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Kate's Debuts Altuzarra for Heads Together

Friday, September 16, 2016

Did anyone else think that Kate was repeating her Jenny P from George's Lindo Wing presentation? Even for a split second? I did a double-take. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Stewards Academy on behalf of their Heads Together mental health campaign to continue their promotion of mental health awareness and support.


Stewards Academy is closely connected with Place2Be, a charity of which Kate is patron, and a leading charity in the Heads Together coalition. Kate and William's arrival made headlines a little faster than usual when Vice Lord Lieutenant of Essex Jonathon Douglas-Hughes, who had greeted the couple on their arrival, fell backward and hit the sidewalk with what was described as a very loud thud. William easily slipped into search and rescue mode and helped the gentleman to his feet.  


This dress is very obviously not Kate's maternity frock from 2013. The princess pulled another "designer debut" in this new, blue dotted dress from Altuzarra. Its colorway pays obvious tribute to the Heads Together's branding and the novelty of a new label added a splash of surprise to the cloudy morning.  




I think Kate has been following Fashion Week and has caught the bug. I would certainly consider this one of the edgier designers she has worn. Altuzarra has a reputation as hip and modern, but this dress is positively retro. With the ruching, buttoned down front, and dotted print, it looks like an updated day dress from the 1940s. I wasn't sure if I liked or loathed it when I first saw it. That bib like detailing on the bodice was nudging it toward the fail.  


That is, until Kate took that long stride onto the sidewalk and revealed the side slit and per perfect, princess pins. To me, the slit adds the spice that balances the rest of the dress. 


Even without the slit, when you see the dress more completely, it is a really lovely and unusual piece, and a big hit. It helps that Kate's figure is pretty close to perfect, and the slimming structure of the dress highlights her best assets. Beyond that, though, the color is flattering on Kate and the polka dots, if we can call them that, are trendy rather than stodgy. The dress's mixture of sleek lines and fussy bunching--the v-neck paired with the curved bib feature--all come together to make the dress an interesting hit. 

BBC Essex
Anytime that the Cambridges visit a school and interact with children, it is always sweet. It is common to point out how well Kate interacts with kids, but William, too, really shines when mixing with youngsters. Together, they are quite the pair.


Every now and again someone emails me about Kate's make-up. This is a pretty shot of the Duchess that gives a good look at her make-up. She is still a heavy liner and uses the brown shading around the socket. It's a pretty classic look. If you want to recreate it, any make up artist at your local department store can show you. This picture is also a nice shot of her delicate accessories, the Empress pendant set from Mappin & Webb that the Duchess has been wearing quite a lot recently.


This is the last event the Cambridges will undertake before they fly to Canada for their tour of the western coast. If you missed the itinerary for that, you can find it here.

53 comments:

  1. I'm kind of "meh" on the dress itself but it's the accessories that make this look a fail for me. And I'm finding that that's more and more the case with Kate's looks lately. If she had paired this dress with black (or maybe navy) shoes and simple diamond studs I would have liked it a lot more. Even though I like the Mappin and Webb set, I don't think it goes with this dress. I think it would be nice if Kate adopted a "less is more" approach to jewelry sometimes. I don't think every dress calls for a necklace and I do think she could have gone without one today.

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    1. The Empress set would have looked better with a simple dress, I agree.

      But I have to disagree, it still looked very pretty with this dress, the round circle shape kinda took up the circles from the pattern of the dress, it really matched.

      And IMO, Kate usually likes to play it safe and minimalize accessoires, she should go more bold with them! :)

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    2. I liked the dress after zooming in multiple times. Thought the slit was fun and young. I think I may have gone with a navy or black shoe. As to her accessories? Kate loves a classic look. This is just who she is and this means less accessorizing. I personally like this as her style means clean lines and nothing over the top. If she loaded up on the accessories it would look odd. She is still young and who knows as she gets older she may come to embrace bolder looks.

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    3. I like the pattern of the dress very much, and tend to agree with Diane on navy or black shoes. Not suede (perhaps too heavy for this dress), but patent.

      One more point... Kate has the figure to pull off the ruching detail in the dress. On her, it looks cute.

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    4. It instantly reminded me princess Diana. She had several polka dot dresses of the same shade.
      https://fi.pinterest.com/pin/23503229275682947/

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  2. This dress is priced at $2000 and is made of Viscose/nylon/spandex.
    I truly think the DoC can do better. Like maybe something in silk for @$!000?

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    1. I also thought that 2000 was wayyyy to much for this dress, I am sure you could find something similar from high street brands for a fraction of the price tag.

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    2. I agree. This dress looks like a very expensive nightgown. Why she wore sooo many expensive and same outfits this year when she is still on mat leave, I don't get.
      Clearly, she enjoys fashion and shopping.

      Also, it would be nice to see her doing engagements on her own, hearing her voice and opinion not just tag along every time.

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    3. Now that I've read others' posting about the dress print being a nod to the charity logo, I will give her a pass on this synthetic draping.
      I'm sure more money has been spent on charity advertising in other places.

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  3. This shade of blue is one Kate has worn before and it is very flattering IMO. The overall style of the dress...meh. Except for the high thigh slit and hefty $2000 price tag, to me it looks like what in earlier times was called a "housecoat,"  one step up from a dressing gown. The presence of the slit seems an unnecessary add-on given there are center buttons down to the hem. (A button or two could be left undone if needed for walking ease so it seems the slit wasn't really needed for function.)


    I think the slit is a bit high too...yes, some photographers are always looking for revealing shots (but Kate certainly knows that.) And we do see at least 10 inches of bare leg above the knee in some shots. While Kate's legs are very nice, it's not a look I see in many professional situations (or K-12 schools) in my part of the US but regional definitions of work attire differ, I guess. I think the outfit might have looked crisper and less like a housecoat with black or navy shoes. 

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    1. lizzie, agree with you on everything. There is a housecoat/dressing gown vibe going on with this dress. I do like the color and print on Kate.

      The slit is too high for this event. She had to sit with her legs in a certain orientation to avoid revealing too much. If she had to look over, she had to twist her torso without moving her legs. Looked a little odd in some photos.

      I think her hair looked great!

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    2. Totally agree Jay about the seated photos. Since I wrote my post I saw photos on WKW where Kate was seated without a desk/table in front of her. She looked like a pretzel and not at all comfortable.  It seems to me it may have been because Will was seated to her right and while she usually orients her body to him (based on what she's done during past appearances) the high slit was on her left so she couldn't simply slant her legs the other way without being ultra-revealing. I know some people like the slit but *to me* this again says this dress wasn't a good work choice for Kate (or for many working women.) Seating throughout a work day can't always be controlled. 


      I do agree her hair style looks great although I miss the darker chesnut color she used to have when she and Will first got engaged and later married.


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  4. I like the silhouette of the dress,but the pattern appears to be polka dots which I think childish and that slit showed a tad too much.If it had been windy a Marylin Monroe moment could have occurred.

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  5. I agree with everything you said about the dress Jane! At first I didn't love it, thought the bib detail a little frumpy, but then caught sight of that side slit and thought, omg! Great! Love the straight styling with that slit, and the length, it's surprising but not too sexy, just perfect! Could still do without the bib thing though. Bibs and tiered ruffles are to be avoided, in general, IMO. The jewelry looked pretty, but I agree with anonymous about outfits not always needing a necklace, or maybe a longer, simple chain would have been more modern. In any case, her make up is great, it always looks great on her, the liner and pale lip so pretty with any outfit, seemingly! Love that her hair is back to its glorious lengths. Oh side comment: I loved the pics of her in the car at Balmoral - that leopard headband is so flattering on her (it's key that it is a narrow band, I think a wider one would look dated, but that one just looks classic and chic and retro-sexy on Kate!), and I loved the way her makeup photographed through the car window when she was dressed for church in the hat and Michael Kors jacket. So elegant, she is just more and more beautiful as she matures into her role. :)

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  6. Her hair was true perfection. Period.

    I like the dress, I do not love it but it looks pretty on Kate. The slit is great, but I would have preferred it if it was a little bit less high. But still, her legs!!! They are perfect.

    I love the Empress jewelry set, it is one of my favourites of Kate's.
    But am I the only one hoping for a return of the sledge pumps? I am not a huge fan of pointy toe heels. #BringBackTheSledge

    William and Kate are always so cute with kids, I love it when they visit schools. Is there a school visit on the Canada tour? I hope so!

    Phantastic that they worked with heads together again. Do you know why Kate did not give a speech, considering Place 2 be is her patronage?

    I am so looking forward to the tour and seeing George and Charlotte!

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    1. YES! I prefer the round toe heels too. #BringBackTheSledge! :)

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    2. I was a sledge fan myself but I would be very surprised if she ever bright the back regardless of the toe - I think she had moved on from the exposed platform look

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  7. When I first saw the dress, I thought "yuck" but then saw the side slit and was on board. To really appreciate it, I think one has to consider that she did choose it for the logo tie in and that it really is a retro design. Did anyone notice that the black center of the white flowers in her bouquet echo the black spots on the dress? Very nice :-)

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  8. I'm really going back and forth on this dress! I think Jane has finally pushed me to decide it's a "hit". It has such interesting details with the ruching, bib front, 3/4 sleeve and "retro" print. The slit does really jazz it up.

    I couldn't pull this look off at all but Kate's slender build can really wear it well. The price of the dress is ruinous but that's designer wear...hard to ever understand when considering what that money could buy. But this is just part of Kate's life in a very different world than the rest of us. At least, she is supporting good causes.

    I find myself mystified by her accessories choices. I don't get the blush coloured shoes/clutch. Black would have been so much sharper and more in keeping with the Fall
    season. It would have complimented the dress to a much greater degree. It's almost as if the blush items were laid out to be worn with a different dress?

    I imagine you're back at your studies, Jane! Good luck and thank you for continuing your blogging despite your work load.

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  9. I agree, this look overall was 'bleh' and the nude shoes and purse were contributing factors. A darker shoe and purse could have made a big difference. I would rate this dress as adequate at best, and may perhaps look better on a lady with a more rounded figure (perhaps Zara or even Pippa). Kate can do much better. It's hard to fault this engagement though - such a worthy cause and generating positive attention to mental health issues of young people. I applaud them.

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  10. Big big hiit for me - she looks amazing - love it

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  11. Well, I seem to be in the minority here but I quite liked the pattern, color and overall look of the dress. I like the bib and the runching at the sleeves. I also like the side slit (Oh to have those legs! Wow!) BUT...the side slit with the buttons up the front seems weird to me. If I was the designer I would have done without the buttons and left the side slit. I will also agree that the nude accessories seem off...navy or black would have been better.

    I really liked her hair today. Straighter and less bouncy then her usual blowouts but I liked it alot!

    Finally...I have read in more then one place ...comments about people not liking pointy toe shoes and calling for a return of the Sledge pump!! I find that hilarious seeing as when she was wearing the Sledge people were hating it!! And while I love the Sledge...best fitting pair of shoes I ever bought....round toes are on the out and pointy toes are back in!!

    Can't wait for the tour in my home and native land!!

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    1. At first I liked this dress a lot because for once Kate had chosen something particula, and the outifit looked fresh and lovely. But the more I looked at it, the more I dislike it. It literally looks like a bathtab, especially on a thin woman like Kate. Plus,imo,it is totally inappropriate for such an event. The accessories are boring now, as they have been out for while.

      On another note, I was expecting Kate to speak this time and not William.

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    2. Laura, I, too, am a fan of the Sledge.......and the corkswoon wedges. And I am not ashamed to admit it! ;)

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    3. I agree. Love wedges and the rounded toes too.
      Kate looked beautiful even though I'm not crazy for the dress. It would have been better paired with black shoes.
      The slit was way too high. For the price of this dress there should have been a beautiful lining (although dresses of this fabric rarely, if ever, come lined). When you see the inside of the dress as she's stepping up on the curb it was shockingly high and one can see the inside stitching.
      On the plus, her hair was fab as was her makeup. Anyone else notice the forehead lines have vanished and her skin looks more dewy? She must be visiting a professional, most likely with the help of a few injections. She looks better than her last public appearance.
      All in all, she looked great, as usual.
      Felt bad for the gentleman that fell. He must have been awfully embarrassed.

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    4. Well, I never understood why people were complaining about the Sledge (I own a pair that looks almost identical by Högl and they really match EVERYTHING and make your legs look so long and thin!) or the Corkswoon, I love both pairs and admire how she can, for example play volleyball in the corkswoon, they are so high! Both pairs of shoes are very pretty and I never understood why people were nitpicking over them.
      IMO, it is such a pity that she hasn't worn the sledge since Summer 2014 in Belgium :( I am still hoping for their return!!

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    5. Ladies, how I wish there was a safer (lower heel...lol) version of the corkswoon available. They look comfortable and flattering.

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  12. I quite like the dress and her hair looks fantastic but the accessories are waaaaay off for me. A black or navy shoe would have made this look polished and professional. Instead the nude accessories remind me of my niece playing dress up - she pulled good individual pieces out of the closet but didn't mix them well.

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  13. Can someone please explain the position of Vice Lord Lieutenant of Essex? What is the significance of the position, the uniform, etc. Thank you for any info. My Google search did not help much.

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    1. Jay, The Lord-Lieutenant is the British monarch's personal representative in each county of the United Kingdom. Historically the Lord-Lieutenant was responsible for organising the county's militia, but it is today a largely ceremonial position, usually awarded to a retired notable, military officer, nobleman/woman, or businessman/woman in the county. (Wikipedia)

      I imagine that the officer that day was the Vice Lord Lieutenant because the main one was ill or away?

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  14. I find it very interesting that so many don't like the dress. I find it rather more in fashion than Kate usually is, up to and including the pointy nude pumps - with the exception, as usual, of her jewelry. She likes dainty and classic but that often falls into the young and twee and at this point it's been five years with only one or two instances of branching out on those accessories. Accessories make or break and she's been a good example of that a few times, having destroyed an outfit with the exact worst accessories. She hasn't done that here but they're just so boring. Still, big win, usually love it when she goes the fashion route (except that green Mulberry dress!).

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  15. I love the dress - the color, pattern, style and fit. It also looks like it would be comfortable.

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  16. I read that perhaps Kate had chosen the dress as a nod to the logo of the charity. If you look at the dress closely, it matches perfectly, and I love that aspect of it. Kate is very clever at matching her clothes like that, she has done it several times before. I agree that the dress is busy, has many details, and may have a vintage feel that does not sit well with everyone, but this look is coming back. I do think that the fabric is wonderful, it's classic Kate. And as someone pointed out, the dress has the look of a school dress almost, and this is suitable for the type of event that it was. If you look at it like that, it's easy to see that a lot of thought went into this look, and I love that too. There is more to turning up at these events than the first fashion impression.

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    1. Now I see the resemblance with the logo, thank you for pointing it out! I agree, she always puts so much thought and consideration into her outfits, it is great.

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  17. I like the dress-- just not wowed by it. It's a good, serviceable work dress for just such an engagement. I am glad she's trying on some new designers. I am hoping she wows in Canada. As for her jewelry, I stand with Kate on this. She likes small, fine, classic pieces. I am sure many of her pieces also have sentimental attachment to them. I much prefer smaller, real gems than gaudy statement pieces. I can't tell you the last time I changed my earrings but I love my black pearl studs and they have a very personal backstory to them. I am sure Kate has such things to treasure as well. The time for wearing big gems will come at state occasions and when she is Queen. She's pretty and her best accessory is her smiling husband....

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    1. I agree HL. I too believe that she is more concerned with sentimental value than anything else.

      Although, sometimes I do wish she would wear larger earrings because when she wears her hair down it does tend to hide smaller pieces. But with this dress, I think her choice was perfect; anything larger would have competed with the pattern.

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  18. Really like the dress, but again with the nude pumps. Do not understand her (or anyone's for that matter) affinity for nude shoes. She wore a really fun red dress a couple of weeks ago and ruined it with nude pumps.

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  19. I fell in love with this look the second I saw it---I'm a sucker for anything 20s/30s/40s and this was just brilliant. I couldn't be happier, frankly. Also, I knew the Duchess would let her hair grow long for the tour. But watch out after---I'm sure she'll cut it a bit for a "break" soon after. Love your elegant yet zesty writing, Jane!

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  20. As I read the DM article, I thought, the recipes in Pippa's new book are very appealing and I am tempted to buy it. And when I started reading some of the unkind comments, well, that confirmed it. I WILL BUY IT. ;) (As soon as it's available on Amazon.)

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3795538/My-foolproof-recipes-romance-exclusive-extract-book-Pippa-Middleton-shares-date-night-suppers-dish-won-fiance-s-heart.html

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    1. I wonder if there will be an American version. The conversions always mess me up.

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  21. Can't believe I missed an appearance and a new debut! This moving thing is making me nuts!

    As for the dress: I love the fabric and have the exact opposite reaction to the design. I love the fashion from the 40s but this just didn't carry it off properly in my mind. Not a dress we see often, I hope.

    The accessories: I love the Mappin & Webb set. Always one of my favorites for day wear. The shoes? Time to stop with the nude pumps already! They do not go with everything and they especially do not go with a cool tone of blue highlighted with white. I have nude pumps and I enjoy wearing them. I just don't wear them every time I walk outside in a dress. Overall this outfit is a complete fail for me.

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    1. I am with you here, Robin. I also agree with some of the comments above the price - I have absolutely no problem with Kate wearing pricey things (she's a princess!) but no one should pay that much for this dress. I do think it hit the right note of dressy/casual for the event but she could have done better. I really hope this doesn't make a reappearance!

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  22. This isn’t one of my favorites, but I like the entire look—it’s dressy without being stuffy, and I love the slit in the dress. However, I think it's insane that the dress retails for $2,000. That’s crazy! I also like Kate’s pointy-toe nude pumps. I don't know why everyone else is so against them.

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  23. Jane, Thanks for the e-mail. Hope you had a lovely birthday.
    I Liked the dress and thought the split was fun, however for so costly a garment, I would have thought the designer could have matched up the print at the seams.
    Sonja wonders why Catherine did not give the speech, as she is patron of Place2Be, but things have moved on since she took the patronage and now the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess and Harry have gathered all the mental health charities under their umbrella. The Duke is, after all, the future monarch and Catherine's really strong point is in face to face chats.
    Since the royal threesome started drawing attention to mental health issues the government and the opposition have stated to talk about it. I was shouting about the lack of mental health support when I was a sister in an A& E unit 50 odd years ago, so nice to see someone is at last listening.
    Looking forward to the Canada Tour. We might not get photos of them leaving the UK, as they are flying courtesy of The RCAF, I suspect they will not go from Heathrow.

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  24. This dress, by a new designer for Kate, is a bit hit for me. I like all the retro detailing. IMO black accessories would have been too "heavy" for the dress & the occasion. The beige clutch and shoes add a lightness. And, besides, it's still summer!

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  25. Pure speculation here, but I would not be surprised to learn that the Vice Lord Lieutenant received a follow up message from W&K.

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    1. So, I just took a look at the Altuzarra collection and I have to say that I've never seen a designer with such a balance of hideous and cute in the same collection. Some things I loved. Would have much preferred to see Kate in the skirt made of the same fabric instead of the dress she chose. And what are those bootie/pumps/sock-like things those models have on their feet? Oy, vey!

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  26. Someone was wondering why William and Catherine did do not tour on the continent.
    The Duchess is to visit the Netherlands on October 11---first stop a call on the King.

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    1. Does that count as a tour of is it just another day trip?

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