Monday, 18 February 2019

It's Time To Vote For Kate's Best 2018 Gown & Evening Dress & Latest News!

Good evening dear readers,

With Prince George and Princess Charlotte on half-term from Thomas's Battersea and Willcocks Nursery, the Cambridges are not expected to undertake engagements this week. It is thought they are either spending the week at their Norfolk retreat Anmer Hall or planning several days away on a family holiday. We know William and Kate love to ski and in 2016 they took George and Charlotte to the French Alps, marking the first time the children had played in the snow. Perhaps they'll opt for a similar break this week?

Speaking of the Cambridge children, Kate was spotted enjoying a walk in Kensington Gardens with Prince Louis late last week, following the 100 Women in Finance gala. Kate was casually dressed in a quilted jacket, skinny jeans and her New Balance x Sweaty Betty trainers.

Vote for Kate's Best 2018 Gown

With a quiet week upon us, it's a great opportunity to finally get through our 2018 polls. In our first end of year poll, we asked you to vote for Kate's Best Day Dress of 2018; today it's Best Evening Dress and Best Gown. Kate's first gown appearance last year came during the Scandinavia tour. The Cambridges concluded day one in Sweden with a black-tie dinner. The Duchess opted for the opulent gold print Erdem Stephanie Gown. The dress featured jewel-tone florals, an Edwardian high collar, button-down bodice, bell sleeves, a trimmed skirt with a gathered hem, and a detachable belt. The polarizing piece proved an unpopular choice. I felt it simply didn't photograph well with the shade looking more mustard than gold in photos. The lower portion of the skirt combined with several busy design elements left many feeling this one was a sartorial miss for the Duchess.

Just days later in Norway, Kate arrived at the Royal Palace in Oslo wearing a flowing blush Alexander McQueen gown with cape detailing and crystal flower embellishment around the neckline. The regal gown was a beautiful maternity piece and a very regal choice for the most formal occasion of the tour. 

Back in London, it was a dark green Jenny Packham gown and dazzling emeralds for the BAFTA Awards. The flowing design featured a v neckline, an empire waist and a black ribbon.

With Kate on maternity leave, we didn't see another gown event until the Dutch State Banquet in October. The Duchess chose a kingfisher blue mermaid style gown by Alexander McQueen. The white-tie event saw Kate wear the Royal Family Order publicly for the first time.

Kate brought back her show-stopping teal Jenny Packham Aspen gown in November for the Tusk Conservation Awards. This one has been a reader favourite for years, it was a delightful surprise to see it again.

In a welcome change, the Palace decided to release images from inside the white-tie Diplomatic Reception last year. The event is one of the most glamorous on the royal calendar and Kate looked every inch a princess in a gorgeous bespoke Jenny Packham gown. The shimmering piece featured delicate beading and sheer overlay, cap sleeves and a sweeping full skirt. 

Vote For Kate's Best 2018 Gown free polls

Vote For Kate's Best 2018 Evening Dress

Now to our second poll! The first option on the Best Evening Dress poll is a rather divisive one (Yes, it's begins with an E....). For a glamorous evening at the Fotografiska Gallery in Sweden, Kate wore the blue velvet Erdem Christina Devore dress. The piece features a mock neckline, long sleeves with flared cuffs, banded waist, A-line silhouette, flounced hem and nude silk crepe de chine lining. The dress was another unpopular piece from the designer and led to many a suggestion Kate retire his pieces from her closet.

Less than a month later, Erdem was redeemed when the Duchess wore the very pretty floral lace Suzi dress for the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange. The Suzi is finished with scallop edging around the ¾ length sleeves, neck and hem and soft gently frilled detailing at the waist. I thought it a very stylish choice and an excellent maternity wear option.

Duchess Kate selected the Orla Kiely Margaret Viscose Print Smock Bib Dress for the Victorian Giants exhibition. The £490 dress is described as a "slim fit, long sleeved dress with smocked front panel feature, velvet ribbon collar, invisible zip back opening, suits all shapes". Very sadly the Orla Kiely fashion empire collapsed just six months later. I've been a great fan of her designs for years and hope to see her launching new projects in the future.

Kate made a splash in Erdem for her first visit to new patronage the Victoria & Albert Museum. The designer won over many a critic that night when Kate arrived wearing the Iman off-the-shoulder boucle tweed dress. I loved the added pop of burgundy in the belt and shoes.

The Duchess was elegant in an asymmetric black dress by Roland Mouret for the annual Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall. The black wool and stretch silk dress features a distinctive asymmetric neckline, 3/4 length sleeves and the designer's signature gold zipper.

For the Royal Foundation dinner, Kate brought back her popular Preen Finella Dress.

Vote For Kate's Best 2018 Evening Dress free polls


Before I sign off for today, a couple of brief fashion updates. With a huge thank you to Lady Coventry, a major fashion mystery has been solved. The black spot print skirt suit Kate has worn on several occasions including a visit to Dublin in 2007, Order of the Garter 2008 and signing the book of condolences following the Paris attacks in 2015 has been identified as a Moschino Cheap & Chic design. To view the ebay listing (the piece is now sold) please click here.

Kate's J Crew Mockneck Sweater is discounted by 40% to $47 with code YESPLEASE for US shoppers. 

Looking forward to seeing your choices in the polls!

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Duchess Kate in Sweeping Gucci Gown for 100 Women in Finance Gala

It was a fairytale moment for the Duchess of Cambridge who arrived at the Victoria & Albert Museum in a sweeping gown for the 100 Women in Finance gala.

The Duchess was in attendance in her role as patron of 100 Women in Finance's Philanthropic Initiatives. Prince William became patron in 2009 and, in 2012, Kate and Harry joined him. They've attended the annual gala in alternate years since, with funds going to their chosen causes in rotation. This year's proceeds will go to Mentally Healthy Schools. It dovetails perfectly with Kate's engagement earlier today - the 'Mental Health in Education' conference where she met teachers from schools using the Mentally Healthy Schools website.

Kate was welcomed by representatives from the V&A Museum, which is one of her patronages.

Launched by the Duchess at the beginning of 2018, ‘Mentally Healthy Schools’ is one of the legacy programmes from the Heads Together campaign, which aims to help people of all ages start conversations about their mental health. The landmark project, run by the Royal Foundation, helps teachers and school leaders better support children's mental wellbeing, by offering school staff reliable and practical resources through a website developed by the youth-focussed charity partners of Heads Together; the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, Place2Be and Young Minds.

One of the key focuses of the website is encouraging a whole-school approach. "A mentally healthy school is one that adopts a whole-school approach to mental health and wellbeing. It is a school that helps children flourish, learn and succeed by providing opportunities for them, and the adults around them, to develop the strengths and coping skills that underpin resilience. A mentally healthy school sees positive mental health and wellbeing as fundamental to its values, mission and culture. It is a school where child, staff and parent/carer mental health and wellbeing is seen as ‘everybody’s business’."

100 Women in Finance are the leading global affinity group for professionals in the alternative investments industry. In addition to their philanthropic efforts, they support women in advancing their careers through education and leveraging relationships through peer engagement. 

Ahead of the dinner, Kate attended a private reception.

The Duchess makes her entrance for dinner.

Ed Vainker, co-founder and Principal of the Reach Academy in Feltham, told guests about the impact mental health charities are having in schools. “The focus that the Duchess has had on this and on the mental health agenda has really helped schools, parents and young people to destigmatize it and talk about it,” he said.
“She visited my school a year ago and spent three or four hours in the school…hearing about the challenges young people face. She’s obviously really personally interested in it, she builds relationships really easily and she had a huge impact in a short time when she came to see us.”

A photo from Kate's visit to Reach Academy. It marked her first engagement of 2018.

During a speech, Kate reiterated her words on the importance of early intervention from today's conference.

'Your vision is hugely inspiring and testament to what school, teachers, parents and communities can achieve when they all work together.' She added that she had often been asked why she had decided to focus her work on the early years and said that many adult problems can be traced back to the first years of life.
'I have often been asked why I have decided to focus my work on the early years. Having been lucky enough to meet some of our country’s amazing charities and organisations, tackling some of our hardest social challenges, I became acutely aware just how important the earliest years of our lives really are. 
'The root cause of some of our most challenging experiences in adulthood, such as poor mental and physical health, addiction, homelessness, crime and family breakdown, can so often be traced back to the very earliest years of someone’s life and often over generations.
'We therefore need to look at the prevention of some of these issues, before they take hold and become a problem. The evidence is clear that from birth, the first few years of a child’s life are more pivotal for social, physical and emotional development and for future health and happiness than any other single moment in a lifetime.'

Kate thanked 100 Women in Finance for their support. "Over the past decade you have been unwavering in your support of our patronages and your efforts have made a huge difference to so many of our charities. So I just wanted to say thank you, for this wonderful evening and for all of your support over the years, I can’t tell you what a difference it makes."

Kate posed for a photo with representatives from 100 Women in Finance.

The night raised over £500,000 for Mentally Healthy Schools.

Lorraine Heggessey, Chief Executive, The Royal Foundation, said:

 “The funds raised by 100 Women in Finance for The Royal Foundation’s Mentally Healthy Schools initiative will go a long way to making a great difference to the lives of children and young people across the UK. They will enable us to invest further in the practical tools that are helping teachers, parents and healthcare professionals provide the best possible mental health support to their children and pupils. We have made great strides in a short space of time since launching the initiative, but there is so much more to do to better support children’s wellbeing and ensure that young people have early intervention and access to the right support. Working with an organisation that shares our passion for supporting children and young people, and mental health, has been especially important.”

A video with footage of Kate's speech.

Before we discuss Kate's look tonight; a refresher of other gowns she wore for the gala in previous years. In 2011, the then newlywed chose the red Beulah Sarai dress.

In 2013, Kate chose her favourite ink blue Jenny Packham gown. 

And in 2015, it was the much talked about (and not terribly popular...) Erdem Alouette.

Tonight, Kate selected a sweeping tonal rose pink, off-shoulder tulle gown by Gucci. The bespoke gown has a romantic fairytale air to it, timely with Valentine's Day tomorrow. It's a divisive choice with reactions in the 'love it' or 'hate it' camp. I'm in the former, as I love the silhouette and shades of pink. It's always fun to see Kate mixing it up and this was a fresh take on her love of off-the-shoulder gowns.

The Duchess teamed the gown with her Oscar de la Renta Cabrina pumps. The shimmering $690 pumps are described as "our enduringly classic Cabrina pumps...reworked for the new season in glistening platinum lamé. This Italian-made pair has a sleek, architectural silhouette with a pointed toe, scalloped sides and raised back". They are currently sold out.

Kate accessorised with her statement Kiki McDonough morganite earrings. Kate first wore the £7,000 special edition pair for Pippa's wedding.

And the clutch she carried to Princess Eugenie's wedding. It's thought to be a Prada piece.

A closer look at Kate's hair and make up.

It's been a very memorable week for gowns!

If you're just joining us, click here to view today's earlier post covering Kate's attendance at the 'Mental Health in Education' conference.

What do you think of tonight's look?

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