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New Photos of Kate From Sophie Carter's Wedding

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Good news on this rainy Sunday evening. There are about six or so new photos fo George, Charlotte, and Kate taken at Sophie Carter's wedding, plus picture of the beautiful bride in her dress! Click the link below to be whisked to the Daily Mails spread! P.S. I will say the hatband looks just a little bit better from these fresh angles... :)  If you missed my original post with thoughts on Kate's ensemble, you can read that full post here

Other photos that have emerged include this set that shows Kate greeting the groom, and a lovely angle of the bride:

And these snaps of Princess Charlotte in her godmother's arms, showing how close Sophie clearly is to the Cambridges' home life. 

I will update this post if more pictures turn up!

[Updated] Kate, William, & Kids Attend Sophie Carter's Wedding

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Well, all y'all, we were craving a Kate-sighting and now we have one! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended Sophie Carter's wedding this afternoon at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Norfolk and thus far there is at least one photo featured on People's report (click image for full article): 

Let's talk about the bride really quickly. Kate has a constellation of country friends with whom she spends time, but she is particularly close to Sophie. The two have been good friends for many years (details on that in the People article linked below). She was one of the friends Kate invited out to celebrate her birthday in January 2016:

She was again among the guests at Kate's house party (and appearance at the Sunday service at Sandringham) to celebrate the Duchess's birthday in 2017, too. 

Although Natasha Archer has been pegged by many as Kate's stylist, there is another school of thought that Kate has relied on Sophie's sense of style for years when navigating her sartorial choices. I think if you peruse Sophie's various looks (easily done on this great People write-up) you will certainly see how Sophie has probably influenced Kate in some of her more eclectic ensembles. Those ensembles match Sophie's style far more than they do Natasha's. 

Sophie Carter (far left) at Pippa Middleton's wedding
Sophie is also one of Charlotte's godmothers, and so the little princess was a flower girl at today's ceremony. George reprised his role as page boy, and according to Monique Jessen, both little ones were dressed in bespoke Amaia Kids. [Update] WKW's Susan also writes a blog about the Cambridge children's clothes and she shared in Twitter this photo from the Amaia Instagram page. If you do a close zoom, you can see that the two ensembles in the middle appear to be labeled George and Charlotte. This photo has since been removed from IG, so that likely confirms that these are indeed the bespoke ensembles for the wedding party:

Kate loves to dress her kids in Amaia; this is Charlotte clutching an Amaia sweater in Canada. :)  

Kate recycled her blue Catherine Walker dress and coat first debuted in Berlin. She accessorized with the same sparkling blue Kiki McDonough earrings and necklace. 

Kate wearing her Catherine Walker ensemble and Kiki McDonough jewelry on tour in 2017
Finally, she topped it all off with this new headpiece featuring large, blue roses. Oh man, what to say... Ok, it is interesting to see her return to this headpiece style (some have termed it a hatband), which she first tried at Louis's christening. I loved that headpiece. Its graceful curve and elegant pearling was a little bit of vintage and a lot of fashion oomph. I also thought it was very flattering on her. A little Russian tsarina, a little Tudor royal, a lot of regal. 

Today's headpiece is just short of complete disaster in my book. Those large blue roses look like they were scraped right off the top of a ready-made birthday cake from Kroger, and the profusion of them makes this look like a child's hat gone wrong. I am sorry, this is not flattering at all. I love Kate, but I hope before her next public engagement she balances out the headpiece situation. [Update] The hatband is a Juliette Botterill piece. Kate has been trending toward this designer for a year or so now, and generally I am quite a fan (see Kate wearing a gorgeous Juliette Botterill below). Hopefully this was a one-off goof. 

At the end of the day, Kate could have been wearing anything and I would have been thrilled by a peek into her day at Sophie's wedding. Hopefully a few more snaps will emerge! 

Kate Middleton Cambridge-Favorite Orla Kiely Closes

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The good news is that all your sweet birthday messages on IG and FB yesterday absolutely made my day. Thank you! The bad news is that right before I went to bed I saw the news that Orla Kiely is shuttering her brand. Ugh, not a happy ending to the day. I think we better run through why Orla Kiely is such a favorite label, yes? 

Orla K's pieces comprise an interesting section of Kate's closet. If you think about it, Kate hasn't worn the label all that much, certainly not if we compare Orla K to labels like L.K. Bennett or Erdem.  Kate debuted her first few Orla Kiely pieces in 2011/2012, when she was building her royal wardrobe and we were all watching very intently. That early introduction sealed a place in our fashion conscious. Of course, the fact that the designs are quite unique and eye-catching was also a huge factor.  Finally, both Pippa and Carole have a taste for the brand, too, so we have a pretty strong endorsement by the Middleton women that tends to boost the label. 

Kate first wore Orla Kiely on February 21, 2012, for a day in Oxford visiting Rose Hill Primary School and then Oxford Spires Academy. This day was less than a year into her new life as a royal princess and we didn't see her all that often, so it was super exciting to tune in that morning to see Kate...and what she would wear! 

This dress was super cute and immediately made waves among fans. It was a sturdy, cozy fabric with a sweet miniature bird print and bold buttons. The style was a mix of girlish day-dress and polished city-girl. It helped that the radiant princess was modeling it, but it is no surprise that this dress was so popular on its own. 

Kate's second Orla Kiely dress came less than a month after the Birdie debuted. This quick succession so early in her time as a royal gave Orla Kiely a lot of buzz and put her firmly in our minds as one of Kate's go-to labels. 

Again, this dress stood out on its own merits, too. The pretty pleated frock in a gunmetal grey featured a fitted top and black daisies appliquéd around the neckline. Again, professional, but young, fun, and flirty. Just the right middle ground for this cute new royal. 

After two fabulous debuts, though, Orla Kiely dropped off Kate's radar as she turned to other labels like Emilia Wickstead, Amanda Wakeley, and McQueen. Then almost a year and half later, in November of 2013, we saw another spurt of Orla K. Kate recycled her Birdie dress on the 19th of that month as she made her return to the spotlight after Prince George's birth.

The next day, on the 20th, she wore a new pleated skirt from Orla Kiely to a Place2Be conference at Canary Wharf. I'll indulge in a brief tangent....This was a lot of blue. I remember that I gave this ensemble a pass at the time, but I will admit it hasn't aged well for me. You all know sometimes I have rose colored glasses when it comes to Kate, and I am going to admit this one was probably a miss. But, back to the primary plot line--if we thought this double showing from Orla K was a sign of many more to come, we were due a disappointment. 

After her appearance at the Place2Be conference, Orla Kiely completely dropped out of Kate's line-up. We didn't see a piece by the label again until 2015 when the Duchess recycled the Grey Daisy Dress to Chance UK in Islington on October 15th. 

I actually loved this recycle almost as much as the debut on this one. And yes, part of it was how much I loved those bangs! I know we have strong feelings about Kate's fringe around here, but I am feeling bold. 

This recycle did not trigger any new debuts, though, and as the months went by I wondered if Kate had moved on forever from this sweet Irish label. But, no, Kate and the brand had some last surprises in store for fans. In November of 2017, the Duchess (still recovering from HG with Louis) made a surprise appearance with Harry and William at Paddington Station. She wore a powdery pink dress with a raised floral pattern and dark velvet trim. To the delight of many, it turned out to be an Orla Kiely from a past season. 

This dress was part of Orla Kiely AW2013 collection, which suggests that Kate indulges in Orla Kiely in private. That or she borrowed it from Carole? 

Finally, in March of this year, Kate wore one of her more controversial Orla K's to the National Portrait Gallery. This was a more recent dress and the dark florals had more than a few guessing Erdem before the dress was IDed. The design was a little unusual given the look Kate seems to like from Orla K. But the ruffles were on trend and I am not surprised Kate was drawn to this.  

I still like this dress. I love the nude accessories she paired with it and I love that it was a little edgier for Kate. Orla K has always been quirky, although Kate has stuck to Orla's safer designs, so it was interesting to see Kate dip into a broader sampling of Orla's creativity. Experimenting is part of what keeps fashion fresh. I mean, as the French would say, il y a des limites, but this was within bounds. :) 

This news that Orla Kiely will close down is certainly sad. She was a foundational block in Kate's closet and certainly is a designer brimming with nostalgia for many of us. Kate has returned to her every few years and it would have been fun to see how she continued to incorporate the brand into her line-up down the road. I loved Orla K because she was a boutique label that Kate wore right at the start, and it was always so fun to see her occasionally return to those roots. As must inevitably happen, Kate's closet has morphed more and more to mega-labels like McQueen, Erdem, D&G, and so forth. The other smaller labels that Kate favored back in 2011/2012 have not been seen in years, like Amanda Wakeley and Libélula, so in some respects this really is the end of an era. 

On the bright side, Kate has sought out and worn new favorite designers, like Eponine London. I hope she continues to incorporate these talented, smaller shops in amongst her beautiful mega-designers like Carolina Herrera and Michael Kors, etc.  All the best to Orla Kiely as she moves to new adventures. Her lovely designs will be missed by us all, I am sure, and obviously by the Duchess of Cambridge, too. 

Pregnant Pippa Photographed on Holiday + Her Maternity Barre Workout

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Did these pictures already make the rounds and I just missed them? I was listening to Emily Andrews' On Heir podcast and she mentioned photos of Pippa on a baby moon. I ran off to Google and voila. Pippa Middleton Matthews was indeed photographed, looking fit and fabulous, while on holiday in Italy with her husband James. 

PopSugar has a huge album (77 photos!) which you can find here or by clicking the image below. The couple lounged by the water, enjoyed some summer reading, and floated in the Mediterranean. Pippa also has a cute cover-up in one of the later pictures. 

Pippa has been staying in incredible shape throughout her pregnancy, as one would expect from an fitness enthusiast of her magnitude. She still writes a column for Waitrose, and last week MiddletonMaven shared these shots from a recent column in which the Pipster discussed her addiction to barre classes to stay fit:

Waitrose via MiddletonMaven
 The column even included some workout moves you can try at home.

DEFINE London, the studio where Pippa shot the Waitrose photos, shared a few behind the scenes images of the session. 

@define.London (IG) via @MiddletonMaven (Twitter)
We know Pippa has been keeping up with swimming and tennis as well, and in fact if you scroll through the vacation images linked above, you will see that Pippa was swimming laps with James during their Tuscan getaway. No random splashing about for them. :) This is everyone's cue to get out and get moving on this Saturday! 

Happy weekend, all! 

Seven Septembers with the Duchess of Cambridge

Saturday, September 8, 2018

The autumn is always the most exciting time of the year. After a warm, slow summer, Kate's return to the spotlight is as welcome as the crisp fall weather. Autumn is also especially exciting because as fall transitions to winter, Kate attends the most black-tie and red carpet events of the year. In today's post, I am going to look at Kate's first event each September, and her first red-carpet appearance of the season! 

In 2011, Kate wasn't really returning to a working schedule. At that time, Kate and William were still trying to maintain as much of a private life as a they could while simultaneously the most feted and popular newlyweds on the planet. William had sought from the Queen, and had been granted, permission to spend several years in relative seclusion continuing his service in the RAF and allowing Kate a slow transition into her new position as a royal and the future queen. Nevertheless, in the autumn of 2011, the couple returned to the spotlight in late September (the 29th) as they visited the Royal Marsden where William, as patron, opened a new cancer ward for children. Kate was at the height of her sheath-dress phase and this Sculpted Felt Dress from Amanda Wakeley was a huge hit at the time. 

This post, though, is really focused on the black-tie events (let's be honest) which make the autumn such a glittering spectacle of fashion and fun. Kate and William's next event was October 13th and it marked the Duchess's first formal ensemble of that fall. The event was for the 100 Women in Hedge Funds of which William was patron at that time (although Harry and Kate joined him as joint-patrons in 2013). Kate chose a gorgeous red Beulah London dress with graceful sleeves and a plunging neckline.

We are wandering well beyond September, but I can't resist including the silver Amanda Wakeley Kate wore to a private dinner at Clarence House on behalf of In Kind Direct. It is one of Charles's charities, but when he was called away to attend a funeral in Saudi Arabia, he asked his new daughter-in-law to step in. This dress is from Wakeley's 2006 collection, so it is pretty clear that it was out of Kate's closet. She probably wore it first to some glitzy London bash while dating William. :)

2012 was a bit of an anomaly. The couple toured Southeast Asia on behalf of the Queen as part of that year's Diamond Jubilee celebrations. That tour took up the better part of September. The duo didn't undertake a public engagement in the United Kingdom until early October, when they visited Middle Temple to launch a scholarship for law students in their name.

Interestingly, Kate didn't showcase a floor length gown that year until she returned to Middle Temple for one of St. Andrews' 800th Anniversary fundraisers. If you are a long-time Kate-watcher, you might remember that back in 2011/2012/2013, Kate rarely went with an evening gown. If she could skew on the shorter side, she did, so we didn't see a lot.  This dress was the "Amoret" Temperley, which became one of Kate's earliest multi-wears.

2013 was a hectic year for the Cambridges. They became first-time parents on July 22nd, and Kate didn't make any public appearances until she accompanied William to a small event on the island of Anglesey--an event that doubled as their farewell to their island neighbors. The couple headed to Kensington Palace in London shortly thereafter. Kate only had one event in September, the Tusk Trust inaugural gala, and I believe Kate only attended because of how important that charity is to William.  Although it was first reported as a thrifty piece from Jenny Packham's diffusion line, it was in fact a bespoke Jenny Packham that cost close to £6,000. 

Kate spent all of September 2014 sick with the HG that accompanied her pregnancy with Princess Charlotte. She was glowing, however, upon her return to the limelight in October, and I think that was her most glittering autumn to-date. Kate made her return on October 21st, when after her brief appearance at the kick-off of the China State Visit earlier in the day, she attended the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards at the Natural History Museum. The Princess was a knock-out wearing a daring half-and-half dress by Jenny Packham (which I still suspect was initially made for her canceled trip to Malta).

She followed that up with an appearance at Action on Addiction's autumn gala on October 23rd wearing a Temperley cocktail dress. Although I generally prefer evening gowns to the cocktail dresses for events like this, she was glowing, and this ended up being one of my favorite fall appearances. As I say, when I think about the "autumn return," it is 2014 that sets the bar. She exuded glamour and royal star-power.

In 2015, Kate made her return on September 17th. She attended an event at the Anna Freud Centre wearing a Black Label Ralph Lauren in one of her favorite patterns. :) Kate has a habit of twisting her engagement ring around--notice she was caught in this snap with it twisted inward.

Although Kate hit the ground running that year, she didn't bring out the bling until October when she attended the China State Visit. That was her first State Dinner and we had all waited with baited breath to see what Kate would wear. I don't know that this custom Jenny Packham thrilled everyone, but it was certainly in Kate's style profile and very flattering in my view. I think we all loved to see her sparkling in diamonds.

2016 was one of the Cambridges' busiest years. They returned early from their summer holiday making appearances on the 24th and the 25th of August. Then, the 1st of September on the dot, the couple undertook a two-day visit to Cornwall. Prince Charles is the Duke fo Cornwall, but it will eventually fall to William as the heir. Kate began the two-day visit in Truro, Cornwall, wearing this gorgeous pink Lela Rose. (By the way, I have Poldark playing in the background as I write this post and the location only now strikes me--Truro!!)

The Cambridges travelled to Canada later that month for their wildly popular second tour of the northern nation. It was during that visit that Kate wore her first formal look of the fall. Who can forget this striking red Preen cocktail dress for a party at Government House in Victoria?

September of 2017 was another missed month for Kate, as the Princess announced her third pregnancy! She returned in October (the 10th) for a reception celebrating the royals' mental health initiative. I still love this frilly Temperley, although I am trying to veer in another fashion direction myself. :)

Kate didn't wear a formal dress that year until November when she recycled the Zarita at the Kensington Palace Orangery for an event benefitting the Anna Freud Centre. I think what I have learned from this post is that although Kate returns to the spotlight in September, she doesn't really break out the glitz and the glam until a little later in the season.

When will we see Kate? The Independent reported when Louis was born (and several of you have noted this in the comments) that Kate felt she returned too quickly to the spotlight after her previous pregnancies, "Kate is said to be extending her leave an additional few months to spend as much time as possible with her new family before returning to her royal duties, after feeling that she returned too quickly to public life after giving birth to Prince George, when she opened a marathon six weeks later and with Princess Charlotte, after two months."  Kate was spotted recently at Peter Jones shopping for children's shoes with George and Charlotte. George's school is now back in session and the Cambridges are getting into the swing of things at Kensington Palace after a summer in the country. There are currently no engagements listed for Kate. Generally engagements are listed about two weeks in advance. Kate has been known to make surprise appearances, but barring those, we are looking at the end of September at the earliest--I think likely we won't see Kate until October.