Hall of Fame – Duchess of Cambridge, Cocktail/Evening on Tour

Thank you to our guest author and community member Robin for this post! I think you’ll find her choices as intriguing as we do.

2nd Runner Up

I love when royals step out of their comfort zone, because I appreciate that it must be nerve-racking when you know your choices are going to be dissected endlessly.  I also am always on-board for a little black dress, and I think Paris is the perfect place to wear one. And I appreciate when a royal wears something I don’t normally like and they change my mind.  

Catherine at the reception, British Embassy, Paris, France, dress by Alexander McQueen, earrings by Balenciaga, shoes by Gianvito Rossi, necklace by unknown designer, ring by unknown designer (likely Balenciaga), belt by unknown designer.  

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This dress was so very chic, in a city known for chic.  The texture and shape were not typical for Kate, but they really should be.  The belt was perfect because it fit with style of the dress and added to the overall look.  Her shoes were a stylish choice, as black court shoes would have made the dress look more business casual than cocktail.  And normally large pearl costume jewelry reminds me of my grandmother going to church, but the asymmetrical necklace was lovely and playful against the black texture of the dress.  

1st Runner Up

I can’t personally do a HOF for Kate and not give her at least one shout-out for her commitment to theme dressing.  If Kate is visiting a country with a known symbolic color or plant, expect her to pull said color or plant into her outfit styling.  And though sometimes I have not been the greatest fan of thematic dressing, I am the first to admit that it is a meaningful tribute to the country and people she is visiting.  To my surprise, I had a hard time picking my favorite- her theme dressing is at its finest on tour.

Catherine at the evening reception, Government House, New Zealand, dress by Jenny Packham, earrings and bracelet on loan from HRH The Queen

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The hand-beading of the fern was extraordinary, and the couture level of the beading ensured this dress was fashion and not costume.  The black and silver color was also a tribute to the national colors of New Zealand.  This was during a time when Kate appeared most comfortable wearing her (glorious) hair down, but it was still curled and pushed off the ‘fern’ shoulder, allowing the bead work to be the focus. I have never forgotten this dress, which is why I finally chose this dress over her recent green Jenny Packham in Pakistan.  I also think it was the rare themed dress that could have been repeated due to the artistry of the bead work.

Hall of Fame

Catherine at the BAFTA Brits to Watch Event, Los Angeles, California, dress by Alexander McQueen, shoes by Jimmy Choo, bracelet and earrings on loan from HRH The Queen

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This is a dress that I love, and I am truly saddened it has never been publicly repeated.  (Privately, she must have put it on once or twice since and twirled around Anmer Hall, right?)  Let me break down my reason for why this was such a perfect ensemble for this tour stop:

  1. The soft color and flow of this dress, with just the perfect amount of sparkle.  I travel to Los Angeles frequently, and it is Bohemian chic central, land of maxi dresses and giant sunglasses.   Of course, it is also Hollywood, home of the Oscars and Golden Globes, where movie stars drape themselves in the latest runway couture and megawatt diamonds. The color, flow and fit of this dress looked effortless, and the sparkle gave just the right amount of ‘wow’ factor.  
  2. The gold sandals and clutch were so very So Cal (this was not a place for court shoes, and gold accessories are always on trend).  Yes, the belted waist- classic Kate, but it worked with the fit and design of the dress.  The diamonds from the Queen- stunning, but not over the top.  And this was a rare evening look where I think hair down was the right choice, as it matched the fluidity of the dress, and the casualness of the West Coast.  As someone who constantly wants to ever so slightly tweak Kate’s style, I would not have changed anything. 
  3. This was the only evening gown look during her first international tour, in a country known for its unabashed Princess Diana obsession.  There had to be tremendous pressure on her and her team.  To me, this dress was ‘modern princess’ but still also very much Kate, and I love that it stayed true to who she is.  It also photographed beautifully in motion- something that I think every royal stylist needs to remember when a royal is only going to be photographed walking into an event.    

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