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Déjà Vu Debuts: Kate's New Recycles

Thursday, November 24, 2016

I have dubbed them "Déjà Vu Debuts." They are a special subset of Recycles. These are new items that are completely familiar, because although they might be in a fresh print or a new color, they are the same design as a predecessor. 


Kate has been doing this for years. In September of 2011 she wore a simple, but stunning sheath dress by Amanda Wakeley in a creamy "Oatmeal." Some seven months later, in April of 2012, Kate attended a reception at the Imperial War Museum wearing the same dress in a gun-metal grey. She added a McQueen belt to
the dress, which I loved.  This didn't stick out too much because the dress is so very simple it does not leap out at fans as a "Déjà Vu Debut." 


Sometimes, these new repeats are not quite identical. In June of 2012, Kate wore a dress from Beulah London to the wedding of good friend Alice St. John. A few months later, Kate wore almost the same dress on tour in Southeast Asia. Although this is not a true "Déjà Vu Debut," because the dresses are not the same, they only differ in a few minor places. They both have key-hole fronts, buttoning to the waist, bunching just beneath the bodice. The Sabitri (blue on right) has smooth cuffs and smooth shoulders, where the Blossom dress has pleating, and the Sabitri is a hint longer than the Blossom. Beyond that, these dresses are the same design. 


Some Déjà Vu Debuts are less noticeable. The Great Plains Cézanne dress clearly has worked very well for Kate as a complimentary dress under various coats. Kate first wore the Cézanne in "Pine Needle" green on a visit (not pictured) to St. George's Park in 2012. She debuted the exact same dress in a rusty red on a visit to Grimsby in 2013. We saw the "Pine Needle" again at Christmas in 2015 (middle below). Finally, when Great Plains released the dress in a third grey print, Kate wore that, too. It is obviously a design she really loves! 


Kate bought the The Knot dress from Séraphine in a lavender floral, which she wore leaving Kensington Palace on her way to her parents' home in Bucklebury and then wore it in magenta for the photo that Michael Middleton took of the little family which was subsequently released to the public:


These comfortable dresses that fall in a mid-range price point seem to enjoy the Déjà Vu Debuts quite often, and I think we all likely do the same. If you find something that works, you snap up several. What is less usual for the general public is to buy special occasion and high profile pieces in multiple shades. Perhaps Kate's most famous Déjà Vu Debut is the "Alice" coat dress from Emilia Wickstead. In 2012, at the Sovereign's Luncheon at Buckingham Palace, Kate debuted a custom made coat-dress from Emilia Wickstead. She wore it just a month later to the a garden party, with great success. Two years later, however, in April of 2014, Kate stepped off of a plane on Palm Sunday in Dunedin, wearing the same coat dress now transformed to teal! The debate about whether this coat was dyed or a brand new garment raged pretty heatedly for several days, but I think the uniform consensus at the end was that Kate had the coat-dress made in two separate colors. 


Kate wore an attention grabbing lace dress by Dolce & Gabbana during the China State Visit in 2015, and just a month later wore almost the same dress to the Festival of Remembrance.  Interestingly, these two dresses stirred more controversy than exact repeats that Kate has worn. While plenty of royal watchers were pleased to see another lace dress, more than a few questioned why the duchess would need two such similar pieces. 


When Kate flew to Canada for her very first tour in 2011, the new duchess wore an unusual blazer from Canadian label Smythe. The "One-Button" blazer has become an absolute staple in her closet. Smythe renamed the coat "The Duchess" after its most famous fan, and in September of 2016, Kate debuted the blazer in a new, olive green.


Kate wore the Finella in red while on tour in Canada in September. The impeccably tailored dress was a smash hit. The buzz had barely started to fade when Kate arrived at Mansion House for the Place2Be Wellness in Schools Awards wearing a suspiciously familiar silhouette. It didn't take fashion bloggers and fans long at all to ID the dress as the Finella in black. 


It is always interesting to me how people respond to these Déjà Vu Debuts. As mentioned, it's the super similar pieces rather than the exact repeats that seem to catch more flak. I am interested in what you all think about these new repeats. Practical? Odd? Extravagant? If the shoe fits...wear it?

It is Thanksgiving here in the United States and I am in Wisconsin where the skies are grey and cold and inside it is warm and cozy. Certainly, as we consider our many blessings today, I am thankful for this blog and the wonderful community of royal-watching fans we have built here. I love escaping to this space to think about fashion and Kate and royal watch with you all! Thank you for being a part of the From Berkshire to Buckingham family! Many blessings to you and yours today and in this coming year. 

37 comments:

  1. Happy Thanksgiving Jane 🦃🍁🍂

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  2. Thankful for a wonderful Kate post on a holiday, thank you Jane! Lovely photos. The dreamy light blue Beulah and the teal Wickstead are the standouts for me!

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  3. I have been one that assumed she did not dye the Wickstead or Finella dresses but I actually have changed my mind. I think she might very well have dyed both garments. She may dye when she is on her last wearing of a dress.
    That would be a much more economical way to do than buying two rather pricey garments. It is one thing to buy two or three identical jeans or tees in different colors all rather inexpensive items compared to these rather expensive dresses.

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    1. Interesting.. do you think she did that with other dresses, too?

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  4. Just sat down with a cup of tea and read this. Thank you, Jane, for all that you do, and thanks to the other folks on here for making such a fun community!

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  5. Happy Thanksgivings Day! Although it's already Black Friday in Malaysia

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  6. I have bought two of the same dress or skirt or blouse or dress pants in different colors many times in my life, to wear to work or special occasions. Mostly I do this because it's hard to find clothes that fit or flatter my buxom-hourglass figure, so I take advantage when I do find them. If anybody ever noticed they never said anything!

    Belle

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    1. I understand that we mere mortals do that - but the duchess certainly has no problems choosing between varieties of dresses/designers for the figure she supports..
      So I really do wonder why she does it.

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  7. Also feeling thankful under dull grey Wisconsin skies, and particularly grateful that it's not snowing now. Do people dye things anymore? Somehow I've thought of that as a last-century custom, but I don't run in high-end apparel circles.

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  8. I can understand why "similar outfits" prompt more comments than identical ones. Many people, if not totally financially strapped, likely HAVE bought the same "work horse" shirt or trousers in multiple colors as Belle points out. But if we splurge on say, an expensive black jacket, many of us would have trouble rationalizing the purchase of another albeit slightly different expensive black jacket. 

    I seriously doubt Kate has ever dyed her clothes. I think we are again trying to put her in the mold of what WE might consider doing. And buying two identical designer dresses in different colors isn't something we'd do or likely be able to do. But dyeing isn't so reliable. See link below. Plus I honestly don't think Kate is THAT concerned about costs. The rhinestone belt she wore recently--love it or hate it-- cost over $1000. She's carried $1000 clutches. She has multiple pairs of designer "nude" courts. I am not saying she spends too much (although some choices don't look worth the money they cost IMO) But I don't think dyeing is an economy measure she uses.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1989/08/24/garden/where-to-find-it-companies-that-will-dye-clothing.html

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    1. I, too, doubt that she has had anything dyed. I can understand certain pieces being identical or similar, but when it comes to an evening dress, for example, it screams strategy to me...especially when they're worn within such a short time frame. I believe that kate goes out of her way to not make it about the clothes.

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    2. When Kate likes an item she tends to re-wear it-the actual item. Except for that Great Plains dress,-which cost how much?-..and when you consider the number of items
      in her wardrobe, comparatively speaking, she doesn't really buy that many duplicates. She has boots, purses-more costly items,
      a dress or coat or two that she has had and worn since dating days. Why didn't she just buy duplicate new ones when she married, if that is her routine?

      For that reason, I do think there is precedent for her having the two more expensive dresses dyed. Have we seen the pink version since the appearance of the blue one?
      The pink dress was very favorably received, I think partly because of the way she styled it. The blue dress had obviously been altered, with snaps set over to allow for her change in size post George. Just look at where the seams fall on each. Why would she have a bespoke dress made that was too small and had to be altered? That just doesn't make sense. :+)

      I'm sure there is a means and method to turn red into black. Even considering the expense of top-quality workmanship, it is still less costly than a new Preen.

      If there ever was a time for Charles's family to rein in expenses within public awareness, this is it.(not necessarily including himself or wife) I think Kate would even spend far less if it were up to her. Look at the work-out she gave her shoes, up until her royal role expanded in the past year or two. And according to some, the role of the Cambridges is set to expand even further in 2017, with a possible change of primary residence to KP and William's departure from his air ambulance work-George's enrollment in nursery school.
      It is a delicate balance:too much versus too little. Save where you can.

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    3. Question: did the sparkly belt shown with the Noa coat come with it and was it included in the $1000+ price of the coat or is the belt itself sold separately for an additional $1000 for a total of $2000+? :+)

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    4. I think the belt was part of the Noa and she just never used it until now. I am certainly in the camp that she had two different dresses in the Wickstead (a designer I am happy to see her abandon) and in the Preen. I didn't understand the Wickstead pieces because I didn't like the design in the first place - although the color of the pink was beautiful on Kate. The Preen I can understand very well. It is a perfect silhouette for Kate and she can change them both up for different looks - especially the black. The thing to remember is that, while most of us do not have the money to purchase these expensive dresses, in the grand scheme of things (and in Kate's world) $1,300 is not *that* expensive. We see gowns worth 10 times that amount on the red carpet at movie premiers and awards ceremonies and those people aren't representing their countries. It seems completely likely that she has two different color ways for this dress.

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    5. I'm not claiming to be a master in clothes dyeing :) but according to the link below, the Preen Finella is made entirely from a *mix* of synthetic fibers (info under details) I really don't think mixed synthetics can be dyed a different solid color by anyone. Interesting almost "tweedy" results can be achieved (or "kettlecloth" looks for anyone who remembers that term) but not pure solids.  There are dyes for synthetics but different synthetics may require different dyes. I doubt a smooth, unmuddy, unstreaked result could be achieved here because of the fabric mix.

      http://www.matchesfashion.com/us/products/Preen-By-Thornton-Bregazzi-Finella-satin-midi-dress-1055926

      So far as the BRF needing to appear to tighten its collective belt for PR reasons, Anon 11:29, I don't really see why wearing what appear to be two identical Preens within 3 months time would do that. I wouldn't assume the average person would think the red dress had been dyed black for belt-tightening reasons especially since it was marketed in black. Controversy about possible dyeing may reign on a fashion blog but I expect most people would think Kate bought two (esp since Kate has been known to buy multiples of other dresses as shown in this article.) I agree with Robin that in Kate's world $1000 or $1500 for a dress isn't that much but if it is an attempt at public belt-tightening not sure it works. 

      I don't know the fabric composition of the EW bespoke coat dress(es). But my guess is she initially ordered one pink and one teal. By the time she wore the teal it had to be altered. We've certainly seen her debut clothing from collections released years before so she does buy things that aren't worn publicly for several years. 

      It's true we haven't seen the pink EW again (or a repeat of the teal have we?) but there are lots of dresses we've seen Kate wear only once, maybe twice. I doubt they've all be sent off for a dye job. And other dresses and coats have been known to re-emerge after a hiatus.. sometimes as long as 5 yrs. So we might still see the pink again since I'm not sure Kate has renounced EW for all of Robin's hopes ( and to some extent mine too)

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    6. I wonder what percent of Kate's entire wardrobe is made up of duplicates? The odds are more against, than for, duplication.
      I believe she actually did re-wear the teal in the past year.
      No one has addressed the obvious sizing done on the teal. :+)

      Agreed-one re-done gown would not make much difference. Multiple cost saving efforts will. I believe Charles has to present an accounting for Duke of Cornwall monies; whether or not the clothing costs are itemised per individual, I don't know. Those stats make their way to the public via tabloids and republican sources.
      I also mentioned their change in number/significance of royal duties, evidenced also by the Queen's increasing loan of jewels.
      Most of those duplicates were from before this status change in the past year or so at
      any rate.
      Sort of a paradox-increasing need for fiscal accountability yet also increasing need
      for an expanded wardrobe with expanded duties.
      A tricky balance.

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    7. Second EW teal appearance-with houndstooth coat, December 10, 2015, at Action on Addiction event. No hat, necklace. :+)

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    8. "Not to make it about clothes":))

      That's why she has lots of bespoke pieces with extraordinary price tags. And of course she does not care about fashion, and she does not love shopping.

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  9. Love love love your blog! Many thanks for all the work you put into this. :)

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  10. I have gone back and forth on the dying. I agree dying can be very hard to do. Part of me was not thinking oh she is doing it to save money, but like you thinking why would I buy two dresses that are unique enough that to duplicate it is obvious. She already has tons of black dresses that she could repeat without buying another duplicate of the red style. The Wickstead is odd to me in that if you were going to go for an identical bespoke piece in another color why not at least change up a few other details on the design. No matter how much money you have I can not imagine loving a dress so much that I would duplicate in a different color. If I loved it that much I would just wear the same dress. The color change in these two outfits to my mind just did not make that much difference. Too me it is just odd. ali

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  11. I agree that the oatmeal Amanda Wakeley dress was stunning on Kate. So glad she didn't add a
    "statement necklace" or brooch, although others might not have resisted the temptation to
    "gild the lily." :+) It is in these details that she exhibits exquisite taste-even if she might rather be home in skinny jeans or a flowy, flowery dress.

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  12. Happy Thanksgiving, Jane! I hope you're enjoying your time with family. Thanks for keeping up with us here on FBTB on your time off!

    I love that Kate is just like the rest of us and buys multiples of things she really likes in different patterns or color ways. Her budget is more than most of us but, in principle, it's the same thing. I buy different colors or patterns of the same things all the time. When it fits well and is comfortable - go for it! If it's a classic style - as the Preen is - accessorizing in different ways is what to look forward to. I'm excited to see her highlight more borrowed pieces from HM vault on theses dresses. The Cézanne dresses are just great working day dresses that fit well under her much loved coats and I never understood the controversy over the D&G dresses when the colors and necklines were so different. The Emilia Wickstead dresses were a different story for me. I think her dress designs, while expensive, look cheaply made. If Kate never wears Wickstead again I will be happy. And, because I'm the "shoe complainer" in this group, I couldn't be more happy with what she's been choosing of late. Keeping fingers crossed for it to continue!!

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    1. Robin @1:58- don't forget the yellow garden party prenant Kate Wickstead. :+)

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    2. Emilia Wickstead has some wonderful dresses. Have you seen some of her dresses that Sophie has worn over the years? The Telegraph has a really nice series of photos of her best outfits in their Friday online edition

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    4. Weird, my comment first posted without any words and then said I deleted it. I think I was remembering the strange gold colored dress with the puckering seams by EW.

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    5. Well, there is a story there. Blogger has changed the dashboard, so when I log in on the back-end, everything is changed up. I don't love it. Anyway, when I hit comments, it used to pull up the comments awaiting moderation first, but now it pulls up already published comments. So I was on autopilot and I read your comment and clicked where "approve" generally is, but because I was looking at already approved comments and not "awaiting moderation" the button I pressed was mark as spam, or delete, or something. So I tried to republish it or find some way to resurrect it. It was kind of a nightmare. Sorry, you are the collateral damage of Blogger's reorganization. I will be more careful in the future!

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    6. P.S. Thanks for the Thanksgiving wishes. :) It was lovely an restful!

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  13. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family Jane. Enjoy reading your blog.

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    1. I am definitely in the she doesn't dye her clothes camp. Kate was wealthy before she married William. She certainly can afford to buy a dress she likes in multiple colors. I love all the looks shown here. Fun to take a break from turkey leftovers.

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  14. Like most women, I'll often buy the same tee shirt in different colors. I've also done this with pants, skirts and basic blouses. Normally, though, I wouldn't buy the same dress in different colors--although I do have a favorite strapless, very classic black dress that I am now considering also purchasing in red. I saw it on sale, at a deeply discounted price. (My clothing budget is a lot less than Kate's!) I like the Preen cocktail dress in both red and black. However, I can't understand why Kate didn't wait a few more months to wear the black version.

    I like the Cezanne dress in all the various colors. I also like the gray version of the Amanda Wakeley dress. It's one of my favorite Kate day dresses, but I never realized until now that it was identical to the oatmeal dress. I'd also like to see Kate wear the Beulah London pink dress again. Some thought it was too fussy, but I think it would be very pretty for a spring/summer semi-dressy event.

    Thank you so much, Jane, for all your efforts on behalf of your FBTB “family.” I’ve become addicted to your blog. I’m always happy when there is a new post.

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  15. I have no problem with Kate buying multiple pieces of an item, but here's my question. She has access to the designers of these clothes so for the expensive items, ie, Preen, the Emilia Wickstead dresses, why not ask them to create something in the overall style she likes but with a bit of a difference (like the D&G). That would add variety to her wardrobe and also avoid direct repeats which can become a bit tiresome. (I don't count items like the Cezanne dresses in this statement because those almost count as 'basics' in Kate's wardrobe and fulfill that function very well).

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  16. That's why I don't think she bought two of the same Wickstead. The Preen-went on a greatly marked down sale recently and someone said she just bought the black one within the last two weeks. Under those circumstances, I could see her buying another of the same style.
    And, again, what percentage of her total wardrobe do duplicates comprise? I doubt even 5%.
    Really not anything to consider seriously as a part of her fashion routine. And how many in the past year, since she has been given more of a royal role? The Wickstead redo was during the Australian tour. :+)

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  17. I think that Kate buys the same dress in different colors means she has trouble finding the right flair and fit (she's long-waisted) so when she finds something she tikes, she locks down multiple options.

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  18. Looks like the Yorks are at it again. I think Charles will be even less likely to bend to Andrew's demands. What she was doing when she sliced the guy was a complete mockery of what her grandmother does.

    http://news.nationalpost.com/arts/celebrity/princess-beatrice-slashes-singer-ed-sheerans-face-with-sword-while-trying-to-knight-pop-star-james-blunt

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  19. Love your post Jane, as always. I don't see a problem with Kate buying several serviceable dresses in different colors. If something looks good on you or is to-die-for comfortable, just do it. She always looks appropriate for the occasion; she never puts her foot wrong-- we, as her fans, always want to be wowed and not bored. But that's not part of her job description. Her clothes are classically cut-- we may see them out decades from now if she keeps her trim figure (just ask Princess Anne)and I don't mind at all. Thinking of the 2 outings of the Preen dress- just loved it both ways. And can I just say her arms are amazing!

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