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[Updated] Royal Visit Sweden Day 2: Catherine Walker & McQueen

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Yesterday's fashion misstep (in my book) is already in the rearview this morning as the Duchess debuted a new coat from Catherine Walker. William and Kate joined Victoria and Daniel on Day 2 of Royal Visit Sweden at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, where they were scheduled to learn about mental health issues in Sweden and the strategies used to combat it.  

Despite the cold, crowds had gathered to greet the popular royal couples. In this video of Kate saying hello to the fans, you can see Catherine Quinn is there assisting. 

The Karolinska Institute is apparently one of the largest and most prestigious medical institutes in the world, and according to its website, accounts for 40% of the research conducted in Sweden.

Among other strategies, Sweden encourages exercise to combat mental health issues. I think we all have experienced the positive endorphin boosts from a little sweat session, and this morning was a good reminder that as soon as the tour is over I will stop skipping my Pilates classes. ;) 
The morning's agenda focused on children and young people particularly, and William and Kate also heard about suicide prevention programs for that demographic, which shockingly and sadly appears to be increasingly prone to self-harm and self-destruction.

As you can see, Kate shed her coat at the Institute, to reveal a boucle dress by Alexander McQueen underneath. Kate accessorized her look with her Chanel mini and her Tod's pumps, which are both in deep burgundy/oxblood. I think she got away with these colors paired with the coat (although perhaps not a perfect combo), but I loved, loved, loved them with this form-fitting, bespoke dress.

New earrings alert! These are by Swedish brand In2Deisgn. In both India and Canada, Kate wore earrings by local designers. It's a smart way of incorporating a host country into an ensemble without overhauling her entire style profile, so smart move! 

[Update begins here] After their time at the Institute, the royals made their way to Matteusskolan, a school where one of the mental health programs they'd just heard about at the Institute, has been implemented.

I think this is the first tour/trip where William and Kate spent this much time with a single host, and certainly spent this much time with fellow royals. It was a lot of fun to see all four at event after event:

Already heavily involved in mental health work in Britain, today was a great opportunity for the Cambridges to see the work being accomplished in Sweden, and to bring the spotlight they have generated to their hosts' efforts in this area. 

The last stop of the afternoon was a trip to a nearby department store where, according to Kensington Palace, they enjoyed an exhibition on brands that operate in Sweden.

Then, it was back to the palace for high tea and a chance to meet Victoria and Daniel's darling little children, Princess Estelle (who will follow her mother to the crown) and Prince Oscar.

When you look at this decor, it seems that all royals like to mix their historic structures with modern interior design. I think Kate probably felt right at home, because this is very much in keeping with her aesthetic, too. 

Then came the night. Honestly, I am starting to enjoy these evening fashion surprises. Kate and William arrived at the Fotografiska Gallery for a reception celebrating contemporary Swedish culture. Rain had set in, but Kate kept kept dry under a blue umbrella and wrapped in a coat by Swedish designer Isa Sjöstedt. Apparently, this is a hugely popular label for the Swedish royal ladies. It would be like Victoria visiting Britain and wearing Jenny Packham or McQueen. Kate added her faux fur stole and cuffs to glam it up a little. 

Under that coat Kate was wearing another Erdem. I will tell you what, Erdem is catching some flak this week, but more of that in a moment. Sparkling at her ears were Robinson Pelham earrings. Robinson Pelham created Kate's bridal earrings and the jewelry the Middleton family wore on April 29th. I don't think Kate has ever worn another design by the company, so this is kind of exciting to see. (Oops, the earrings she wore to the Bond premiere were Robinson Pelham, but they were the earrings designed for Carole to wear to Kate's wedding reception!)

The party was celebrating contemporary Sweden, and based on Victoria's edgier choice, that must have been the sartorial theme as well. The problem is, well, Kate's not that contemporary in her preferences. So not only did she have to dress her pregnant figure in an evening dress, she had to put a twist on it. It was the perfect storm...or was it? 

It's not horrible. As one of you said on IG, she looks so good in blue. At the same time, is this the best she could have done? Gee, I hope not--I mean, we know not. Kate can do so much better, but I think she is struggling a little with the whole pregnant and on tour thing. Evening wear is not something she has navigated much when pregnant, and certainly not dressing for another culture. The Metropolitan in New York didn't require a nod to a different culture. Truthfully, after looking at a lot of photos, I don't hate it. It's kind of Sigrid Undset (Norway, I know) meets 2018, right? It also has some unflattering elements I am sure a few of you will be pointing out to me in the comments, I know. ;) I think everyone is going to be right. It's crazy, it's cool; it's frumpy and yet weirdly contemporary. Look at it here under the low lighting, though. It's looks pretty here. She looks gorgeous... 

I think if this were a floor length gown I might love it. I know that sounds crazy, but it is true. Give this to me in floor length and I'd trot it out for Taste of the South or something. Maybe. Probably. Blue does look good one Kate, contrary to the country song, and this pattern is up my alley if I am honest. I think it is the length and the shoes that killed it. Still, an improvement form last night, and better luck next time! 

 Can't wait for tomorrow, though. The Cambridges are heading to Norway next!! See you then! 

Kate Wears Catherine Walker & Erdem on Day 1 of Royal Visit Sweden

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Ok kids, let's go through the first day of the Scandinavian tour. The Cambridges kicked off the tour at an ice-rink in downtown Sweden, and I covered that this morning in this post. I won't cover old ground here, but pop back there if you missed the post.

Ok, after the rink, Wills and Kate changed and headed to the Palace to meet one of Europe's most popular princesses, Crown Princess Victoria, her husband Prince Daniel, and of course, Victoria's parents, the King and Queen of Sweden, Carl Gustaf and Silvia. The royals were scheduled to sit down to luncheon together, and posed for a photo beforehand.

I am a little surprised by Kate's choice. Although she often either experiments or goes for very classic on tour, she veered back to her simple and straight-forward maternity profile. I don't think it was a mistake, but it took me a little by surprise. This could have been a GOAT London by its design, although the length is long for that label. It's actually a Catherine Walker, which is in Kate's usual tour preference--that is, she likes to turn to the power houses when putting together a tour wardrobe. Burberry this morning, Catherine Walker for the afternoon, Erdem this evening--but let's not get ahead of ourselves...

This dress is a customized version of Catherine Walker's Bea. The Princess has toned down the peaked shoulders, narrowed the silhouette a little, and, of course, changed the color. At first I was a little non-plussed by this dress, but as the day wore on, I really came to like it very much, particularly seeing it paired with the coat she wore. 

After lunch, the two couples walked from the palace to the Nobel Museum. Kensington Palace tweeted this video of the four heading into the frosty afternoon.

The trip itinerary described this as a walk through the picturesque, cobbled streets of historic Stockholm, and the pictures didn't disappoint.

The four made a scheduled stop in Stortorget Square, the oldest square in Stockholm, which has been dated to about 1066-1320. The Nobel Museum faces the square, so they weren't far from their destination as they greeted fans and undertook a walkabout. 


Aren't these yellow flowers beautiful against Kate's green and black? Blue is one of the Duchess's best colors, and certainly most frequent, but sometimes I forget how perfect she is in green! 

The crowds were healthy, but soft-spoken. I don't think I have ever seen a crowd so quiet for a walkabout. Maybe it was just this particular moment:
Maybe a little more noise when they looked to be heading in, but all in all, an excited, but self-contained crowd.

The Duchess wore the fur hat we saw at Christmas, the faux fur collar and cuffs I love so much (from John Lewis), and carried a new Mulberry bag, the Mini Seaton.  At her ears she had sparkling Kiki McDonoughs first debuted in India. She wore her Half n Half boots which I don't love, but actually worked just fine with this ensemble, and for this occasion. 

At the Nobel Musem, Kate discarded her coat and changed back into her Tod's pumps from lunch. William and Kate were given a tour by the curator and met Nobel Laureates during their visit to the museum.

The British couple bid farewell to Victoria and Daniel at the museum, and headed to Ark Des, Sweden's national center for architecture and design. Interestingly, Kate left off her coat for the rest of the day, which was certainly a style choice, in addition to simplifying transitions between locations. As I mentioned earlier, this look really, really grew on me. It's so pretty on her.

As part of their visit to the Ark Des, the couple met the designer for Ikea, and told him they have Ikea in George and Charlotte's bedrooms. Good on them, I say. Don't waste the beautiful antiques on the spirited little ones. ;)

Someone, somewhere passed around the champagne, which makes this one of the best stops of the afternoon in my book. I mean, it was probably getting on to cocktail hour by that point anyway, right?

After a little tipple, these two headed back to prep for their black tie dinner party this evening at the British Ambassador's residence. The Swedish royals were billed to attend, as well as one of the most beautiful film stars out there right now, Alicia Vikander. It should have been the perfect end to a perfect day, but there was a hitch and its name...Erdem.

What in the real world is this? I mean really, what is this? Everyone here knows I will go for all manner of floral, flounces. I will. I stood by the "Dust-Ruffle Erdem:"

I swooned over the floral, corseted, super-ruffled McQueen.

I practically gave the flouncy Ascot McQueen Best Ensemble of the Year in 2018.

Tonight. Is. Bad. Kate's face seems to say, what have I done? (A reflection echoed in all our heads) While William's face replies, I said go with timeless and we have to see this through.

To be fair, none of the night's dresses were very good, but Kate definitely went for gold in the fail category and scored a ten for her efforts. Victoria's dress and stockings/shoes combo was a no-no, and Alicia Vikander showed up (sans super hot husband in this photo) wearing something Andy Sachs would have chosen pre-makeover. {She is in blue in this video}

It's like the girls all had a pact. "We are going to choose terrible dresses tonight to highlight our natural beauty." Their natural beauty is considerable, but my goodness, it was a night of fashion fails.

I am going to say it, and it will be my last comment. This is the absolute worst dress that Kate has ever worn.

Postive conclusion: today was full of fun, mostly great fashion, and sweet moments between William and Kate that continued to provide relationship goals for us all. And, even the fails spice up life. Woaw....  See you tomorrow, kids.

Royal Visit Sweden Day One: Bandy Hockey in Stockholm

The tour has begun! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are in downtown Stockholm this morning at the Vasaparken out-door ice-skating rink where the couple got to try some Bandy hockey. Apparently, this is a sport that was created in Cambridgeshire in 1882 (a precursor to regular hockey?) and is now an Olympic sport! You can tell sport is not my strong suit--hat tip tp Richard Palmer for that info. 

When on tour, the Cambridges like to compete, and this morning was no exception as both William and Kate laughed and grinned broadly trying to score points in the net. Off the top of my head, I can't remember how Wills and Kate's score sheets stack up in this department. She has definitely had some victories, but of late, I think William has been pulling ahead in competition while on tour. Today, he scored two points to her one.

But, she scored in the cute loser department:

Kate is wearing a Burberry's Toddingwall coat, Eugenia Kim hat (with a a pom pom!), her button pendant earrings from Asprey, a Fjallraven Ovik Folk sweater (a nod to the host country), and new Sorel boots with just a hint of fur peeking out. Kate is also wearing a cashmere snood from Brora, a company she has featured on tour before. 

Tours are generally fashion extravaganzas, and Kate has started Royal Visit Sweden off on a strong foot. This whole winter look is cute as a button on her. Somehow, she manages to be entirely bundled from head to toe, and still look chic and slim...while pregnant. 

As most of you know, one of the blogs I follow is The Londoner, and she has bene up north to several Scandinavian countries recently. They look like winter wonderlands! This morning, David Cairns shared this picture of the Royal Standard flying over the British Ambassador's residence, where William and Kate spent the night, with an English church in the background. I just think it is such a pretty shot:

Kate and William are booked in for a lunch at the Royal Palace next. To be continued... 

Kate in Pink Mulberry for Arrival in Sweden

Monday, January 29, 2018

Royal Visit Sweden doesn't technically kick off until tomorrow, but this evening the Duke and Duchess flew to Stockholm by private jet so they will be able to start the morning fresh and prepared. The couple were pictured deplaning and heading to the British Ambassador's residence, where they will be staying while in Sweden.

Kate was wearing her pink Mulberry, but not much else was identifiable. 

Royal reporter Richard Palmer tweeted that the couple stayed in London today until Princess Charlotte and Prince George had gotten back from school before they left for their trip. Being present for their kids is clearly so important to these two, and I think it is very sweet they stayed to say goodbye so the time would seem just that much shorter for their little ones. 

Ok, see you shortly for Royal Visit Sweden! 

Kate Recycles Her SuperStar Séraphine Ensemble

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

This afternoon, Kate was out and about again as she made two stops in rainy London Town. A British afternoon is, of course, an American morning, and my day was made before I walked into work when I saw Kate arrive at The Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute at King's College wearing her Florrie Séraphine maternity dress paired with the periwinkle blue Natasha, also by Séraphine!

The Duchess was helped out of the car by one of her PPOs who was concealing and carrying...a taser on his belt. Don't make any rash moves around this dude.

I love this shot shared by @kingsloPPN: The meeting of the umbrellas. Catherine Quinn was notably present for today's events, too, for those who have been asking:

Kate toured the labs and learned about the biological influences that new mothers face both before and after they deliver. My sister works in neuroscience, and she likes to send the occasional Snapchat to our family group with various pictures of the slides from her microscope machine! I'm telling you all, it's completely baffling and my eyes glaze over. I hope Kate was ready to smile politely through the majority of this--or she might be a faster learning than I am. ;) But, it's not easy stuff, I'll tell ya! 

After her tour of the lab, Kate met with researchers working in perinatal psychiatry.

After her first stop, Kate made her way to the Bethlem Royal Hospital to visit their Perinatal Service. According to KP's Twitter, "the unit specializes in the treatment of antenatal and postnatal mental health illnesses including postnatal depression and post- partum psychosis."

The princess chatted with new and expectant moms who are benefiting from the hospital's work in pre and postnatal depression. 


I love when Kate visits with mothers and children. She always lets her hair down a little (figuratively, ;)) and is even more warm and accessible than usual. 

Let's talk fashion! One of you asked on Instagram if this coat is by Séraphine. It is! Kate debuted this on January 19, 2015. The Duchess was booked for a day of engagements in Kensington, and arrived on the crisp, sun-dappled morning wearing what was one of her All-Star maternity looks. Remember this? Wow. 

Today, she recycled both the dress and the coat together, and added my favorite twist on a recycle, which is the ponytail, bien sûr! I love to see a new hairstyle when Kate pulls a repeat, and when an ensemble is as picture perfect as this Séraphine duo, you want the perfect recycle. 

Kate carried her Jaeger quilted clutch and wore her Georgia Jimmy Choos. She completed her look with her sapphire and diamond drops. Her best accessory was her bump, which seems to be showing more at this point in her pregnancy than it did with Charlotte. It's getting me very excited for April! 

This is such a big win. First, it was a win because of the subject matter. Kate is really in her element with mothers and their babies. It's so clear that Kate is an incredible mom, and that motherhood is truly her passion, so when she works in these areas we really see her heart bursting through. That's such a beautiful thing, to me. 

From a fashion perspective, it was another home run. This coat and this dress together are so beautiful, and as I said above, (and as you know) I always want a little tweak to the hair when Kate recycles. It gives a fresh look at an old favorite. Everyone has a coat or a dress from Kate's maternity collection they want to see again, but this was the ensemble I have been hoping for, so it's just scoring in every category. :) 

I think the next time we see Kate is the Scandinavian tour next week! This month has really flown by, but I can't wait to see Kate on a mini tour. I'll be back this weekend, though, with a little post, and in the meantime, see you on Instagram... ;)