perhaps a sporty (but fancy) ponytail would have ticked both boxes, AND given us a look at her shoulders? My guess is she considered that, and figured it would be a bit too "on theme." And I don't fault her for it. It's a tricky event to style for.
      -TMM

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    2. I don't mind her hair down with this particular dress. Since Kate is tall and the dress is long and such a strong color having her hair back might have taken way from her face and made her look just too "blue."  But I do understand your point Jessica about shoulder details not being covered up and have felt that way about other dresses she's worn. A french braid might have been a compromise between a formal updo and a sporty pony. I don't know if I've ever seen Kate wear one though.

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    3. Lizzie, you may know how often I vote for an updo, but I agree with you 100%. It would have been over the top. The gown and earrings were perfect.

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  15. Simply stunning. I know I am in the minority but I didn't like the white Roland Mouret - I thought it swamped her tiny frame a bit - but this blue dress is perfection. Kate looked radiant.

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  16. Does any blog ever cover her make-up. I imagine she does it herself. It always looks so natural, never overblown!
    Karen

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  17. Overall Kate looks great.  I do think this kind of shoulder detail has been done to death on casual clothes but it looks elegant here. But I am SO over exposed zippers. I know its a trend and exposed zippers are this designer's signature but yuck especially on an evening gown. And they pose a problem for those who do not like to mix metals in one outfit. (What matches industrial steel?)  I like the look of the larger more dramatic earrings. So much of Kate's jewelry is dainty and while quite expensive smaller pieces can sometimes "get lost" under her hair or look too young for her. These particular earrings don't really appeal to me (49 K...really? They must look better in person) but I do like the size. I would have liked to see a bracelet with this outfit and perhaps a bit more makeup esp lip color but overall a win.

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  18. Knocked it out of the park, Kate! Well done!:))) Lovvvvvve everything about this look! As for Rio, Kate and William didnt even travel as far as Orlando for their own brother's Invictus Games (a project very near and dear to all their hearts) so I think it's fairly obvious that the Olympics was never even considered. Add in all of the health concerns and I definitely don't see it happening.

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  19. Child of the morning is one of my favorite books too! And weirdly I started re-reading it last weekend, what a small world!

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  20. My favourite look on her since the newly married days. That photo of her in those gardens have very special signifcance to me also as i got engaged in that very spot 8 months ago!!!!

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    1. Aww @Marie Congratulations on your engagement! Icing on the cake that it happened at such a lovely place:)

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    2. Alejandra RamírezJune 10, 2016 at 11:47 AM

      Congratulations! :D

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    3. Congratulations, indeed. What a special memory to share... :)

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  21. Alejandra RamírezJune 10, 2016 at 11:47 AM

    Excellent commenst Jane! Now I looooooooooooove the outfit even more after reading your points of view!
    Love Roland Mouret! Simply stunning! Perfection!
    Is this one of your Star Looks of the Year? :D
    Thank you!

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  22. Can i please get a consensus on how tall Kate is ?

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  23. Jane I just picked up the Child of the Morning at Barnes and Noble. Weekend read in hand 😀

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  24. Looks like someone got tired of being called "mumsy" in the press! Sexy but classy (liked the v-cut of the Catherine Walker she wore to St. Paul's the next day too).

    Go Kate.

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  25. The theme of this post for me is Don't Trust Your First Impression:
    Liked the dress until I saw the industrial zipper
    Earrings didn't do much til I saw them up close - then the entwined diamond stands are enchanting.

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