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Kate Surprises in Brazilian Barbara Casasola's Knit Ensemble

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Before Kate arrived at the Natural History Museum this evening I was getting ready to pop over to Starbucks for a sweet hot chocolate. When Kate appeared on the steps of the museum in a form-fitting jersey dress, I realized I better choose a less calorie heavy drink ASAP. So here I am sipping a Chai Tea Latte (thanks Gert for the suggestion) and ready to chat about Kate and her new get-up. It was a whole latte va, va voom.


Tonight's event was right up Kate's alley. It was all about art at a museum of which she is patron. She was at the Natural History Museum to present the Art Fund of the Year Award. In addition to the accolades, the award comes with a not insubstantial £100,000 prize for the winning institution.


I'll let Kate tell you who won. The Duchess is multi-talented and she provided a little lead-in music she hummed under her breath for us all as she worked to open the envelope and reveal the museum of choice. Listen carefully, you can hear a little drum role à la Cambridge:




Anytime Kate returns to the Natural History Museum is an automatic win in my book. This architecturally stunning building has been the venue for a number of her public appearances, as well as a personal destination for the Duchess. Kate has been pictured at the museum with Prince George and tonight she told guests that her little prince loves his dinosaur toys.



This evening, almost the entire ensemble is new, and the dress is a designer debut, by Barbara Casasola. Net-A-Porter described the dress as a "midi dress . . . cut from figure-sculpting stretch-jersey and paneled with sheer mesh inserts for a sporty feel. This off-the-shoulder piece flares out from the thigh to create a flattering, feminine silhouette." It has a front zipper and is machine washable! Machine-washable is my make or break factor when shopping these days, so props to Kate for winning on this one.




The evening's dress code was not black tie, as reporter Emily Andrews noted, so it was unlikely that Kate would wear a floor length dress. Nevertheless, the night was certainly swanky and I wasn't sure how an average cocktail dress would play at such a glitzy event. As usual, though, Kate really found the fabulous balance in the most unusual way.



The fabric and detailing on this dress is sporty, but the structuring--the bare shoulders, the figure-hugging fit through the hips and then the flare of the skirt to just at her ankles--is formal. Together, it exudes a laissez-faire attitude of casual grace and elegance. 


Both the dress and the shoes are Brazilian. It makes me wonder if Kate had considered going to the Olympics before her schedule and security concerns ruled it out. Whether or not a trip to Rio was ever on the books, certainly it seems like the upcoming Games are on Kate's mind. The shoes are by Brazilian company Schutz. Kate doesn't often wear sandal heels of this kind. Without the support of a full shoe, these are a little trickier to maintain stability, but the the sandals continue to bridge the gap between the casual and dressy.



Kate has carried this clutch on a number of other occasions. It is still a UFO and I think most think it is another vintage piece. Kate does have a penchant for vintage clutches. I like this clutch, but it was the only miss for me in tonight's ensemble. I thought it was too shimmering for the dress's vibe and too silver against the creamy dress. It worked far better with the Roland Mouret (left) and the Roksanda (right).


The Duchess also debuted new earrings that remain UFOs. I love them! We have seen bigger jewelry and bigger hats from Kate over the past few months and the change has been refreshing.


It was a fun night all around. They played an impromptu round of royal charades. Kate won, bien sûr. [joke alert]


The verdict is absolute win. This is a "jersey-knit" but note that this dress is not a sweater knit. It has a very fine gauge which gives it subtle contouring. Kate is in fabulous shape to pull this off, but for your shopping info, this is easier to make work than, say, Kate's McQueen knit, which she also completely rocked. I don't want to say tonight's fabric is more forgiving, but let us say it works with you. In any case, she was remarkably gorgeous tonight and proof that there is hope after several children. I knew my girlfriends were lying to me. ;)


Well, I am sitting here drinking a G&T (considerable time has passed since I began the post with a Chai latte) and my mother is across the table discussing a project we are supposed to be working on, so in a moment of distraction I accidentally pressed the download button on this picture. I didn't want it, I don't want it now, but I paid for it, so, I present it to you anyway. It gets to be the finale of the post, and you know what, it's growing on me. Kate was just picture perfect tonight.


Kate will be at Wimbledon tomorrow. I think Wills is out of town, but...we will rough it with his glamazon. Until tomorrow...




66 comments:

  1. I'll start with the positive.Her hair looks very nice and I like the colour of those sandals.
    Now,the negative comes.I'm not a fan of the silhouette,especially those pleats and for me to like a dress the structure of the dress plays a huge role.So,this was a miss for me.
    BTW that's a very nice photo you have put at the end of the post.You have the best photos:-)

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  2. She was stunning tonight! You really have to have no fat on your body to pull this dress off! Love her new earrings.

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  3. She was stunning tonight! You really have to have no fat on your body to pull this dress off! Love her new earrings.

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  4. Wow! Love everything except the earrings (not quite sure why) and the color of the shoes, which photographed as terra cotta instead of the luscious blush in the white back ground photo

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  5. Great post again Jane Kate was just stunning tonight. I don't know how William can let here out looking so beautiful...lol.
    Isn't William in Scotland tomorrow with ah is grandmother. I will miss him with Kate tomorrow and all their looks of love and silly faces. Wonder who her date will be. Maybe her mom?? Or Pippa?

    Thanks Janevfor all your hard work b

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    1. Hoping her "date" tomorrow is Carole. We've see far too little of her recently.

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  6. Kate usually steps up her sartorial game when she's out on the town on her own and tonight was no different! Totally unexpected for me though- but I think I like it. She looks great in it- can't imagine someone else could pull it off but her. After all the baby bump looking at the pictures in France, I don't see it tonight! This reminds me of when she surprised us with the half up half down Jenny Packham gown at another awards event in a museum in 2014. I thought sure she would wear a floor length gown but I am glad she caught us off guard. I don't think it quite as elegant as the cream Roland Mouret gown and I don't see it being recycled much. This gown fits her to a tee and I still wonder how someone so sporty can wear 4 inch heels! She must have incredible balance! (I wonder.... both inner and outward balance to cope with being in the Royal Family....) She looks great and I love it when she experiments a bit... Wouldn't this dress look great with a big, black picture hat and black accessories? A little like "La Dolce Vita" a la Cambridge.

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  7. Wow! So much for the "Kate is too matronly" opinions! This is seriously edgy, yet elegant, and perfect for this occasion! I LOVE the shoes and the earrings! Do those earrings look like they may be blister pearls to you? Maybe they're just a pretty polished agate. Either way, great departure and perfect for this dress. This is a hit! I am loving her confidence for bolder choices (and hoping it means fewer suede shoes) and can't wait to see what Wimbledon will hold for tomorrow. Wills must be on air ambulance duty.

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    1. Those "Kate looks too matronly" opinions have been 100% correct! But, Kate's appearance for this outing is a total winner! She looks young, fresh, rested, radiant, and the dress and accessories are perfect. Her hair and make up are also splendid. Kate looks like what she is: a young, modern, chic and elegant future Queen for the 21st Century. I love it and fervently wish that she would keep it up!

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    2. Agreed! She is radiantly fresh and modern!!! I love her wardrobe of classic elegance with a cool edge. She shows us all how it is done, every single day! Love this look from the hair to the earrings to the clutch to the shoes. The shoes! I am loving her new love of blush rose shoes, and these sandals are gorgeous. She is the most stylish woman on the planet I think! :)

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    3. Kate dresses for the occasion. Some events call for royal matron- classic, restrained,modest.Some events allow her to turn loose and be flirty and of the moment.
      She will keep it up, meaning she will continue to dress appropriately.

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    4. Exactly, anon 8:00. She dresses appropriately for the occasion and she is working. I get a laugh at the "matronly" suggestions by some, who seem to be stuck in a fashion time warp where only a Kim K look will do. She's simply stunning for this occasion (and again appropriate) -the dress is amazing, her hair is magnificent and love the new sandals.

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    5. I second the view that what some people seem to think is "matronly" I think is appropriate and elegant for the event. Most of the "matronly" comments come up when she is at an event in her official role as a representative of the royal family. Particularly church events and memorials. Sorry..but those occasions are not the ones to wear an edgy fashion forward outfit. They are times to be a bit more conservative and respectful. I think Kate has figured this out wonderfully!

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    6. I did say royal MATRON. That is part of the senior female BRF shtick.
      I think behind what people quibble about is Really whether or not Kate would choose some of the
      outfits if she weren't playing the role. I think we saw her true colors last night.

      If one wishes to criticise the matronly looks, don't blame Kate.It is part if a uniform she accepted, but that doesn't mean she'd pick it if she had her 'druthers.
      For that matter, I doubt HM is most comfortable in her uniform-except maybe her shoes.And even then, she may prefer wellies, an old wool jacket and skirt and a
      headscarf.I hope she wears a chenille robe, curlers, and fuzzy slippers around the
      private royal apartments. probably not, though. There is nearly always someone else
      around, besides the DOE.

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    7. Anonymous @10:10 and others. I'm over 60 and frequently believe that many of Catherine's outfits of late have been matronly. It has nothing to do with dressing to the occasion. I know that certain formal occasions require more modest dressing. And surely there is some other standard than what KimK chooses. My comments are directed at styling that is more aligned with someone 10-15 years older than Catherine. Often her outfits are more commonly worn by women a generation older than the DoC. I believe it detracts from her beauty. I believe that happy compromises can be found. She can look regal, elegant and appropriate to an event, yet still be fresh and age appropriate. There are contemporaries that manage to achieve this. This is what I hope for.

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    8. anon 1, I absolutely love the picture in my mind of HM wearing a chenille robe and fuzzy slippers around the palace! I'm guessing, however, she probably wears one of those velour (or maybe hers are real velvet) robes that zip up the front. My mom is just a few years younger than the queen and this has been her go to "style" for ages!

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    9. I said chenille because probably there is one lurking about in her closet as a remnant from the 1940's. Velvet might not work with the pups. It Would be warm
      and I hear Windsor Castle can get chilly in Winter. :-)

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    10. Oh, those drafty castles! Such a problem to overcome. ;-)

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  8. I had to go back and look at the picture again just to be sure. When I saw these shoes, I thought she might have worn them with the Madison dress by LK Bennett when she was caught out with William having dinner. Upon inspection, it looks to be another nude, closed toe heel but these would work great with that frock for another summery evening.

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  9. The dress is a miss for me. Too many panels. The fit does not look right.

    I worry about her feet in those shoes. The heels are 4.5 inches and parts of her foot (metatarsal bones, if I remember my anatomy) appear to be perpendicular to her toes. Even wearing shoes like this occasionally can damage the feet. I know most of us love heels, but yikes!

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    1. I think most of this evening involved sitting. I doubt she'd wear these for a walk-about. :-)

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  10. On its own, I don’t think this dress is anything special. If I saw it in a store on a hanger, I’d probably just pass by. But on Kate… wow!!! She really looks terrific—youthful and sexy, but at the same time, classy and elegant. I also love her hair. This is the best I’ve seen it in a long while. And her smile is so genuine. She looks thrilled to be at the Museum.

    The only downside is that the dress looks rather heavy for July. I know it can be cool year-round in London, but the fabric, even though it isn’t a sweater knit, doesn’t seem very summerlike—however, it’s hard to tell by the photos. All in all, though, I agree with Jane that this look is an absolute win… just stunning!

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    1. Agree, Betsey. With all but the heavy part. Also,if I saw this dress on a hanger I would walk on by, too -because I'd
      know I didn't have a chance of carrying it off (literally and figuratively).
      Plus, it would require a type of under-pinning body armour that Kate obviously didn't need.

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  11. This outfit is sheer perfection! From head to toe. I love the off shoulder look, her hair is perfectly blown out, so happy to see something other than a pair of closed toe pumps, and I personally loved the clutch. Might not have put it with this outfit but not as offended by it as you are Jane. I love the length and it looks like the skirt has a beautiful movement to it. Nothing matronly here at all and in fact I would say this is very current and sophisticated. Love it!

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  12. Love this dress. Kate looked wonderful. Her hair, make up, all great. Hair looking better with her sides grown out a bit. Can't tell about earrings till we have a better picture. Shoes are great. Thought the fit was really good. Really thought she looked perfect for the evening.

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  13. I love your real time updates while writing the post, Jane. :)
    Here are my observations:
    1. Hooray for hair down! The chignon, as charming as it was, made her look mature beyond her years, and she's a few years younger than me!
    2.I didn't much care for the style of dress, but am blown away by how slender and perfectly proportioned the DoC is! How is it even possible after two babies, how???
    3.I agree with you, glad to see larger jewelry, those earrings go well with the outfit and suit her.
    4.Agree about the clutch being a little out of place
    5.Loved the drumroll! Adorable!

    So glad we have your Wimbledon post to look forward to tomorrow. My Uncle's the doctor on call there tomorrow, I must ask him if he's on the same court as the Duchess!

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    1. Ooo, I hope so! Wouldn't a first hand viewing be delightful!

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    2. I'm quite disappointed, Robin. :( My uncle wasn't working today! I gave him a earful about missing out, haha!

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    3. A well-deserved earful! Such a missed opportunity! I was watching some video of Kate arriving at Wimbledon and looking at the people who were trying to decide if they should just take in the moment or if they should get out their phones and try to get a picture.

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  14. Yummy mummy. Sheer perfection. Go Kate.

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  15. I am definitely in the minority, but this was a fashion-lose for me. She is pretty and slim, but the dress just didn't suit her. I think the clutch worked though.

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  16. Do you know for sure that she will be at Wimbleton today ? I would have thought that she attends the men's semis, which is on Friday.

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  17. How GORGEOUS, my goodness, she looked amazing. I'm so happy to see her looking this good.

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  18. Just beautiful---the dress is perfection.
    Do you think that the earrings look like opal?

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  19. Praise on Kate for this choice. A very sophisticated frock, edgy yet classy, and extremely youthful.
    Also, honestly a few women could pull it off and she rocks it!
    For those reasons, one of my favourite Kate's looks ever.

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  20. Oh i love the duchess looks so sexy glamorous side looking forward wimbeledon

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  21. Simply gorgeous and totally inspirational! I really hope we get a better look at those earrings some time - they seem unique and stunning. Love love love that Kate is getting into larger pieces

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    1. My wish has been granted! Though not sure I would have paired them with that dress...

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    2. Look at toda's outing in Wimbeldon. She wore them again.

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    3. From Pics, seems ahe might be wearing the earrings again at Wimbledon.

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    4. Love the recycle at Wimbledon today.

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    5. I was hoping for a "banana dress" appearance at Wimbledon, but worried it would be uncomfortable. Obviously not. :-)
      Could the earrings be abalone?

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    6. The earrings could be abalone but I doubt it given her husband and father-in-law's wildlife protection interests. Abalone are endangered and it's illegal to poach them.

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    7. I believe they are baroque pearls

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    8. Really, Robin? Just in California or all over the world? I have abalone jewelry.
      Isn't poaching always illegal, no matter the species?
      Is it like ivory-jewellery already sold before a certain date is ok? I know I got my daughter a necklace of ivory carved in a tiny rose in the 1980's. She scolded me
      and refused to wear it. I think it was still legal then. Obviously.

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    9. Poaching just means that you are hunting something that it is against the law to hunt - and different things are protected under different laws. Sometimes things can also be illegal to purchase (like ivory/tusks), but when it became illegal to purchase means that some sales were not illegal (like ivory/tusks purchased a long time ago). Sometimes it can also be illegal to even possess things even if you weren't the one who poached or purchased it. And sometimes it can be perfectly legal to possess things (like jewelry made with ivory) but it can be rub people the wrong way because of the social norms of the time. I doubt Kate would ever purChase something it's illegal to buy or wear something it's illegal to possess, and I imagine her avoiding ivory/other items from endangered species probably falls into the category of avoiding what's perfectly legal but inconsistent with her family's view on the matter. Luckily pearls fall into none of those categories :)

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    10. So-is abalone endangered and illegal?

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    11. anon 1, It depends on the kind of abalone but it's the "white abalone" that have the spectacular shells and were over-harvested. I actually have two shells that my grandmother had but she got them in the 1930s. Still, I never put them on display for fear of being flogged in the town square. The "red abalone" are used for meat and I know there are very strict harvesting laws here in CA for those. You must have a commercial license, they must be a certain size, and the number is restricted. I'm pretty certain they can be commercially grown on farms though because all of the good seafood restaurants in San Francisco have it on their menus. Either way, I'm sure anything that could even be the appearance of something endangered is probably off Kate's list. I'm really not an abalone expert but the health of the ocean is a regular news item in these parts.

      And, you're right, to say illegally poach is redundant. I'm usually such a grammar queen! Now I must go hang my head and apologize to my fellow grammarians. (blush)

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    12. Robin 6:30-Actually, I thought there might be an environmental-associated meaning for poaching that I was not aware of. I just ended a sentence with a preposition. Poor grammar is a habit up with I will not put.ha!
      If people were expected to have 100% perfect grammar and accuracy, no one would ever comment.

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    13. So true! More glaring than a poorly constructed sentence is the misuse of homophones - especially their, there, and they're. Aaack!

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  22. "Both the dress and the shoes are Brazilian. It makes me wonder if Kate had considered going to the Olympics.."
    Very interesting thought, Jane, and it makes perfect sense. I think it's fascinating how far ahead her wardrobe is planned for foreign trips.

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  23. I loved the entire ensemble including the clutch. I think the lines of the clutch nicely mirror the lines of the dress. I think my favorite piece was the sandals; they are very pretty plus it's nice to see her in something other than pumps.

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  24. Loved it! Every bit!

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  25. I think Kate looks totally amazing in these photos - fresh modern and dare I even say sexy! The dress is beautiful - the shoes beautiful -the only thing I would love to see if a flash of colour on the lips, toes and nails.. She looks incredible otherwise after two children- Im so jealous!! ha ha!

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  26. I love this! Being at the same stage of life as her(married for 5 years, two children, a boy and girl), this gives me hope! I have been sick for a while but once I am clear, I shall get back into better shape! I want to spend some time sculpting haha. Any ideas on her work out routine?

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  27. Perfection perfection. Head to toe. 😊 Kathy from NJ!

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  28. William was with the Queen for the Thistle Service.

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  29. I love seeing her hair down! It's so pretty. This dress though... I don't like it. It feels... awkward to me. The different directions of the pleat gaps look weird to me, and I don't like the way it hangs so geometrically. She pulls it off, I just am not a fan of the dress itself.

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  30. Allie in Churchill, MBJuly 7, 2016 at 2:35 PM

    I don't think I've ever seen Kate looking better. That top picture, looking over her shoulder, shows a beautiful woman with smouldering sex appeal. Love the dress, love the shoes, love the hair. Win win win.

    Thanks, by the way, for this terrific blog. I visit every day hoping for more Kate appearances. Hope you're having a good summer.

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  31. Hmm, I like the sex appeal factor but not the dress itself. Maybe if it was shorter? I don't know. I just don't love it.

    Earrings look like they could be by Alexis Bittar.

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  32. Kate at her best, IMO!! From head to toe. Loved her hair, her dress, her clutch and shoes. Way to go, Kate!

    JC

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  33. OMG! Kate wore a Brazilian designer! OMG!! And not just that, Schutz are a local store from were I'm from (I go that all the time!) and I used to know Barbara Casasola family, she's based in London now, but we are from the same place. How crazy is that? Both brands have exacly the same background (south of Brazil).

    By the way Jane, I think if Kate was looking for a Brazilian brand to wear during the Olympics she wouldn't chose those, as none of them have a connection with Rio. There are so many brands from Rio she could choose insted.

    I was wondering how Kate find out about Schutz though? I know they opened a store in NY now, but still. Barbara has been building her name in London for years so doesn't surprise me that Kate may had heard about her. But Schutz? They don't even have a store in Europe!

    Well I think Kate looks very young and cool in that dress, the only thing I would change is her hair, a nice bun would make her more glamorous.

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  34. I guessed earlier that Kate's earrings were blister pearls. Not too far off, they are baroque pearls and the setting is by Soru Jewellery. They are already sold out! No surprise as they weren't as expensive as some of her other earrings with these being only £130.
    https://www.sorujewellery.com/collections/earrings

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  35. I think the dress looks fabulous on Kate (although I am not sure I like the structure of the pleats and the length.) I like the larger earrings but agree the silvery clutch isn't a great match since the dress is a creamy tone. Even though the dress isn't a sweater knit,  I still think it seems a bit heavy for London in July. I've only visited in June but think it would have been heavy then too. Perhaps it would have worked for Rio since it's winter there but even so, I am pretty sure temps in Aug will be in the 70s so I don't know. Others have suggested Kate gets cold easy (as she's worn "wintery looking" outfits in spring/summer before) but if so, I'd think long fitted sleeves would not make up for bare shoulders in terms of warmth so I'm not sure what to think.

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