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Kate Wears Gorgeous Velvet Coat to Festival of Remembrance

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Tonight the Duchess of Cambridge joined members of the Royal Family at the Festival of Remembrance that takes place annually at the Royal Albert Hall. William is in the dog house for skipping tonight's event, but he committed to the Wales v. Australia rugby match instead. He is patron of the Welsh Rugby Union, so I am giving him a pass. 


I love the Festival of Remembrance because I love anything that is annual, takes place at the sumptuously velvety red Royal Albert Hall, and includes oodles of royals dressed to impress. But, this event is far more than that. It is one of those tricky events that straddles celebration and mourning. It's a "festival," which denotes society's celebration and thanks for those who have served, but it is heavily imbued with solemnity and sadness for the lives lost and the commitment many have given at crushing personal sacrifice. 

British Legion

"Beautiful" is a word that captures both emotions, and it is good to see the Royal Family out in force for these sorts of events. 

British Legion

Kate made her first appearance at this event in 2015, four years after she joined the royal family. It was after Charlotte's birth and part of William and Kate's first clear steps toward more active senior status. They came last year, too, and I expect they will attend most years from here on out. From a quick fashion perspective, Kate was on a major lace D&G streak in the autumn of 2015 and she wore a black lace that I thought was gorgeous, even if it was very similar to the aubergine D&G she had just worn for the Chinese State Visit. 



Just last year, Kate sparked pregnancy rumors by wearing this boxy, heavy coat, which she never removed! It ended up suffocating all of us, if not her. People wondered if she was hiding a bump, or unnaturally cold...because she was pregnant? I don't know how the second part worked, but people wondered, as we do. :) It was Temperley's Callas coat, and gorgeous in the stock images. It just didn't work on her. Anyway, water under the bridge. 



This year, she's back and this time she is pregnant and far more appropriately dressed. Perhaps Kate took inspiration from the floor to ceiling velvet at the venue to order up this bespoke Catherine Walker coat. (Carly at Kate Middleton Style was quick to ID this one!)  The full coat is based upon this velvet jacket from one of Kate's favorite royal labels. 



I am looking at the skirt peeking out from beneath the coat, and what appears to be an asymmetric hemline. It reminded me of this dress, which we have only ever seen from under a coat and has never been IDed. Kate wore it on a night out with William and friends at LouLou's.


The obvious problem is that Kate wore this mystery dress in October of 2012--before she was even pregnant with George--and tonight she is some months into a third pregnancy and showing. But, depending on the material of that dress it could work underneath the coat. I'm open to other options! 


The Duchess accessorized with her Collingwood pearl earrings, which are (to use an overused word) divine, and she carried her Magid clutch which happens to look nothing like the majority of the product shots floating about, but that is a story for another time.  Also making an appearance tonight was the absolute biggest poppy any of us have ever seen. I am confident it won the flower show at Downton Abbey and doubtless beat out Mrs. Miniver's most voluptuous rose.  I liked it. It has oomph. 


Tonight was a huge win in my book. Do you know what it reminded me of? One of Kate's SuperStar looks, the Libélula that she wore to the Harry Aubrey-Fletcher and Sarah Louise Stourton's wedding the day before her 29th birthday in 2011. Both these coats have structure, but lots of movement, and the velvet is so elegant.



Kate was charming and lovely tonight. The black of her ensemble, slimming color it is, entirely obscured her bump, and the coat over her dress provided a polished look that didn't look like she was dressed for the Arctic. Big win. :) 

Royal British Legion




28 comments:

  1. Agree, Jane, this coat is gorgeous. I did not like her previous clothing choices for this event, so my hopes were not high but this is lovely. The structure of the coat is very pretty, and the richness of the velvet with the glittering buttons dresses it all up for the evening. I only wish she had worn all diamond earrings instead of the pearl drops which are clashing with the eye catching buttons for me.

    Still not happy with the hair. the centerish part is bothering me tonight. Makes her hair style look off imo.

    So glad the Cambridges have decided to make this an annual event, and so glad Kate came when PW could not. Very nice to see all the senior royals together for this.

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  2. I absolutely love this velvet coat. Kate looks very elegant tonight. Wonderful to see Prince Philip escorting Queen Elizabeth, and didn't she look lovely! A heartfelt salute to all veterans, past, present and future. And, Happy 34th Anniversary to my beloved husband, Joel, and, thank you for your service.

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  3. Yes she looked very good. Love the big poppy.

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  4. Gorgeous coat! Love it! I liked last year's coat too--personally I didn't mind its lines, didn't think it was overly boxy for Kate's frame but thought it was better worn as an actual coat--like outdoors in cold weather not in lieu of a dress/suit at an entirely indoor event. It looked WAY too heavy for that. And definitely was a stark contrast with the "cocktail-type" lace dress and no coat from the year before. But velvet this year works very well even if it still is sort of a coat worn as a dress.

    I see what you mean about the earrings Faith. But all diamonds might not have blended so well with the crystal buttons either and might have pushed the outfit into the "too festive" category. I think fairly plain earrings without pearls or lots of gems might have worked best with the buttons for this event.

    Think Kate must be using a henna-based dye while pregnant as some others have suggested. Her hair looks more reddish in all kinds of lighting. Henna also adds glossiness. Think it looks great overall but liked her with a true side part a bit better.

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  5. Maybe the dress is the black silk Issa? Worn while shopping just days before the royal wedding...

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  6. She is definitely not having twins. Even with the best black camouflage, and limited camera angles, in the world that is a minimal "bump". She looks wonderful though.

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  7. Lovely!! I think her hair looked especially nice tonight. I understand she has extremely thick and curly hair so I'm sure it's a much more practical with small children (& morning sickness) to have it shorter and lighter. I think it's lovely but understand how others like the longer look. Maybe when she doesn't have babies in the house she can focus on hair more and let it grow longer. I think it looks lovely both ways. Glad to see she's feeling better and able to make these engagements. Having two young kids and another on the way is very exhausting- even with help. They are the type of parents who provide for most needs themselves so it's nice she is getting out despite her busy home life. What a nice tribute tonight! Great support from the RF. It's a great encouragement to us military families.

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    1. When one has naturally curly hair, blow outs and other styling are a lot of work. But I don't think the answer is a shorter length, I think it's time to go with the flow. There are plenty of occasions where her natural hair can be worn to good effect. I suspect that somewhere along the line a determination was made to use blowouts for public life and natural curls at home. There are photos from before marriage and on the South Asia trip where her natural curls are just spectacular.

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  8. This is Kate's third appearance at this event, and by far her best look! I love the coat and have often wondered why Kate hasn't included more velvet in her winter wardrobe--from evening gowns to simple, well-tailored blazers with skirts.

    I have to say that, after some indecision, I am quite taken by her new hairstyle. I also liked it longer but...only when properly styled, aka James Price. (Hope I got the name right.) I do think that this length would be faster and easier to style, which would be important to a mother with two and-a-half kids on board, and who is expected to appear in public and be subjected to minute criticism.

    I've been thinking about that oversized poppy Kate had on. Initially taken aback, it really IS much nicer than the cardboard poppies she's worn in the past, nor am I convinced that it's made of felt; it looks lighter, almost as tho the wind might ruffle the petals. Very pretty.

    This ensemble gets a Two Thumbs Up, from Yours Truly.

    JC

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    1. JC, I agree Kate's poppy probably is not felt. There is visible topstitching around the outer edges of the petals. There would be no need for that if it was felt (& while the stitching looks OK it doesn't add a needed design element so I doubt it's there for decoration.) It looks more like a lighter material was used. And each petal was constructed by cutting 2 (maybe with a layer of light interfacing for stability) then stitching them right sides together, turning inside out and topstitching to keep the petal edges flat. The leaf does look like felt to me. I am a little on the fence about the size--I think I'd like it better if the petal material was not almost "heathered" but a true poppy red. But I don't dislike it as is.

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  9. I really like this coat and am not surprised that it's a CW design. The fit is perfect and the fabric has lovely movement to it. But even more importantly, Kate proved that she can hold her own among the senior royals.

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  10. I love Kate's hair this length. It frames her face beautifully and she looks more sophisticated than when her hair was longer. I just think, at 35, she is happy with her achievements and is ready for this new look.

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  11. Beautiful coat, beautiful Kate.

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  12. Thinking overall Kate looked lovely. I, personally, find the slightly shorter hair gorgeous, it looks fresh and appropriately elegant. Somehow Kate manages to balance Royal, fashion forward, and personal style beautifully certainly this is no easy task, especially with so many of us scrutinizing every stitch , strand and cuticle! Overall an elegant smash hit in all ways, she looks confident, elegant, and comfortable,

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  13. Years ago the British Legion used to have the very large poppies along with the more familiar ones, but haven't seen them for years.
    Catherine looks lovely.
    Soon after their marriage, the Queen announced that Catherine would take her husband's seniority, when she was with him, but not when she was alone. William wasn't at the Albert Hall, but she most obviously had his position.

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  14. Really trying to like Kate's hair here, but I can't. A bit longer (or perhaps even a tad shorter)...

    HM looks so elegant.

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    1. Her hair....🤦🏼‍♀️ I can’t.

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    2. I think Kate always does black velvet well. One of my faves was the black velvet Christmas dress she wore to an event with W & H (at Christmas time). She debuted her new necklace/earring/bracelet set. I think it was the first or second Christmas after their wedding. Anyhow, she does black velvet well.

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    3. The black velvet dress she wore to the Christmas party was a stunning outfit. It reminded me of Diana's blue velvet dress at the White House dinner when she danced with John Travolta. The outfit I like here is the black velvet coat she wore to the wedding after they were married. I forget the name of the couple. The black shoes with the lavender pop of color were a nice added touch.

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  15. Great dress! The hair is spot on! Best yet! Thanks for the quick post & all the nice pictures, Jane.

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  16. She looks great - my only nit is that I hate sheer black tights.

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  17. The coat is very pretty. And I happen to love sheer black hose, which I wish Kate would wear more often. But I’m still not a fan of this hairstyle. And I was disappointed once again that she kept her coat on. Plus, it was buttoned all the way to the top the entire time! Is it really that cold inside? I just don’t understand the reasoning for not taking one’s coat off indoors. If we didn’t see the little bit of skirt peeking out, I might have mistaken this for a black velvet dress.

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    1. I love sheer hose too and think they're a nice mix of elegant and sexy with the right outfit. ;-)

      Regarding the coat...it is not an overcoat that one takes off. This WAS her outfit for the evening.

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  18. I guess I don't understand. I had a few coat dresses years ago, and they were clearly dresses, not coats. But here, Kate is wearing a coat that's not an overcoat, yet we can see that she is wearing a skirt or dress underneath. So, why wouldn't she take the coat off at some point during the evening? I’ve always been puzzled by Kate and her coat dresses. Are they really dresses? Or, coats that she wears as dresses?

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  19. I believe some coat dresses are designed to allow a dress underneath. It is generally a dress in the STYLE of a coat with fabric somewhat heavier than a plain dress; not one actually meant to take the place of one.
    I think sometimes she does and sometimes not. For this occasion, there may have been a small reception before or after the concert where she removed the outer garment and would wear the dress underneath. Albert Hall can be drafty, I understand. Then the problem arises of what to do with the coat, once removed. And the fuss of taking off and putting back on. Do the gentlemen assist the ladies? Who assists whom and in what order? If one removes the coat, should all? I think the Duke was barely hanging in, just managing to sit through the event, let alone assist the ladies with coat removal .Much simpler just to keep the coat on for the concert but wear a dress underneath for an event in a more private setting.
    Actually, I think this is a dress coat or dressy coat for evening wear, not a coat dress. It would be perfectly appropriate to wear a dress underneath it.

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    1. I agree it is an evening coat, not a coatdress. Velvet is very luxurious but it doesn't exactly scream super-warm & bundled up for winter. A dress underneath would be expected so this coat can be removed indoors and probably is by most wearers. I don't think it's a big deal though for Kate to have kept it on. Along with all the difficulties involved in taking it off anon 1 mentioned,  I think it is clear Kate never intended to take it off at AH because her poppy is on the outside (unlike with Camilla's easy to remove short jacket/evening cape.) I do think the coat worn at this event  last year was problematic. Not only was Kate bundled up much more than the other women, it looked like a regular buttoned up to the neck winter coat. Fine as a *coat* for going out at night but it would also be fine for wearing as a coat during the day (like for a Remembrance Sunday.) That sort of "bundled up for cold weather" look CAN convey "I'm not staying long" at an indoor event. It can also convey "I'm uncomfortable here." (Think of a guest keeping on a buttoned up winter coat at an event in a private home. Yikes, especially for the host/hostess.)  

      My understanding of the term "coatdress" from back when I used to sew is that it is properly used to describe a tailored DRESS not a dual purpose garment that can be a coat or a dress. Many features typically mimic those of a coat--  coatdresses may have notched lapels, a button front (sometimes double-breasted) a belt and so on but are made of lighter material than a coat. Because a coatdress is a dress and is **fitted like a dress** all that would be worn underneath is a slip, not yet another dress as it is not designed to be removed (think Diana in many CW designs) In warmer weather coatdresses often have longish "short" sleeves (not capped,  more like to near the elbow, sometimes cuffed.) Many of Kate's so-called "coatdresses" I think have really been true coats, not what has classically been called a coatdress. True coats worn throughout an event can say I'm not staying long but with a typically short (45 min-1 hr) royal appearance there is always the problem of what to do with a coat if it is removed. (Bring an extra PA to be the coat-holder? Assign an extra security member to guard the royal coat?) I don't remember what Diana did but I am sure I don't remember wondering why she kept her coat on at events & I have wondered that about Kate. Angela K's solution for HMTQ is ideal in many ways.

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  20. Love this coat, looking for a similar one for myself.

    I wonder if the dress underneath the coat could be that Black Issa wrap dress she wore out shopping before her wedding?

    Belle

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