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In Defense of Kate's Florals at Stutthof

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Cambridges began their second day of the tour today with a visit to Stutthof, a former Nazi concentration camp in what was occupied Poland. For me, this was the event for which I was most excited when the royals initially released their itinerary. It is deeply important for public figures to return to these erstwhile places of horror and draw with them the spotlight of media attention so that as a society and as individuals we don't forget the suffering of the past, nor the depravity to which humanity can fall if unchecked.

The Cambridges had a very special day planned, because they had the opportunity to meet with several individuals who were imprisoned at the camp during its time of operation, and survived. 

KP Twitter

The single blight on the event was the unhappy chatter of royal watchers faulting Kate for wearing a floral pattern rather or grey, I assume? I don't know what the preferred ensemble was, but apparently this floral didn't pass muster. I don't know when a muted floral became an inappropriate ensemble for a significant occasion. When did flowers become incompatible with gravity?

KP Twitter

When someone dies, what do you send to bereaved family members? Flowers. When you arrive at the funeral home or church, what is the coffin covered in? Flowers. When you visit a loved one at a cemetery, what do you bring to leave at the grave? Flowers. There is absolutely nothing incompatible between mourning or gravity and flowers.

What was that memorial to WWI dead that we all loved so much several years ago? A veritable sea of poppy flowers! Kate wore a bright blue on that occasion and no one complained. What's more, one of the women accompanying the royals today was wearing a cheerful blue, which looked professional and respectful on her. 

Like anything else, flowers and floral patterns come in different shapes, sizes, and "flavors" that vary for the occasion. I thought Kate chose a really fantastic ensemble today. This is not a girlish, summer picnic floral like the one she wore to Wimbledon. It is true to Erdem's often brooding and quirky style, and features a busy, but subdued floral print that actually reminded me of the style popular in the 1940s. 

Kate is supposed to look her best when on a public engagement, even more so when on such an important stop. This was a visit, it was not a commemorative service or specific event like Remembrance Sunday or a centenary. You don't downplay your clothes, you look your best as is appropriate, to pay your highest respects. She hit the nail on the head. 

Later in the day (not the camp) via Twitter

I don't even think I would have liked this pattern in another scenario, but the vintage charm and the way it stood out against the green of the grass and the shadows of the buildings, was perfect. If you still think Kate was an insensitive wretch, though, justice requires you apply your standard uniformly. In which case, I give you Her Majesty the Queen at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City...wearing a brighter floral dress than Kate debuted today. (Thanks to Cepe for alerting me to this. ;))

The pictures today were stunning, and the contrast between her beauty and the echoes of evil that linger at such a horrible place, created a powerful juxtaposition of light and darkness. It's the lesson we have to draw from these terrible events of the past, too, that darkness is always followed by light. Well done, Kate. 

George Does a Tarmac Toe Dance as Cambridges Land in Poland

Monday, July 17, 2017

Late last night I thought, gosh I wonder when William and Kate's trip to Poland starts. Lo and behold,  that would be today.  It's been an incredible summer, but very busy one. A lot of non-legal things have slipped through the cracks. But, here we are. The Cambridges are on tour. 

KP Family

I have good news and bad news. The good news is the tour is off to a smashing start. William and Kate have brought their little charmers Charlotte and George.  George has just hit the age where he is getting awkward with strangers. He was reluctant to greet his fans when the family deplaned:

And then stood on the tarmac doing the shy-shuffle. We've all been there, right? Toe-tapping imaginary lint around while we try to pretend we are quire relaxed at the presence of other humans.

Nothing says, "I'm confident and I know it" like a model worthy pose while you take comfort kissing your dad's knuckles. I love this sweet child. 

Kate wore McQueen, and as one reporter remarked, carried her best accessory, Princess Charlotte, who by the way, is not suffering from George's sudden stage fright. She has been waving and shaking hands and generally yucking it up with all about her. They'll have to rein her in soon before she decides to enter politics...

To the delight of many, Kate wore a custom dress from a Polish designer this evening:

Of course, the big news item today was that Kate was gifted something meant for a baby, so her response was to tell William, "I guess we will have to have more babies." That has turned into a headline on the Daily Mail claiming Kate wants more kids. I watched several iterations of the comment throughout the day on several news sources, and it really is like the game Telephone. Everyone puts just a hint of a spin on her remark until it's a completely different statement. As it happens, I think these two are planning more kids, so we will see how that plays out. In the meantime, raise your glass to another Cambridge. And santé:

The bad news is that I am not going to cover the tour. Some you will read this as: I am quitting blogging. No. I am not quitting blogging, but I am not covering the tour. Covering a tour is exponentially more work then a regular post. There is sooo much to keep track of, to report on, and explain. More pictures, more data--it's a lot to synthesize and pass on. This week I have to choose the law instead of Kate. 

I will post a little something at the end of every day--my favorite pictures or some piece of news that surfaced that was interesting--and on the weekend I will do a full retrospective of the tour talking about the clothes and the highlights. That will be a big post. But, I can't spend thirty-five hours blogging this week. It often disappoints me that in life, you just can't always have it all. 

The consolation prize, if this disappoints you, is that if you want more tour coverage, I will be active on my Instagram account, where I post stories and pictures. I will "go live" tonight to talk about the day and the fashion. If you aren't familiar with Instagram Stories, you can start a live video and interact with other Instagrammers in real-time, which allows you to ask questions and for me to answer. So, we can have a quasi-conversation. Anyone who wants to tune in for that should follow my account and I will go live tonight and throughout the week. Remember that Stories are only available on the mobile app, you can't join in from your desktop. 


Kate Stumped Royal Watchers in Catherine Walker Floral

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Duchess of Cambridge attended the men's final at Wimbledon today, accompanied by her husband the Duke of Cambridge. In the past, Kate has often repeated for her Wimbledon appearances, but in keeping with her uptick in new ensembles, Kate wore a new day dress. It led fashion watchers on quite the hunt to ID it!

When Kate stepped out in this dress I thought it looked the type that would be IDed in seconds, but hours went by as royal fashion IDers combed every outlet to track down this summery floral print. I thought it might be a Lela Rose because of the overlay, and it also has elements in common with Gucci's recent designs. It was similar (but nowhere near an exact match) to a Ted Baker dress, so the Daily Mail just went ahead and IDed it as such. Oh well. I think most everyone had marked themselves stymied when @ParkysGirl79 found it! The dress was featured in Catherine Walker's Chelsea Flower Show shoot! 

Betty Bader snagged a screen shot of Kate by the car, and the Duchess is wearing new block sandal-heels from L.K. Bennett.

These are the company's Helena Fawn Block Heels and retail for £195 at one of Kate's favorite accessory brands. 

A better complete look from EasiGrass:

Kate: Baby, did you shave today? 

William: Oops, let me just whip out my shaving bag on-the-go...

That's not what happened. Apparently, guests of the Royal Box always get some kind of little "party favor." Today, they received a leather bag of goodies and William couldn't resist digging into his to see what he'd received as Kate looked on with amusement. Twitter thought that William had brought a man-bag! I was really confused. I thought, good goodness, did Wills pack along his shaving bag with him today? Super bizarre. The explanation helped a lot! @RoyalSpectator shared these three images. You are never too old to get stoked for a great party favor, eh?

I think Kate sees shades of George here. ;) 

Kate wore her recently debuted Bulgari sunglasses and recycled her Temple of Heaven earrings. These earrings are getting a lot of love from Kate, but a frosty reception from the comment section. I get the sense you all are ready for her to move on! Happily for you, I think Kate will break the streak tomorrow as she starts her trip!

The New York Times ran a fascinating piece dishing the inside scoop on the Royal Box experience. Details in the article include the confirmation of the goodie bag and the general program of the day--lunch before play and tea and sandwiches afterward for those who wish to stay. Apparently the dress code for women states that no dresses can end above the knee, so as a Duchess, Kate must be exempt, because today's dress was above the knee, as have several of her past ensembles. 
Guests are assigned woven-wicker seats in the box, each with their name, a commemorative program and a small gift. This year, the gift was a green leather zippered bag embossed with the Wimbledon logo and the words “Royal Box 2017.” Guests also receive sterling silver lapel pins and a commemorative photograph of match action from that day’s play with the box visible in the background, paired with a seating chart.
Federer won the championship and the Duke and Duchess got a chance to congratulate the star:

Just as they did last year, the Duke and Duchess stayed for the doubles game that followed the men's final. 

The royal duo also got a chance to chat with the ladies' champion Garbine Muguruza. Since Kate didn't show up on Saturday for polo, I think she was packing for Poland...and watching the ladies' final on the telly. 

The verdict is ace. I vaguely remember the picture of the Catherine Walker model from the Chelsea Flower Show, but let's just didn't do anything for me. Kate saw past the netting and the creepy face paint and she totally nailed a fresh summer look today in the Royal Box! White is pretty traditional at Wimbledon, although I enjoy it when Kate branches out. This dress was a fun combo. I know people are really divided on the hair, but I was loving it today! These relaxed waves looked great! Most of all, Kate's passion for tennis always lights her up from the inside. I thought she was radiant this afternoon and a wonderful ambassador for this sport. 

P.S. The bow features Wimbledon's official colors. 

Kate Picks Preen for Hope the Blue Whale at NHM

Saturday, July 15, 2017

On Thursday night, Kate returned to the Natural History Museum, of which she is royal patron, to reopen Hintze Hall. Kate chose a new Preen dress and some sexy Prada strappy sandals that have left yours truly in a conundrum. More on that later.

Hintze Hall is the stunning (Hogwartsesque) main hall at the Natural History Museum and used to house the very popular skeleton of a dinosaur, affectionally called Dippy. The Museum moved Dippy along to make way for a new character. This Blue Whale is

Kate Stuns in Plunging Marchesa at Spanish State Banquet

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

To the delight of all, Kate attended the State Banquet tonight, which was thrown in honor of King Felipe and Queen Letizia's "Spanish State Visit" to the United Kingdom. The Duchess of Cambridge really ramped up the va va voom to meet one of Europe's most glamorous royals, Queen Letizia of Spain.

Everyone loves a State Banquet because of the incredible evening gowns and jaw dropping jewelry, but the drawback for bloggers and fans is the dearth of good photos. Most of our images tonight are screen shots of the video.

The Duchess Debuts New Dolce at Wimbledon

Monday, July 3, 2017

Kate mixed one of her favorite sports today with one of her favorite styles when she arrived at Wimbledon wearing a polka-dotted dress from Dolce & Gabbana. With Rebecca Deacon on duty, Kate made her first appearance at Wimbledon as patron of the All England Club:

Kate has been a spectator at Wimbledon for well over a decade, first as a private citizen up in the stands, then as a royal girlfriend with added press scrutiny, and then as a princess in the royal box.

Kate Wears Gucci to the Victoria & Albert Museum

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Weren't we just saying how we missed Kate's shorter hemlines and youthful styles circa 2011? The princess answered a lot of prayers today when arrived at the Victoria & Albert Museum wearing a sixties-inspired mini by Gucci! 

I had to do a little background research to figure out exactly what the event was all about. Let me catch some of you (the culturally illiterate Yanks, probably) up on the background.

[Full Post] Kate's Sailor Crops Sink the Fashion Stakes at 1851 Roadshow

Saturday, June 24, 2017

A week ago Friday, on June 16th, the Duchess of Cambridge made a visit to the Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre for the last 1851 Trust Land Rover BAR Roadshow. Four area schools were participating in a day that would incorporate STEM studies with sailing. 


According to BAR's press release:
The 1851 Trust roadshows use Sir Ben Ainslie’s British America’s Cup challenge to inspire both primary and secondary school pupils into STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths), with practical applications of the challenges the team has faced in their preparations to compete in the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda. 
Kate was booked to participate in a treasure hunt where all the questions were math and science-based, and an activity to highlight the dangers plastic refuse in the ocean poses to wildlife, particularly to birds.


The princess had been scheduled to get out on the water, too, as she often does on a Ben Ainslie visit, but due to the tragedies that overwhelmed Britain this month, that portion of the visit was cut out, because it might have looked too cheerful for the national mood of mourning.  


The Duchess wore an ensemble that divided our fashionistas. We were already familiar with her Zara blazer and block heels from J.Crew. Those debuted in Canada with rage success in 2016. For this event, Kate gave the look a nautical twist by adding new crops. 

They are J.Crew's Sailor Pant in Two-Way Stretch Wool and feature the oversized button closure on the front and a "kicky," i.e. flared opening. And that, my friends, is where these crops wandered off the reservation.  I think the flare is a little too dramatic. If you look at the product shot on the left, the model is standing such that the opening looks more tailored. That looks polished, but on the right, and on Kate, the actual flare is more apparent.

As I say, I know this really divided the fans, and I know some of you really loved these. I was excited that Kate is continuing to vary her business casual and I really like the nautical look, so I was thrilled with this outfit until it hit the knee.

But, I think the trousers are off. To my mind, they are too flared and they hit her a little too high. Notice the product shot shows the crops hitting the model just above the ankle, while Kate's are hitting low calf. That isn't the most flattering place to hit, even for someone with legs as picture perfect as Kate's. It took the sailor theme a little too literally. I really could imagine a small runaway cabin boy who had been at sea six months and outgrown his trousers... Not the look she was probably going for when she went nautical.

Finally, the shoes just didn't go with the ensemble. Given how high these trousers are cropped, adding heels made the look awkward to me. These trousers would have been helped by a less formal ballet flat or almost any casual flat. So, no on the shoes, too. Happy Saturday, right? :)

Still, it was great to see Kate experiment. These fashion forays always maintain an element of risk and even if she didn't completely nail this look, it was a great try. The fact that she was incredibly radiant helped, too. I know others noticed it; Kate looked magnificent. The photos that crop out the crops are some of the best pictures of Kate this month.

So, the verdict is a miss. She didn't pull the look off, and if she goes for sailor pants again, she needs to find a pair with a longer inseam and she needs to keep the look "cool" to be trendy. Formal shoes and even the jacket, probably weren't the right vibe. But, big win for being absolutely glowing and super props for wearing something new and unusual! 

Princess Kate's "Royal Wedding" Ascot Ensemble

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Change can be hard, and over the past few years Kate's style and schedule have changed in various ways that have been bittersweet. She certainly has developed a new style since 2011/2012, and I miss that sometimes, but one positive side of change for a growing royal is how her calendar is evolving. In their early years, William and Kate never attended the Chelsea Flower Show or Royal Ascot, two really lovely staples of the summer. Last year the couple debuted at the Chelsea Flower Show and at Ascot and I was thrilled today to see Kate and William return to the racecourse all spruced up and looking their best. 

The couple took part in the opening carriage ride and sat with the Earl and Countess of Wessex.  They are the third carriage, if you count in this video. The Queen is in the first, and I think she is recycling that neon ensemble from trooping. It takes someone who has lived through a world war to be brave enough to wear that color, let's all be honest.

Sophie and Kate made front page news with these images of Sophie almost tumbling into the Duchess! Everyone seemed in very high spirits and having a real ball as they laughed off the near miss.

Kate and William also enjoyed mingling with other family members including Princess Beatrice, and Zara and Mike Tindall. Zara has always been close to her Wales cousins and I suspect she gets on well with Kate, too, thanks to her very down-to-earth personality, in addition to the fact the two couples are at the same stage in their lives. They always look like they are close family when pictured together at sporting and social events. 

Zara did let her mischievous side get the better of her, and she blew a raspberry at William just as the announcer called for a moment of silence for recent victims of Britain's several recent tragedies. The comment on the video is that Kate gave her a quick "mom look." I am sure Kate was torn between the humor and her more discreet inclinations.

Maybe the most exciting part of the day for me, though, was the fact that Carole and Michael Middleton were at Ascot, too. They have come to Ascot in the past, but never with Kate, so it was particularly fantastic to see them enjoying the sunny weather...with their eyes closed. Mom, this photo is for you. Carole and Kate also blink just when they shouldn't!! [By the way guys, I don't blink just as the camera clicks. I know how it works.] 

William and Kate had some official duties to discharge. The two presented the King's Stand Stakes trophy.  It is interesting how Kate has become more comfortable in this role over the years, often taking charge now, while William plays a supporting role. 

Kate debuted tip to toes. Well, almost. The shoes are her Gianvito Rossi Pralines, which have been her shoe of choice lately, and the earrings are loaners we have seen before, but hat, dress, and clutch are all new/ Kate's hat has not been identified at this time, but it certainly is one of her most elaborate perchers to date. It features a waffle structure with a styled bow and delicate floral embellishments, reminiscent of her all white embellishments on her wedding cake! 

The materials remind me of Jane Taylor's "Una" mesh hat from last year's Ascot, and her Rachel Trevor-Morgan from some years ago at Order of the Garter. If I had to put money on it, I'd say today's hat is bespoke Jane Taylor. [Although, the elaborate details could also make it a Jane Corbett. I miss JC.]

Kate's earrings are another pair of priceless sparklers from the Queen's vault. The Queen received stunning pearls from the Hakim of Bahrain as a wedding gift, and two were incorporated into these drops. Kate has worn them before, but I sense we will see more of them.

Kate's clutch is from Loeffler Randall. It is their "Tab" clutch in a "lizzard-effect" print with gold clasp. I think Kate was due a few new clutches, much as we all love the Muse and Mulberrys, and I like this large style.  

Loeffler Randall on Net-a-Porter

The dress is Alexander McQueen. Kate has had one of the label's shorter dresses customized, and it is a smash hit for me. The skirt is almost bell shaped, a silhouette we don't see on Kate much.  Her Saloni comes to mind immediately, but not many more. It is not a typical look for Kate.

The skirt is described on Harrods website as flared, I have looked at dozens of photos and I am sure this dress has a touch of bustling underneath, similar to her wedding dress. The back of the dress in particular puffs out when she is standing straight, but also when she leans in to hug people etc. It is too pronounced not to be by design. I love it! I think it is absolutely exquisite on her.  


Carole Middleton looked the picture of elegance, per usual. You already know the hat she is wearing. It is a Jane Corbett creation and she had it made for Kate's wedding in 2011. It suits her so well. 

Carole turned to Goat London for her midi-length day dress. This is the "Devon" and features a sweet-heart neckline and back, which is echoed at the waistline, too. 

GOAT London

I wasn't a huge fan of Goat when Kate first debuted the label, but the simple and streamlined, yet super flattering ensembles they have produced since have more than won me over. These are two of my favorites: the crepe shift at Blessed Sacrament and the Binky Blouse for the Heads Together Launch.

The verdict today is: big win. Kate loves lace and is a woman of very set tastes. This ensemble today is sort of the 2.0 of last year's lace look, and in my opinion is a slight improvement. It is a little more sophisticated, I think, and I like the details more. The peplum rather than last year's (dust) ruffle, and the softer, albeit far more embellished, topper. Maybe it is because I just got back from Versailles, but I thought Kate looked like a modern Marie-Antoinette with the profusion of lace and the beautiful hat decorated with bows and flowers. To me it was mid-18th century modernized...Marguerite St.Just off for a picnic with Percy. (Great movie, by the way, if you haven't seen it.)

Kate's Percy Blakeney is pretty dashing, too. I love seeing these two living out their happily ever after. Today was so fun. It reminds me why I love royal-watching. :) Until the next time!!