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Duchess Kate Debuts New Rebecca Taylor Sparkle Suit

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

"Love is lovelier the second time around..." at least that's what the song says. I don't know about love, but I can tell you that this Rebecca Taylor style is smashing the second time around. More on the fashion in just a moment. Today, Kate paid a morning visit to a Ronald McDonald House in London. 

This facility provides a "home away from home" for the families of children undergoing treatment at the nearby Evelina London Children's Hospital. Some families have to travel considerable distance and stay near a hospital for protracted periods of time. The Ronald McDonald House provides free housing for families already strained emotionally and financially by the illness of a loved one. The little girl tasked with presenting a bouquet of fragrant flowers to the duchess has a sibling undergoing treatment at Evelina right now. 

Kensington Palace
Many fans have noted the similarity between this tyke's ensemble and one the then Kate Middleton wore on day shopping in 2007. Although, we don't have to go that far back. Kate wore this black knit top with a houndstooth skirt combo just last February on a visit to Edinburgh.  I am frankly inclined to think this was merely coincidence, but it may be that her mother thought it would be a sweet touch. Let's put it this way, she is certainly a girl after Kate's own fashion heart. 

The Duchess toured the complex which includes communal rooms, playrooms for younger children, and support rooms where families can meet and mingle. Of course, she also took time to chat with current guests. 

While chatting with a child, James Wheeler, Kate revealed that Prince George was at his Montessori school in Norfolk today and that the schedule included making pancakes for Pancake Day.  Many will fondly remember George's mummy tossing pancakes on the streets of Belfast six years ago. Time sure does fly!  (One of our faves, Emily Andrews is in the right of this photo enjoying the fun!)

A video from Simon Perry of People showing Kate leaving:

Ok. Time to chat about the fashion. To get it out of the way immediately, the hair. No, no, no. From the front, I was cheering what appeared to be a follow-up on last night's very successful coiffure. But, then I caught a look from the back and I thought, what is growing on Kate's head?  Is that a hair hernia? A sagging chignon? My best advice is ... never again. I don't know if that was Natasha or the brainchild of another stylist, but it was a bridge too far. Ok, that bitter pill is down and it is stratospherically positive from here on out.

via re_dailymail

To begin with, this is not a repeat of the very popular Rebecca Taylor suit Kate has worn on several other occasions, first in 2012 and most recently during Mental Health Week and in the Queen at 90 documentary. This is new:

Today's ensemble is from the same Sparkle Tweed collection, which is a feature of Rebecca Taylor's brand. The jacket is the "Sparkle Tweed Ruffle Jacket" and last retailed on sale for $199. The skirt is a bit more of a mystery. The collection included a dress with a flared skirt that is far fuller than Kate's skirt today. I frankly don't know if there was a skirt for sale once or if Kate had the dress cut down. It would not be the first time she has had a piece altered, as we saw with her Luisa Spagnoli.

The Rebecca Taylor suit might be Kate's best suit...ever. I think it is better even than the Spagnoli, in that it consistently gives a solid performance. That first tweed suit is endlessly flattering--a knock-out color on Kate, tailored to perfection to flatter her slim frame, and trendy enough to be hip and professional at the same time. I love it a million times over and it is no surprise to me that Kate returned for a variation on a very successful theme. (below are the four times Kate has worn the first Rebecca Taylor.)

Today's suit *might* be even better. The nipped in waist and peplum detailing on the jacket, complemented by the fringe that sketches out figure enhancing lines, is arresting and polished. The skirt features an a-line silhouette with just a hint of a swing, (see opening photos for best view) which as I have mentioned before, is very, very flattering to all legs. Here it also gives the suit a bit of a flirty feel, which matches the sparkle and fringe. It's a real knock-out. I didn't think the first suit could be improved upon, but today's suit might have.

These blue ensembles give Kate the perfect palette to feature her gorgeous and iconic sapphires. I love this stunning shot by James Whatling that captures Kate on arrival in a stolen moment appreciating the blooms. Her rich blue suit sets off her sparkling engagement ring in the foreground, and we also get a hint of a glitter from the sapphire and diamond drops dangling at her ears. Those were also once Diana's and have been reset for Kate.

The duchess finished her look with her trusty Muse clutch and Rupert Sanderson Mallory pumps. This girl absolutely kills it in blue and today was a particularly notable win. I swooned this morning when I saw the first image. I can't see the future, but I think this is going to make the "Best of" list in 2017. 

Party at the Palace: Kate in Erdem for UK-India

Monday, February 27, 2017

This evening, William and Kate joined the Queen, senior members of the British Royal Family, and many Indians "from various fields of work including performing arts, fashion, food, literature and sport." The fête was launching the UK-India Year of Culture 2017,  a celebratory year focused around the 70th anniversary of India's independence.

For those lucky enough to be invited to the bash, they received this very formal invitation from the Palace:

via Ali Pretty
Preprations for the evening were underway throughout the day and Rebecca English, as well as the Palace, shared tantalizing pictures and videos in the run-up to show time. Rebecca shared this snap of the enviable canapés prepared in the kitchens below-stairs at BP:

via Rebecca English, DailyMail Reporter 

According to the BP Twitter there were 5,00 canapés ranging from "Raj Puri and Soya Gujjia to Salmon Blinis and Crème Brûlée." It was a night sure to impress as musicians and dancers greeted arriving guests:

Here the Duchess of Cambridge stands with Rebecca Deacon as she chats to chef Vikas Khanna, one of the presenters on Master Chef: India:

Can you imagine these two at a house-party in Norfolk, or hosting a cocktail party at Anmer or KP? They look like such a hoot. William is quite a sharp guy and absolutely hysterical. I was chatting with someone who attended the Taste of Norfolk fundraiser and her stories about his comments and jokes were a scream.

The Palace put on a top-notch party, including a display that featured a shawl that Gandi knit (wove?)  himself for the then Princess Elizabeth. William looked eager to learn a little bit of family history:

It is always fun to see the Cambridges play the supporting role to the Queen. It seems to transform them from the serious senior royals to "the kids" learning from the pro, which is cute.

Princess Eugenie, one of my favorite royals, was also on hand tonight in a chic black and white cocktail dress:

via Rebecca English Twitter 

Kate chose a metallic Erdem cocktail dress which held its won in the glamour of Buckingham Palace. It is sold out, but came in several shades when it was first released. It features sheer sleeves with metallic threading in a floral design, pink silk lining, and a pleated skirt. Really, it is a super-charged lace dress, with the metallic really gives it an extra kick. 

Miss Twinkle-Toes, aka HRH the Duchess of Cambridge, debuted new shoes from Oscar de La Renta. These scalloped pumps add quite a bit of bling to her already glittering dress, but I am a huge fan, despite the competing shimmer. They look relatively muted in most pictures, but I am sure they packed a punch in person, as they do in several photos with good flash. The fact that she is wearing Oscar de la Renta is another little boost to the flame of hope that Kate will wear another Oscar de la Renta feature ensemble in the near future.

It has been noted that Kate diplomatically blended her Canadian/British dress with earrings from India--a nice nod to the theme of the evening. This earbobs, as Scarlett O'Hara would term them, are by Indian designer Anita Dongre.

You are already familiar with Anita Dongre from the Cambridges' trip to India in 2016. Kate's Gulrukh Tunic Dress was one of her designs.

Tonight's Erdem reminded me of a number of Kate's dresses. It seemed to borrow the metallic of the Collette Dinnigan, the lace and silhouette of the Ascot D&G, and the pinky/glitter of the ARK gala dress:

The verdict tonight was a big win. Kate was magnificently beautiful. This dress is a mixture of so many of her favorite features, from the pleated skirt to the metallic lace, and midi length. At the same time, it was a new mix of old favorites, which gave it a fresh twist.  I love how it seems to be the lace Collette Dinnigan (one of my ALL TIME faves) + the D&G minus that ruffle. The more I look at it the more I love it. Very feminine and delicate, but appropriate for the venue and the company.

Adding new and bold shoes and a polished half & half hair style pulled her together beautiful. (Never underestimate the power of the coiffure to make or break you) This is absolutely a dress I would pass up on the rack, but Kate just made it shine--no pun intended. Super gorgeous, Kate!

We have another event tomorrow as Kate visits the Ronald McDonald House. Sweet dreams to you all!

If Duchess Kate Attended the Oscars...

Sunday, February 26, 2017

I am supposed to be working on a homework assignment, but I am keeping a surreptitious eye on the Oscars and the stunning red carpet display. I can't help but see my favorites and wonder how Kate would look wearing these gorgeous gowns. So, here is my question...what red carpet dress would you most love to see Kate wear? Let me know here or on Instagram and we will tally it up for tomorrow's  on the UK-India post. I'll tell you already that I am in love with the dress Taraji Henson is wearing. It reminds me of the evening gown Princess Diana wore to the White House...and it has one of Kate's favorite features, a front slit! Happy fashion watching! 

Kate Middleton's Favorite Issa Designer Returns with New Label Dhela

Friday, February 24, 2017

Fashion fans rejoice! Daniella Helayel has launched a new label called Dhela. Daniella Helayel was the creator and designer of Issa, which shuttered some years ago. Issa was once Kate Middleton's favorite brand. It was the McQueen or Packham of her then closet, and she wore the chic jersey dresses to a panoply of events, from glittering galas to tasks as menial as taking out the trash. On November 16th, she wore her now most iconic Issa when she stepped into the state apartments at St. James's Palace with a sparkling sapphire on her left hand and Prince William at her side, to announce she would soon change from Miss Middleton to an HRH. 

Brazilian beauty Daniella Helayel, the brand's founder and designer, sold 51% of the company to Camilla al-Fayed, and as many suspected, that was the kiss of death for any hopes of further royal patronage. (learn why on my 2011 post here) Kate wore her last Issa, a purple jersey, on July 1, 2011 to an evening fireworks display on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.