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Kate Wears Erdem Again at Commonwealth Fashion Exchange

Monday, February 19, 2018

It is London Fashion Week, and tonight the Duchess was back with an appropriately timed event. Joining her aunt-in-law the Countess of Wessex, Kate co-hosted a reception celebrating the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange at Buckingham Palace on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen.

This initiative is a very cool idea. It pairs successful and recognizable fashion power houses (like Stella McCartney or Burberry) with local talent to help feature and further the artisanal work of the smaller producers. Livia Firth, Colin Firth's wife, manages it via her organization Eco Age. Little Pride & Prejudice connection there. ;) 
Kate and Sophie got to view early designs produced by the initiative. These two have never co-hosted an event before, and it was a lot of fun to see Kate join another senior royal woman like this. I imagine their relationship is closer to that of sisters-in-law... 
I am going to jump right into fashion here, because I am a little low on time this fine February night--quelle surprise, right?  Last night Kate wore JP, but tonight it was back to another favorite...Erdem. This is the label's Suzi dress in floral guipure lace, which Kate has had customized in a longer length. Dare I say, it features a ruffle?

It's like Erdem said (to quote Captain Renault from Casablanca), "round up the usual suspects" when they hit the design floor. Despite some recent, completely cringe-worthy disasters, I have to admit, I really, really like this dress! I do. I am a sucker for the guipure lace, and I think this two-tone floral design is just the right amount of busy without going overboard. Also, that v-neckline is so Kate Middleton. Every time the Duchess trots that kind of a neckline out, I am on board. Again, I know several will question my fashion credentials, but I am such a fan!

Kate was wearing the Prada cut-out shoes she has had for a while now (and wore last night!), and added a touch of sparkle with these Anita Dongre earrings she first debuted last year at another BP event celebrating the UK and India. They aren't my favorite earrings, but they are certainly in keeping with the evening's theme of highlighting talent from the Commonwealth--although Anita Dongre is certainly not an obscure label. ;)

Kate briefly carried a clutch, although it does not appear in the majority of the pictures. It is visible in the photo-set where she is standing and chatting with Anna Wintour. Based on the little I can see, I would have guessed her Prada, but the edges are too sharp and this clutch has gold detailing. Maybe it is her Alexander McQueen? But it still looks a little boxy. If you know or have a guess, drop a line in the comments! 

I think my favorite picture of the night was this snap of Kate clearly explaining something about her pregnancy to Stella McCartney. Generally so reserved on formal duties, it is fun to see Kate's cocktail hour personality come out a little bit as she mixes and mingles. 

It is a win, all y'all. And with that, I'm off to bed! 

Kate Is Magnificent in Dark Green at the BAFTAs!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Tonight the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended the BAFTA awards at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Obviously, it is a star-studded event and is one of the most glamorous (if not the most glamorous) events the couple attends. With only a little over two months to her due-date, Kate had to wear something new, and she didn't disappoint as she arrived to the red carpet wearing a breathtaking Jenny Packham! 

William is the President of BAFTA and in the early years of their marriage, Kate didn't always attend with him, so it has been lovely to see her at his side these past two years. 

William and Kate always enter the auditorium last while the guests stand, and are always seated in the front. I think this is probably one of the more surreal/bizarre entrances this couple probably experiences. It's not like walking into the royal box and giving a wave, it is a legitimate walk down that long aisle while everyone stares. 

Prince William penned a forward for the program in which he made a short mention of the sexual harassment scandal that is plaguing Hollywood and the film industry...more on that at the end of the post.  

Kate's ink-blue Jenny Packham remains her most successful maternity red-carpet appearance, but I think we forget how much more advanced she is at this stage than she was in New York. There was no way this dress was going to fit her tonight, but it is entirely clear that Kate took inspiration from it when sitting down with Jenny P to map out tonight's creation.

Drawing on the ink-blue original was definitely a smart move. Tonight's flowing gown was slimming while also highlighting all the best about her pregnant figure. Kate was absolutely radiant with life and striking beauty...and those smokey eyes! Wow. When I saw the pictures I was absolutely star struck. 

Kate and JP shortened the sleeves and added a hint of train that ballooned behind the princess as she made her way up the stairs. 

For her accessories, Kate turned again to the same stunning suite of emeralds she wore in New York. It turns out those earrings are convertible! I liked the dramatic drops at the Met, but I think I prefer tonight's iteration.  Kate also wore the bracelet, and added a breathtaking necklace. These sparklers were a wedding gift to Kate from an undisclosed admirer. ;) I love how lavish they are, and was absolutely delighted to see them again tonight.

This was a magnificent win for me. I loved the dress and the va va voom Kate brought to the red carpet. She is certainly blooming, as they say, and pregnancy never looked so darn sexy. The only drawback to this dress is the terribly placed seam right down the front. I am sure it blends in just fine in the studio when the dress is at rest, but under the flash and in motion, it sadly shows in almost every photo. Oh well, I am not letting that get in the way of what will be one of Kate's SuperStar looks! 

Ok, I wrote the post so you can skip all the drama is it is not your cup of tea. Heaven knows this place is supposed to be an escape, right? But, I am going to add some brief commentary, because it is impossible to escape it tonight. I knew Kate wouldn't wear black, and I think it was very appropriate of her to avoid what can be, for some, a divisive movement. As a royal, she made a very remarkably strong statement regardless, by including the black velvet ribbon (which trailed down the back of the dress--very unusual and a deliberate tool to highlight the ribbon, I think) and by wearing emeralds, which have been associated with the Suffragettes and, apparently, is a symbol of feminine strength. As one of the most senior women, in the most prestigious, surviving monarchy today, Kate has to be seen as above the drama of the day. I've seen some people try to argue Times Up is not political, but just the fact we are all up in arms over the color of Kate's dress, proves that it is a divisive issue. It isn't that anyone (publicly) supports sexual harassment or abuse, but there is sharp disagreement on why this environment came to be, who truly fosters it, and how it should be addressed. The pressure put upon Kate certainly created a conundrum, but by nodding to the spirit of the movement, while maintaining some royal distance, she held the line on the role that a modern royal must play today. Royals have to represent everyone or no one. Many people support the Times Up movement. Many who abhor sexual harassment and abuse do not support the Times Up movement. I am very proud of Kate for working this compromise, because it is crucial for her family's institution that she remain neutral when society fractures. 

I have no problem if you support Times Up. Please feel free to high in, but as always, let's keep teh debate pleasant. 

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day! I love this holiday. The pinks and red and whites, the romance and whimsy that just bursts from the woodwork on social media... In what would otherwise be a dreary month between the holiday season and spring, this is such a lovely moment to pause and celebrate love. I am posting pictures of Kate in pink on Instagram, so it might seem strange that I chose a blue ensemble for my Valentine to you all today. But, this picture of William and Kate is so perfect! The laughter  has been a hallmark of their marriage and a trait that speaks much louder than words to the depth of their love and the strength of their bond. 

That being said, a little shoulder never hurt anyone. Bonus points, this is pink and red. ;) 

Whatever you are up to today, whether you have a Valentine sending you flowers or you are treating yourself to a cozy tea and an iced sugar cookie (my favorite!), I hope your day is filled with beauty and peace, and lots of laughter! 

Sending warm wishes!!


Kate Debuts Another GOAT Coat in Essex

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Since her trip to Sweden and Norway wrapped up Friday, the Duchess of Cambridge has a had a few days to let her hair down, relax in privacy, and soak up time with her two little ones. Today, though, she was back in action as she arrived in Wickford, Essex, this afternoon to launch one of Action on Addiction's new treatment centers. 
Her arrival made headlines (literally) when she stepped in a grate and was briefly stuck. Kate, who has been favoring her Tod's block heels a lot of late, was wearing her Stuart Weitzman "Power" pumps, and the thinner heels slipped right into the crevice. And all the boys were like, uuuuuhhhhh...

The even better part of this tale is the man who greeted her is Vice Lord Lieutenant of Essex Jonathon Douglas-Hughes. You know him from Kate and William's visit to Stewards Academy last year, where he fell and got a helping hand from the Duke. 

Apparently, his wife told him not to have a repeat, and here was Kate almost in need of a return favor! :) [Purse alert: that's her Aspinal London clutch created in collaboration with Beulah London.]

Kate has been patron of Action on Addiction for years now. It was one of her earliest charities, and some of her biggest fan-favorite appearances have been at their events. Today, Kate was in Essex both to open the new centre, but also celebrate the charity's new program "Clouds in the Community," which attempts to help people recover without recourse to a center, i.e. by staying at home, with their families and in their communities.
Kate gave some lovely comments, mentioning how long she has been working with Action on Addiction, and saying twice how special the charity is to her. 
Water glass in hand, with her hair tucked behind her ears, Kate socialized with gathered guests, and we got a peek at her beautiful tanzanite earrings from G. Collins & Sons. These are so beautiful, and they work so well with all the blue in her closet. I love that of late, she has been wearing them more and more.

Speaking of all the blue in her closet... Aaahhh! Who thought Kate would debut another GOAT coat?!   I wish I worked at GOAT just for these nine months. Do you think they have an office party each time Kate wears another one of their pieces? Send the intern down the hall announcing, "Kate will be out today, cake in the conference room at noon!" Congrats, GOAT, really. All y'all have a come a long way from that first Goat Coat. I say that with affection.

Kate can continue to debut blue coats for the next fifty years (and absolutely will), and I will be happy as a clam. I love this color on her, and I love the bow at he neckline. This is a super classic GOAT style. I thought the color was a smash hit on Kate, but from a design perspective it was a little too minimalist for my taste.

Overall, it is a win, it just isn't a smash hit. Although I have acclimated to it, this silhouette has never been my preferred one on her, and this particular coat is almost devoid of embellishment, save the bow at the neckline. The color, though, speaks for itself. This cobalt just leaps off the screen, and I am sure it was electric in person, too.  Kate looked magnificent, so let's give a hand to the GOAT team...and I'll just assume they are reading this cake in hand. To Kate, great return performance post tour!

Tina Wing