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Cambridges Arrive by Canoe in Haida Gwaii

Friday, September 30, 2016

There are all sorts of ways a royal can make an entrance. On tour they often emerge from planes or trains waving to the waiting fans, or at home from helicopters and Range Rovers. On the final full day of the Canada 2016 tour, William and Kate arrived at Haida Gwai by canoe. Nothing like getting places on your own steam. 

For some reason seeing the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge paddling toward the waiting press in a war canoe makes me laugh.

Prince George & Princess Charlotte's Children's Party

Thursday, September 29, 2016

We finally met Princess Charlotte, and it was such a delightful pleasure. As I have mentioned before, released pictures of Charlotte don't really give us the same sense of personality and temperament that live video does. To me, she has been a bit of an enigma, and the fleeting glimpses we have gotten, like the Buckingham Palace balcony, have not really fully introduced us. Today, as she ran around the lawn at Government House in Victoria, interacting with her parents and her brother, we finally, properly met Charlotte Elizabeth Diana.  She is an absolute doll and seems to have just the precocious, zesty personality I'd expect from Kate's daughter.

Charlotte had no sooner arrived at the party than she struggled out of her mother's arms to rush to a display of balloons, reportedly saying with purpose, "pop!" I have the sense that

Kate the Cowgirl: Princess Chic in Yukon

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

What in the world have William and Kate been up to? When I logged onto my picture account the first images in found were of Kate climbing about on a steam engine. Dressed in cowboy boots and appearing to cling precariously to the side of a train, it looked like she was in the climatic finale shoot-out of an old Western. This wasn't a scene from a shoot 'em up, the couple traveled to Carcross and they were inspecting the engine of a steam train that runs on the White Pass and Yukon route.

This train runs from Whitehorse to Carcross to Skagway and apparently Kate couldn't resist an impromptu look. It isn't hard to see that this girl is George's mom. Kate is like, "It is so awesome up here!" While William is replying, "Sweetheart, we paid almost $1,000 for that Sentaler coat...let's not end up in the water!"

Kate: "Wills, we're in movie."
William: "We're really not...but ok."

Carcross used to be called Caribou Crossing and has an interesting history. More on that from Triposo:
Caribou Crossing was a fishing and hunting camp for Inland Tlingit and Tagish people. 4,500-year-old artifacts from First Nations people living in the area have been found in the region. Caribou Crossing was named after the migration of huge numbers of caribou across the natural land bridge between Lake Bennett and Nares Lake. That caribou herd was decimated during the Klondike Gold Rush, but a recovery program raised the number of animals to about 450. The modern village began in 1896, during the Klondike Gold Rush. At the time, Caribou Crossing was a popular stopping place for prospectors going to and from the gold fields of Dawson City. Caribou Crossing was also a station for the Royal Mail and the Dominion Telegraph Line, and it served as a communications point on the Yukon River. In 1904, Caribou Crossing was renamed Carcross as a result of some mail mix-ups with the Cariboo Regional District in nearby British Columbia.
Kate changed from her Carolina Herrera for this stop and the result was a smashing, smashing success. She scored on a number of levels. In terms of pure style, she couldn't be cuter, and for those who had been waiting for her to wear a Canadian label, she finally came through. The Duchess created a chic, modern cowboy look with this soft grey sweater/coat from Sentaler, a Canadian brand. She paired it with skinnies and what I think are her cowboy boots from Calgary, which was a great nod to her first, fabulous trip to Canada. 

The earrings were a very thoughtful addition. They are by a local designer and thought to have been purchased in Whitehorse for Kate to wear. The designer, Shelly MacDonald sells her work on Easy and you can pick up a pair at her e-store here.

In India the couple painted elephants and on this trip they have been painting totem poles. 

The couple met with local members of the indigenous tribes and chatted wth members of a mountain biking organization Single Track to Success.

Kensington Palace
The project "gets youths back on the land" by creating bike trails and biking programs.

Crown in Canada
The verdict on this event is success all around. I loved the ensemble. The Sentaler coat is so soft and feminine, it looks like a cozy sweater while keeping her warm and comfortable. The cowboy boots were the perfect addition for this final Yukon stop and fit perfectly with her detour to explore the steam engine. The climate was perfect camera weather. there is something about the clarity of that fresh, cold air. Kate was glowing. This is my favorite event of the week. I love cold air and mountains and trees. I am already looking for a good getaway in the Yukon.

Meanwhile, George and Charlotte have been shown a great time. The two were spotted at Beacon Hill Children's Farm while their parents were out on tour. I wish we had pictures of that! I'll poke around and see if any are available.


I do apologize for how late this post is. Kate's Clothes isn't updated yet, either, but that will have to wait since I am about to rush to the airport. Can't wait to see George and Charlotte! 

Duchess Kate Wears Carolina Herrera in Whitehorse

Beauty isn't actually in the eye of the beholder, but fashion allows for a range of personal preferences. We all have those special labels that make our hearts beat just a bit faster. My list includes Dior, Oscar de la Renta, and Carolina Herrera. For some time I have been wishing and wishing that Kate would wear the designer, so when she stepped out in frosty Whitehorse this morning in a bright CH coat I thought I would tear up. Granted, what I really want is a Herrera evening gown, but this is a good step toward that ultimate goal (No offense, Jenny P. You are the Queen. )  

Kate was arriving at her first stop of the day, the MacBride Museum to learn a little history of the Yukon. Did anyone else play Yukon Trail back in the 90s? It was a substandard Oregon Trail, and yes, it was set in Alaska, not Canada, but it was close. We weren't allowed computer games growing up, but it came free on my dad's computer. I'd play it with him sometimes when I got to visit his office. Mostly we lost our shirts and ended up buried somewhere in the frozen Yukon, but we struck gold a few times.

Kensington Palace Twitter
There were no 1990s computer games on the Camridges tour, but they did fit in some older technology. The couple got to send the first Telegram to Twitter message. They signed the guest book in morse code, which was then translated to Twitter when they pressed the button together.

Kate's coat looked more substantial than yesterday's Hobbs, which was a good thing since the rest of the schedule in Whitehorse was outside. The couple attended a big street party where they met locals who had come out to welcome them and browsed the art fair that was part of the festive event.  

MacBride Museum
I thought that the day Kate wore Carolina Herrera that fact would eclipse all others, but possibly because this wasn't an evening gown, the part of this ensemble that caught my attention next and held it was not the coat, but the shoes! 

Cheryl Kawaja

Kate has only worn "chunky heels" a few times. She has a pair of L.K. Bennett with a thick heel. You can them and the three times she has worn them here at Kate's Clothes. I didn't love the "Art" heels and still don't. Today's shoes, though, have me scouring the internet for a pair. I absolutely love them.

The pumps are Tod's Fringe Heels and they feature that bold block heel, a buckle and two-toned fringe. Kate decided to accessorize this red coat with deep reds--the shoes and the customized Mulberry clutch. I don't mind the darker shoes, but I have to say that the clutch (which wasn't made to match the shoes and therefore does not perfectly coordinate) against the brighter red wasn't perfect. Kate likes to do this, so it didn't surprise me and it didn't bother me too much, just wasn't perfect. 

Crown in Canada
Kate wore her Annoushka pearl drops and an expertly executed updo. I don't know how her stylist creates these chignons where not a single whispy strand seems out of place, yet her hair look so soft and product-free.

In this video you can hear the woman who is recording remark how great Kate looks, which reminds me how many people don't track exactly what label Kate wears, or how much it costs, or who designed it, but more simply by how beautiful she looks in it. This is not to say that those of us who do track those things shouldn't, but when we discuss whether her choice to wear American or Italian is giving offense, I think the overwhelming answer is no. People are excited and happy that she is there, in their town, ready to meet them and learn a little about the lives they live. 
If you have been waiting for some local designers, and I certainly agree with a comment below that Kate seemed to highlight Indian fashion more when she travelled on tour in April, the next stop should put a smile on your face. 

[Full Post] Day 4 in Kelowna, BC & Whitehorse, Yukon

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The word came "across the wire" that Kate was wearing green Dolce & Gabanna and my heart froze. Not another lace Dolce, I thought. Sorry, Kate. I am the first to gravitate toward the lace, but I have put myself on a lace hiatus and I think you should be on one, too. Happily, when the princess stepped out of the plane that had flown her from Victoria to Kelowna, and started down the steps to the tarmac, it was not in a lace ensemble, rather it was a retro-styled midi dress inspired by Alice in Wonderland!

The couple were quickly whisked to University of British Columbia where they were warmly welcomed by students, staff, and representatives from the local indigenous tribes. 

The dress is relatively fitted through the hips with just a slight flare. It looks like it stepped off the set of Foyle's War and right onto Kate. 

After the two unveiled a plaque they walked to the nearby stadium where the women's volleyball team was ready to play ball. The place was packed with very excited Generations Zs. I think that Kate is such a fantastic role model for young women, so I really enjoy when we see her interacting with them. The energy in the building to welcome the royal couple was certainly strong.

They even got an athlete's entrance, with their heights announced over the loudspeaker:

Watching Kate chatting with her hosts I was very impressed by her delightful and cheerful demeanor. She really looked lovely and thoughtful without a whisper of boredom or unease. She does like to twist that ring, though. :)

The couple didn't stay that long. They met the players, were presented with personalized jerseys and teddies for the kiddos, and they left. The exit was epic--they walked up a staircase lined with fangirling young people with their phones out. Celebrity status on steroids:

Let's talk about the dress. It is inspired by Alice in Wonderland and is called the Pocket Watch Midi, because, get this, it has a massive pocket watch appliqué on it. Are you just staring at the screen right now while your brain furiously tries to function? Sometimes, fashion really surprises me.

I almost wish that Kate had worn it as designed, rather than having the watch taken off, but I think it would have left everyone more perplexed than Alice was in Wonderland.

UBC Twitter

Reader Meghan on Twitter actually messaged me suggesting this would be the dress Kate wore before we even had seen Kate in the dress, so major props on calling that, Meghan. I know Meghan is disappointed that the watch wasn't worn, but she might have reasons other than mine for her disappointment. I'm not sure. What do you all think? Would this have just left your jaw on the floor? I feel like it would have been too quirky and left all of Kelowna scratching their heads.

Kensington Royal

After the couple left UBC, they made their way to every millennial's favorite weekend activity, a "Taste of (Insert Your Town Name), and in this case, it was obviously Taste of British Columbia. Hosted by Mission Hill Family Estate, this event focused on the local surf and turf industries. The couple got to take another stroll through a vineyard, too. It was like a retake of their stroll through the Australian vineyard, but this time Kate stayed steady on her feet.

I love this shot of William, apparently serenading the assembled company. Kate thinks it is hilarious. Rebecca Deacon wonders if the clams were spiked. Mr. Security thinks this is all together beyond the princely pail. What a crew.

The event was also hosting some other charming guests, highlighting Chefs in the Classroom, a program for kids that teaches them about agriculture, nutrition, and healthy lifestyles. 

Don't just zip by this video. It includes Kate trying to keep a mini-chef in his seat and is very, very sweet.

I don't know what Kate was trying here, I think from earlier pictures that it has tentacles, but I can't be sure. Whatever it was, I am guessing she won't be sourcing it for her Anmer Hall table.

After what appeared to be a fantastic visit, the couple headed to the plane to fly to Whitehorse, Yukon, where they would spend their first night on tour away from George and Charlotte. 

Evening in Whitehorse, Yukon

The disparity in temperature was significant, and we wondered if Kate would change into a new and warmer ensemble. She did, but she didn't. The Duchess kept her Pocket Watch Midi on, but added her very popular Persephone trench from Hobbs.

I think this coat is so beautiful on Kate. It was a huge hit when she first wore it in 2014, and this recycle was a big fashion win. Kate has a special glow when she wears green. It might be her best color. On this particular occasion, the forest green, against the misty grey hues of Whitehorse toward dusk, was perfect.

The only problem with the coat was that I am not sure it was warm enough. It was 6 celsius, which is just around 42 Fahrenheit, and as Emily Andrews pointed out several times, freezing. Both the royals look chilled here on the tarmac and they had a partial outdoor engagement still to go. 6C/42F doesn't sound so cold in theory, but particularly when coming from a warmer climate, it is quite brisk.

At first glance and from a distance, I thought that Kate was carrying her Strathearn tartan, but far more diplomatically, it turned out to be the Maple Leaf, Canada's unofficial pattern. The symbolism is really fun. Described by Windsor's Scottish Heritage:

[T]he Maple Leaf Tartan is the unofficial tartan of Canada. The Commercial Division of the Office of the High Commissioner for Canada said of the design, "In creating the Maple Leaf Tartan fabric, David Weiser captured the natural phenomena of these leaves turning from summer into autumn. The green is the early colour of the foliage. Gold appears at the turn of autumn. Red shows up at the coming of the first frost. The two tones of brown find their way throughout the leaf creating a prolific profusion of colour."
From the airport, the couple to Kwanlin Dün’s cultural centre, where they enjoyed an exhibit "Land of Gold – A Yukon Cultural Celebration" and a performance by local, young artists.

All in all, the verdict is a big win. Kate's Pocket Watch Dress was a hit for me, and I enjoyed all the feedback, both in favor and opposed to the appliqué! Kate was radiant in both shades of green, and this coat is particularly flattering on her. My only criticism is the shoes. I rarely have a problem with her nude shoes, but on the frosty looking tarmac in Whitehorse, even I thought they looked uncomfortably out of place. She should have worn dark suede, or even pulled out the Rumba boots! They would have gone better with the Northern night and crisp fire of the Yukon:

If you need the exact details on what Kate is wearing, it is all on Kate's Clothes here.

Day 3: Brollys Up! Bella Bella & Great Bear Rainforest

Monday, September 26, 2016

The weather hasn't behaved for the Cambridges recently. At the start of September, their day trip to the Scilly Isles was rearranged because of heavy fog. Today, (Monday, Day 3) the schedule was supposed to start with a float plane tour of the Great Bear Rainforest, but it was cancelled due to torrential rain. Instead, the first event of the day was the Traditional First Nations Welcome. The Cambridges arrived in Bella Bella dressed down and carrying clear umbrellas as they made their way to community centre where a large crowd had gathered to say hello.

Upon arrival, the couple proved that even royals can go to the wrong door.

Kensington Palace Twitter

Kate shed her coat inside the hall, which was absolutely packed. A good move on her part, since she was shortly after gifted ceremonial shawl. According to Emily Andrews, these are "dancing shawls." 

I didn't follow this event live, so I am a bit foggy on the timeline, but subsequently (I think) she ended up with a vest, instead.

One of your compatriots here on the blog was at the community centre and got to watch the royal duo interact and even got a chance to chat with Kate and gift her a children's book toward the end of their stop. This was Haley Hooyenga, the same Haley who saw them at Jack Poole on Sunday. We all need to ask Haley to sprinkle some of her lucky pixie dust on us, because seeing Kate live two days in a row? Who gets to do that? Haley, you are one lucky lady, thank you for sharing your snaps with us!

Haley Hooyenga

I know we like first hand accounts. This was Haley's message to me:
I had an invite to the event at the Bella Bella Community Center today. It was amazing to be in Catherine and Williams presence for so long. So much better than yesterday (which was fun, but really they just zoomed by, although we were close!).
Today I got to watch them interact etc. I also made a beeline for Kate when they were leaving the Community Center and was able to give her my second book (for the kids) and have a quick exchange with her. I spoke to Catherine!! 
Next on the agenda was a stop at Elders Lodge where Prince William gave a brief address to mark the introduction of the Great Bear Rainforest into the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy, a conservation initiative that spans 53 nations! The couple unveiled a plaque within the forest:

Crown in Canada
William and Kate took a stroll down the boardwalk, which reminded me of their trip to the Sabah rainforest on tour in 2012. Both were September tours, although today's rainforest boasts a different climate and certainly the weather was a little chillier than the humidity of Southeast Asia.

Kensington Palace Twitter
In Australia we were introduced to glamping (glamorous camping) and I just want to know what glamorous hiking would be... Whatever the word, these two have it nailed.

Rhianna Schmunk Twitter

Fashion! This tour the Cambridge uniform appears to be blue sweaters over buttoned shirts in complementing hues. George kicked it off at the airport on Saturday, and William and Kate continued the trend today. I love it. I am entirely onboard with this look. It is preppy and polished.

The Duchess paired a gingham Topshop blouse with an unidentified sweater. From hi-res images, the sweater looks like a light weight cashmere to me. Kate put a Holland & Holland "Multi-Pocket Safari" jacket over the sweater and blouse and completed the outfit with Penelope Chilvers boots and new earrings.

The earrings are by a new designer in Kate's closet, Pippa Small. Kate's "Kite" earrings are of Bolivian 18k gold and retail at £1,200. Net-a-Porter describes the brand:
Canadian-born jewelry designer Pippa Small has established a cult following with her striking organic necklaces, rings and earrings. Each covetable piece is designed in London and crafted in Rajasthan, India, by a team of highly skilled goldsmiths and stonecutters.
Fashion verdict: I love casual Kate, as you all know. I didn't love the safari jacket. She is slim enough and it hit her waist at the right place, but I think the safari style is really limited and don't love it. To me, there are very few scenarios in which you can wear this without looking like you are playing dress up or channeling Teddy Roosevelt. Kate pulled it off, but I don't think we'll see this again and that will be ok with me. The rest was perfect. She looked fit and glowing. It was a hit for me.

Crown in Canada

A very interesting fashion update today. It has been confirmed that the lace dress Kate wore to the Somme commemorations was in fact Jenny Packham, not Sarah Burton and McQueen. When you compare that lace dress to Saturday's arrival dress it is obviously a uniform style scheme. Both here dresses are really out of Jenny Packham usual design profile for Kate. It is very interesting to see these two collaborating on new structures and silhouettes.

The Duke and Duchess had one more event, an evening reception. Find that update here.

Day 3: Kate Wears Preen to Cocktail Reception

Kate is always beautiful and Kate's clothes are almost always commensurate, but every now and again Kate stuns even the most enthusiastic fan. At the cocktail reception on Day 3 of #RoyalVisitCanada 2016, the Duchess of Cambridge was nothing short of breathtaking. This elegant cocktail dress is by British label Preen and a magnificent debut for the designers. [If you missed the post on Kate's morning in Bella Bella, you can read it here.]

The reception gathered members of government together to mingle with the Cambridges and celebrate William adding a fourth ring to British Columbia's "Black Rod."

The Crown in Canada
The Black Rod is a British ceremonial symbol carried by an officer of Parliament, "The Gentleman of the Black Rod," who has certain official duties. The role dates back to the Middle Ages and includes maintaining Parliament's buildings and security. You will see the Black Rod at the opening of Parliament, at the Order of the Garter Ceremony, and the like. Commonwealth countries that adopted the British system also have Black Rods. Those would be the major Commonwealth nations like Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. British Columbia's Black Rod has three rings symbolizing the province, Canada, and the connection the province has to the United Kingdom. William added a fourth ring to symbolize the indigenous tribes and the peace that now exists between them and the government.

Kensington Palace Twitter

I feel a little guilty saying that my expectations for tonight's ensemble were not high, or perhaps put better, not exceptional. Kate has attended more than a few cocktail events on tour and she has generally chosen relatively understated pieces. Sophisticated? Often. Flattering? Always. But, not anything eye-popping. 

L-R: Los Angeles, Southeast Asia, Down Under
Tonight, Kate certainly changed pace with this scarlet evening dress. The asymmetric, off-the-shoulder neckline, fitted bodice, and full, skirt deliver a strong retro flare while remaining timelessly elegant. The dress is from the pre-Autumn collection, and according to the Telegraph "was inspired by Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire, the last of the Mitford sisters who presided over the grand Chatsworth House and was at the centre of high society throughout the latter half of the 20th century."

Deborah Mitford died just two years ago and there was much discussion at the time about how influential she was in preserving Chatsworth and in developing strategies to keep her massive estate afloat. Her business model has been copied by other aristocratic estates allowing these families to maintain their ancestral homes despite crushing taxes. She was a veritable Lady Mary à la Downton Abbey, in that respect. Of course, as Duchess of Devonshire she had a small royal connection as well. Georgiana Cavendish, the famous 18th century Duchess of Devonshire and confidante of Marie-Antoinette, was a Spencer. All this to say, the inspiration for the dress was very fun.

Kate paired the dress with red heels, her Barque Pearl earrings from Soru, and carried a Jenny Packham clutch that appears to be a bespoke version of the Casa. She also wore the diamond studded Maple Leaf brooch. I wish she had chosen to wear the Harry Winston polar bear brooch. We have yet to see her wear it publicly and this might have been a fun occasion. 

Fashion verdict is an obvious win. Kate dripped sophistication and looked every inch the royal, from her perfectly coiffed side-chignon to her pointed toes. The draped bodice was exquisite. It might have looked a little too formal had Kate worn this with the sleeve off her shoulder, as it has been modeled, but perhaps it will get a recycle in London. I leave you with one final thought. This was at Government House in Victoria, so just before she came down to the ballroom, she probably kissed George and Charlotte goodnight. I think it is sweet to think of those two little ones slumbering upstairs while their parents party below. I am certainly looking forward to seeing them officially very soon.