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Day 3: Kate Wears Preen to Cocktail Reception

Monday, September 26, 2016


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. 

51 comments:

  1. Look at it this way Jane you are first to have something posted on a blog for the evening event. Yay!! Studies come first no matter what. I do think you always do fantastic since you started your law program.

    I think I am not going to be a fan of the top of this style noting it is suppose to be different. But as always Kate looks so good in red. The one photo almost looks like her hair is half up even though I am pretty sure it is an updo. Will be looking forward to your view points on the earlier in the day events.

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  2. Va va voom! Kate looks amazing.... love it.

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  3. Beautiful dress, and Kate looks beautiful wearing it.

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  4. Pretty sure Kate is wearing the Soru Jewelry Baroque Pearl earrings she wore to the Art Fund Awards back in July

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    1. I think earrings and the brooch doesn't go together and the clutch has gold which doesn't go with either of them. Gorgeous dress! but poor coordination of accessories.

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    2. Picky, picky, picky.

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  5. Can't wait to see some other photos. The dress is lovely but in the photo above she does not look good in the dress:) Its an odd elongated view of her.

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  6. Can't wait to see some other photos. The dress is lovely but in the photo above she does not look good in the dress:) Its an odd elongated view of her.

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  7. She's beautiful and the dress is gorgeous but I worry she's too thin.

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    1. Agree, agree and agree! She seems thinner and thinner with every appearance.

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  8. Wow, wow, wow - stunning !!

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  9. Kate looks absolutely stunning. She is excelling each day, each visit. I am sure that William is very proud of her, and can you imagine her parents; their daughter is representing the Commonwealth. It is awesome and it is obvious that Kate takes her role very seriously. 10/10 to the Cambridges.

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  10. Dress and shoes and hair gorgeous. Earrings are a miss. Do not work with brooch or outfit.

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  11. Oh my god! Absolute perfection. The midi length, the box pleat, full skirt, neckline, color, hair, earrings - total HOME RUN! She is more royal than any royal. She lights up the room. And this ensemble is where those shoes look their absolute best. LOVE them with this length of red dress, not the short red and white McQueen. And those earrings are a wonderful surprise, much better than the first wear imo, and love that she's wearing the brooch again. Amazing Kate!!!!

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  12. This look is no less than stunning, IMO. Kate always rocks the red, looks incredibly rested and fresh for having been on tour for 3 days, and the dress is so very simple yet elegant. LOVE IT! The only thing I might have changed is the shoe. The color works for me but I would have loved to see something with perhaps an ankle strap. That's it. That's all I can imagine differently.

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  13. Beautiful dress; hair lovely and just enough jewellery---Another triumph.
    Despite the dreadful weather earlier in the day, she looked great---the white jacket made her stand out as they left the plane, even though it was difficult to see anything.
    The Prince seems to have forgotten his coat this morning--or perhaps it was his that was used to cover the plaque they were "unveiling".
    William has looked great too on this tour. Nice to see him matching his tie to her dress for the evening reception.

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  14. Kate looked lovely with that neckline and sleek hairstyle. The jewelry was perfection. I'm not sure I loved the exposed zipper on the back though .... it seemed to lessen the look somehow. Her shoes though? One must wonder what goes wrong there. The color does not coordinate well with the shade of her gown. If closed toe was the most appropriate for the occasion, I think a neutral (I know how we sometimes bore of those) or something a deeper color would have been preferable. Overall though, her attire was a quite lovely!

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  15. What a lovely gown! Big win! Kate's rocking this tour!
    Re: stamina - Go Hillary!!!! (Another winner in red. #sorrynotsorry)

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    1. Completely out of place and inappropriate to throw US political opinion commentary into an otherwise fun and well-mannered thread.

      Johanna in Florida

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    2. Agree, ladies. I come here to get away from the political coverage.

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    3. Oh honestly. Kate wore red. Hillary wore red. Jane is heavy into law school, Hillary was a lawyer. I thought it was comically cool that two influential women rocked red, and I love that Jane handles this blog on top of torts. Calm down.

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    4. I thought the comment was made in appropriate taste. If you want to avoid politics, calling attention to the comment and putting someone down for a light hearted statement isn't the best solution.

      All in all, beautiful look and am loving following this tour!

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    5. Same group was perfectly fine talking about immigration politics

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  16. I want to like this look and I do like most of the individual elements. But I don't think they go together very well. The maple pin seems badly placed and faces almost sideways in some photos (although I am not sure with that style bodice there was a better place for it..maybe wearing the pin on arrival was enough? It stood out nicely against the blue and most Canadians have probably seen pictures of the family's arrival.) The clutch and shoe colors seem to clash to me but maybe its my monitor. I don't think the earrings go with the pin. And while I like the asymmetric neckline, I don't like the asymmetric hairstyle with it. A plain centered chignon might have been more flattering IMO as it would have let the neckline shine on its own. Finally, to me, this dress calls out for a bracelet..maybe one of her many diamond ones? Without the pin that would not have been a diamond overload. All in all, it was just not a totally polished look to me. And since this is the only dress-up event, I'm surprised.

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    1. I agree with you about the bracelet, also about a different hairstyle, we have seen this many times. Though I must say she looks beautiful.

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    2. I really thought the side chignon balanced the dress perfectly. A straight chignon would have made her look "lopsided". I thought the reds in the purse and shoes were just the correct hues to go with the dress. If they had been closer then she would have been criticised as being "to matchy matchy.

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    3. Politics???? Give me a break. I also go here to get away from them!!

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    4. Interesting Eva B. To me it is the opposite. The lower neckline on the same side as the "lower hair" gave her a bit of a "listing to that side" look. But different strokes!

      I've never liked mismatched reds or purples. I'm OK with mismatching most other colors. I'd have preferred non-red shoes and purse myself rather than exact or mismatched shades.

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  17. Gorgeous! Stunning! Big win for me! The retro works.Wow

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    1. Kate give us retro loving gals a real treat sometimes!

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  18. Really stunning look. Love it all. Smart to not bejewel herself with dripping diamonds in the form of bracelets and earrings given the diplomatic nature of the event.

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  19. She looks stunning and continues to follow her own fashion advice! Some find fault with anything but this is right at perfect in any book!

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  20. She looks radiant! The dress is beautiful on her although I would have moved that pin up a little and straightened it out. At first glance I loved the whole ensemble but I think there are better earrings for the look. Maybe a borrow of something ruby from the Queen or Diana's collection. Diana had a very delicate pair of tear drop ruby earrings that would have been perfect. Overall she looks lovely and since this is cocktail attire and not formal attire she struck a proper balance.

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  21. Absolutely gorgeous. But I agree about the broach, especially since she's worn the maple leaf several times now it would have been fun to see her wear the polar bear that was specifically gifted to her. Maybe next time....

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  22. For me, the hair, dress and brooch are stunning, and then it all fell apart with the accessories. The earrings and the clutch are odd with the brooch, and are distracting from the sparkle of the maple leaf. The maple leaf popped against the blue dress because it wasn't oddly paired. Also, the shoes are really taking away from the elegance of this dress. It is as if she dressed for the evening but forgot to take off her day shoes.

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  23. I think the Duchess looks stunning. I feel on this tour she has really embraced being "royal" with her outfits. My only complaint is William at this event. I wish he would have gone with a black suit or something. The blue suite is a tired look for Wills. I also think a black suite would have looked nicely next to Kate's bold red dress.

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    1. You've actually put words to something I was thinking but hadn't nailed down yet - the Duchess looks as if she's fully embraced the "royal" on this trip, doesn't she?

      Johanna in Florida

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    2. She does really seem to have come into the reality of her life as a royal. Representing HMTQ abroad is a big thing and she's doing it with absolute grace and style.

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    3. Kate looks great and I agree that a black suit would look good on William, but I think he reserves the color for tuxedo occasions....while Kate wears this length for less formal engagements.

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    4. I just realized I put suite instead of suit - I can tell staring at my computer screen at work reading about lawsuits made my mind garbled! And I have noticed that sometimes Kate seems to present herself as a little unsure and out of place, but this tour is completely different. I also am enjoying the bright colors and stepping outside the box fashion with her fashion choices, but in just a way that still says "royal". The red/white McQueen from yesterday was a wow moment. I adored the vibrant red accessories instead of nude. I do agree with Jane - the studs on the collar were a miss for me though. What other color suit would you have preferred to see Wills in royalfan? I'm not an avid watcher of men's fashion, other than the red carpet events in America.

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  24. Utterly gorgeous! Hair, dress, and jewellery were outstanding. (True, the shoes and clutch seemed to have a sort-of red wine flavour--hey, I feel hungry!--but that is almost too trivial to mention.) Loved the way the dress draped, loved the length, and I would bet that she blew the other ladies present out of the water. Glamorous.

    JC

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    1. I have to agree. Next to her the other ladies were the wallpaper on the wall. I think she has also outshone Mrs. Trudeau at every turn. The two couples have been compared often but I really think there is no comparison.

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    2. Then why compare?

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  25. So lovely! Kate looks like a future queen in this beautiful dress. I think her outfit, hair and accesssories perfectly suit each other and the event. I am struck by how far she's come in a short time as she impressively respresents and supports her husband and the queen.

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  26. I don't know. She's trying to look a bit like Audrey Hepburn etc. Why can't she just be herself? Too much preening, too many expensive outfits. I want to see more of substance, grit, work, gravitas.

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  27. A dress-up doll, somewhat.

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  28. Breathtaking. The dress, the simple accessories, the elegant chignon showing off her long neck and the dress' neckline. She's looking more and more like a future queen.

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  29. Yes, I agree: Kate looked stunning. What a pretty dress! I love just about everything about it--especially the draping on top and the bright scarlet color. The only thing I don't like is the exposed zipper. I think it kind of cheapens the whole look. Everything else, however, is just about perfect. I'm glad Kate didn't wear ruby earrings (that would have been too much red) or more jewelry. As they say, less is more

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