Friday, 13 November 2015

Kate Loves: Black Dresses

We're back with our 'Kate Loves' series tonight, with a subject suggested by our reader Lize: Kate's collection of black dresses. Whether you're a Duchess dressing for a reception at Buckingham Palace, a social gathering with family, or looking for a showstopping number for a night out in London (as demonstrated by Kate in a 2007 photo below), the 'little black dress' is, perhaps more than any other item of clothing, considered the essential piece for any woman. It will take you practically anywhere ensuring you're stylish and appropriately attired.


Looking back, we have the one and only Coco Chanel to thank, though the designer didn't necessarily invent the concept. According to Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life, the little black dress was not formally identified as the shape of the future until 1926, when American Vogue published a drawing of a Chanel dress. Vogue dubbed the dress "the Ford" because it mirrored the democratic ideals of the Model T car. The magazine correctly predicted the timeless black crepe de chine dress would become a form of uniform.

BBC / Paste Magazine

The popularity of the black dress has continued to offer some of the most memorable looks by style icons across several decades. Below we see Grace Kelly, later Princess Grace of Monaco, in a black dress in Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window; Jackie Kennedy with her husband John F. Kennedy; and Princess Diana in her so-called "Revenge Dress" by Christina Stambolian.

Elle

Perhaps the most memorable of them all remains the black Givenchy dress Audrey Hepburn wore for Breakfast at Tiffany's in 1961. The sleeveless, floor-length gown with fitted bodice has been cited as one of the most iconic of the 20th century and has remained a major fashion influence ever since.


A memorable look: the Duchess in a black ISSA dress during a shopping trip to Whistles just days before the royal wedding.


Following William and Kate's engagement announcement back in 2010, Kate's style gradually changed. One key component in her sartorial selections has been her increased love of black dresses for official events. Kate wore the Zara Tulip Dress for a Gary Barlow Concert in December 2011.


During Kate's visit to Liverpool on Valentine's Day 2012 she wore a black Oasis turtleneck dress.


For the SportsBall in 2013 the Duchess wore the Temperley London 'Templeton' dress - made of taffeta-style fabric and inspired by Renaissance stained glass. The dress was described as having an "Audrey Hepburn feel".


The Duchess paid tribute to New Zealand during the Cambridges' 2014 royal tour when she wore a bespoke crepe Jenny Packham dress with hand-stitched silver beading to represent New Zealand's national emblem, the fern.


For Action on Addiction's 2014 Autumn Gala, Kate sported the Temperley London 'Emblem' dress. The long sleeved dress with delicate panels received a mixed reaction on the night with many feeling it didn't photograph well.


In New York last year, black proved to be Kate's colour of choice throughout the trip . On their first night in the Big Apple the Duchess chose the black lace 'Amara' dress by Beulah London at a private dinner for American Friends of the Royal Foundation.


Also in New York, the Duchess looked chic in the Seraphine 'Vanessa' dress.


Last Saturday, for the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall Kate selected a black dress with a sheer lace design by Dolce & Gabbana. Again, this is one of Kate's black dresses that proved divisive; I thought it a very appropriate choice for the nature of the occasion and very much in line with looks worn by other members of the Royal family.


We've also seen the Duchess sport fresh takes on the classic LBD over the year. Take a look at the bespoke Temperley 'Esmerelda' decorated with flowing flowers, and Reiss dress Kate wore for a night out in Mayfair. There's also been fantastic black day dresses with pretty prints such as the ASOS spot print skater dress, the ISSA bird print dress and the Topshop contrast collar dress.


Aside from daywear and cocktail dresses, Kate has relied upon classic black evening gowns over the years to help her cement signature style and ensure she always looked polished and elegant. The strapless velvet Alexander McQueen gown Kate wore to the Sun Military Awards back in December 2011 remains my favourite to this day. For me nothing has surpassed the effortless, understated glamour the entire look exuded. Complemented with dazzling Mouawad jewels, this one is a 10/10 in my book.


Kate loves her Temperley London 'Amoret' gown so much she's worn it three times: for the War Horse premiere, a St Andrews dinner and an event at the Natural History Museum. The striking gown is very much a classic Kate piece with the lace gown trimmed with scalloped eyelash edges, a curved seam and a removable crepe belt.


Her Royal Highness was elegant in the DVF 'Zarita' gown for the 2014 Royal Variety Performance. The black dress is fitted through the bodice, waist and thigh, and the piece opens to a sweeping fluted hem. The delicate gown, crafted from sheer lace features a v-back and is fitted with a slim band around the waist that flatters the silhouette.


Which of Kate's black dresses do you favour the most? Looking back, have you changed your opinion about any of them?

107 comments:

  1. Yay a new Kate Loves Post! They are always my favorite unexpected post! (Though I had a feeling that you were going to make a new one bc it's been almost a week from your last one!)
    I love all of the dresses, so I don't have a favorite one. Bc even the dresses I may not be too fond she still looks beautiful!

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    1. Thank you Emily J, they are always so much fun to research and write :)

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  2. I agree Charlotte,

    I like the strapless black velvet dress with the Mouawad Jewels the very best. I also have been waiting for her to match or surpass that and, to me, she hasn't even come close yet. I would love to see her dress at that 10/10 level always in all her categories of clothing.

    My second favorite is the Oasis black turtleneck.
    Classic and quintessential. Going to find out if that is still available.

    All of the others are just so so.

    Thank you so much for the background on our best friend, the LBD. Another in an uninterrupted series of perfect posts. What a blessing. Thank you Charlotte.

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    1. Thank you very much for reading.

      I loved everything about that look. I would love to see Kate repeat the dress again, perhaps this time with an updo and her amazing emerald jewels. It's far too beautiful not to get another outing :)

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    2. The strapless McQueen is my favorite too, and a rewear with the emeralds would be the ultimate. Everytime I see the black Issa I love it. I thought she looked effortlessly chic running errands. It made her fabulous body look even more fabulous. I thought it was a great length as well.

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    3. I am actually surprised she has not repeated it yet. It is by far one of my favorite dresses on her. I would also love for her to repeat that gorgeous teal dress she wore to the Olympics function. Those two are my favorite dresses that she has worn. They were standouts and she looked amazing both times.

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    4. I think it's a little difficult to look 10/10 all the time ;) But I agree! That dress was GORGEOUS. I also love the Seraphine. Thanks for this fun post Charlotte!

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  3. For me it will always be the strapless velvet Alexander McQueen. It fit so beautifully and I thought she looked absolutely stunning that night. Wouldn't have changed a thing!

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  4. I would love to see that gown again also.
    That would be so amazing with an updo Charlotte.
    And, perhaps she has more of the emerald ensemble to wear with the earrings this time, or some completely "new" bling she got as wedding gifts. I truly believe she must have gotten a lot.

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  5. Charlotte I will also agree with you, the strapless McQueen is amazing, elegant but sexy, and paired with those jewels Kate looked superb, youthful and vibrant. Here's my question to you and everyone else :) Is it me or has her style/confidence diminished in the last few years?

    As I've said before, as long as she looks nice and appropriate then yes she's done her job. But I wonder is she having fun with fashion anymore? Or the amazing jewels she has at her disposal? Just seeing these photos in one place really made it jump out to me.

    This is not meant to be negative or critical at all, just a conversation point really. I feel like we clearly saw Diana growing in the fashion department over the years and I feel like something is different here?

    I hope this comes across the way I'm intending it! Just wondering what, if anything, more savvy Kate watchers think of it.

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    1. Hello Claudia,

      I think Kate has become very comfortable with certain styles and silhouettes (the coatdress, lace dress, sheath dress, fit and flare dress). I did notice a change when she had four engagements over two days. I would never ever have thought the floral Erdem gown would have been something the Duchess would wear, however, I expect it's something she thought was different and fun.

      It will be very interesting to see Kate's sartorial choices on another royal tour and see a multitude of brands and styles she's favouring at present.

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    2. Claudia, I definitely feel that Kate hasn't spent as much time choosing her clothes as she did before George was born. It seemed the clothes were more show stopping then. I don't think her clothes are inappropriate in any way and she always looks polished and put together, but they don't wow me like they did at first. I don't know if this is in response to motherhood or if it is bc she wants to shine a light on her charities instead of her clothes. I was reading about the Countess of Wessex the other day and she said that she didn't want her clothes to be the spotlight over the cause she was supporting at first, but then she realized that no matter what she wore her clothes were going to be talked about so she started paying more attention to what she wore. I hope the Duchess realizes the same thing.

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    3. My two faves are the Temperley and the AM velvet strapless dress. I think when it comes to black dresses, Jennifer Aniston has some ideas what to do. She wears tons of them but obviously she dares to wear sexier and braver ones but she is not the member of the royal family, I understand.

      To your question Claudia: her style has changed, she went from the bold to the blank. I suppose because of the kids or because she is less interested in fashion (highly doubt though, especially the bespoke amount she wears) or because of aging she plays for sure. I think her last Erdem dress is the sign that she tries to take fashion risks for whatever reason.

      On the other hand, being at home 24/7 and not having a lot of everyday contact can make you feel insecure. If you see some videos especially when thye are together with Will, it can be seen. She is fine with this relying on role rather than carving one for herself. But this is also fine if that what she wants. But this is probably not fine with royal watchers who want to see her doing something worthwhile.

      Thanks for the post!!

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    4. Claudia, I can see where you are coming from. I vividly remember her lovely Jenny Packham gown worn to that charity event not too soon after her wedding plus another lovely one during the Canadian/US Tour. Both were stunning, quite sexy, yet elegant, like the Alexander McQueen we both love. I also had the impression that her choices became "safer" over time - therefore I loved the Erdem dress, because it was SO different. I think it´s only normal that her clothes choices somehow reflect her own development. At first she was a newlywed enjoying all the new opportunities, then motherhood certainly changed her. I remember myself not really being in any "dressing up" mood for quite a long time after the birth of my daughter. Let´s wait until both kids are at boarding school and she feels that "new freedom" - maybe we will then see a lot more interesting new styles on her, who knows.

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    5. Thanks all for the responses --- It just struck me that she doesn't have quite the same spark anymore, which seems a little unusual. I agree blue27 & Darla that she seemed to have quite a strong interest in fashion in the past, and seemed to have more of a confident vibe when she stepped out... However, as I've said, no amount of time prepares you for life in the BRF, so maybe after the "honeymoon" phase the reality of her new life started to hit her more and she's going through a delayed adjustment...

      The first I saw or heard of Kate was the engagement news, then obviously the wedding, so some of these photos are new to me and I think the contrast of just a few years ago, from 2011 to now is quite striking.

      I do know myself how life changes after children, and Eve I didn't feel like dressing up a lot at home either, knowing that something may only survive for minutes before a newborn or toddler struck! But when I went out with my husband I dressed to the nines because I felt like I could do it up, have fun, and not worry about sticky hands getting to anything I was wearing :)

      Anyway, do not mean to be hyper critical, just noticed a difference in her that really struck me. And as Julia from Leo often says, the fact that they're showing up more is the most important thing, important on so many levels.

      As always, thanks for the chat :)

      Claudia

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    6. Totally understand what you are saying Claudia. I think slot of us moms can relate.
      Not to worry. :)

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  6. oh I love all the black dress charlotte specially those girlfriends days especially the last dress I hope she repeat all those dress

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  7. Charlotte I love this post!!

    I think you're forgetting the show stopping black ISSA dress Kate wore. I love that dress so much!

    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/7b/06/da/7b06da0c1a7a57c8db786cdb00b2c665.jpg

    My favorite is definitely the black velvet McQueen as well. I agree that's Kate's best evening look and would love to see her wear it again. It is definitely too pretty to be worn once.
    I also loved the Seraphine dress she wore in NY it was very chic and sophisticated and the Cartier necklace complimented the dress beautifully.

    Also another black outfit I loved was her casual shopping look, when she wore her black Mulberry skirt, black turtleneck, black tights and boots. It was stylish, youthful and a great shopping outfit.

    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/59/fb/31/59fb3171bac8c95e9a179b08ded6fcab.jpg

    I "replikate" this look when I go shopping and I love it!!

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    1. I completely forgot about that Issa dress. Remind me when kate wore it?

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    2. Sharyn
      She wore it June 29, 2007 to a Porsche charity event.

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    3. Purple links again - so nice!

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  8. Hi Charlotte,

    Have you heard any news about the royal tour next year? I know over the summer there were a few articles about it, but their "exclusive information" about the tour changed so often, especially when it came to George and Charlotte coming along. So I was wondering if there has been some recent chatter about the tour.

    Thank you so much for running this wonderful blog, I absolutely love it!

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    1. Hello Amelia,

      My understanding is William and Kate will undertake a tour in Spring 2016. It's most likely thought to be in the Caribbean. A royal aide told Hello! "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are looking at either autumn or spring for their overseas tour in 2016 but “have not ruled out the possibility of them doing both.”

      Several royal reporters have been under the impression it's Spring 2016 for some time. It will then be two years since their last royal tour. I expect more information will come through over the next month or so. If it is going ahead as expected it will be very much in the planning by now.

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    2. Do you think they will take both George and Charlotte with them. Taunya from New York, USA.

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    3. I was just wondering this today myself, @Amelia! They must have heard us because the palace confirmed a few minutes ago that William and Kate will tour India in the spring! So excited!!!!!! I do hope they will bring little Charlotte and George!:)

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    4. KP just announced Spring 2016 tour to India. Further details to be announced in 2016.
      No need to publish comment. Thanks.

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    5. Diane from Boston13 November 2015 at 16:52

      I just read that they will be visiting India in spring 2016, with details to be announced early in the year!

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    6. They've announced a spring tour to India. Charlotte and George won't be going.

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    7. Franziska from Germany13 November 2015 at 17:23

      It's India in Spring 2016, Kensington Palace just announce today.

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  9. Love seeing the Duchess in black! I agree with you on the strapless velvet dress. I remember being in awe of Kate's beauty in it when the photos came out. Hoping to see an outfit as striking as that one again soon!

    I thoroughly enjoy reading this blog. I've referred it to many here in the US! Thanks for giving me something to indulge on! :)

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  10. I didn't quite realize that she had worn so many black dresses but they are all lovely in their own way. Kate prefers a more conservative and muted color palette than most. In the first year after she married, she seemed to wear a lot of creams and light colors- almost "bridey" for that year. After black, I would say that she prefers that ice blue color. I hope she goes for more jewel tones- bright red, greens, royal blue, purple and teal would really suit her coloring. I hope at Christmas that she goes for a bright red coat!

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    1. I would LOVE to see her in Jewel tones. She was born for Jewel tones. What a way to liven up her wardrobe and still stay within her styles. I hope she wears a red coat for Christmas also. Please, Kate, wear a beautiful red coat for Christmas this year. :)

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  11. Tedi in California13 November 2015 at 06:24

    I agree that the velvet McQueen dress from December 2011, is hard to beat. Another favorite is the DVF Zarita gown. I love both of these, although she looks sensational in all of them.

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  12. I am probably in the minority here, but I do not love LBD"s. My hair is naturally dark blonde and my coloring light, so I feel like the color washes me out and ages me. That is the reason why I don't like them for myself and might be why I don't like the color worn so much on others including Kate. I do think Kate's dark locks and coloring looks better in a black dress than lighter toned people. But I love color! I am all for more jewel tones on Kate and I would love, love, love to see here wear a red coat to church on Christmas Day HoosierLori! As far as my favorites I would have to say Diana's "revenge" dress is my favorite of those pictured above. Talk about a 10/10 that on takes the cake for me. For Kate is very hard to beat the strapless, velvet McQueen. With an updo to show off some serious bling it would be perfect for me. As for the day dresses I really like the Temperly London "Templeton" dress. I like the pattern on the dress and I really like the pop of color from the clutch Kate was carrying with it.

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  13. The black velvet strapless Alexander McQueen is my favorite. Kate is stunning in that dress. The way the velvet moves with her, it has to feel just divine! She has a beautiful neckline and this strapless beauty frames her figure. I hope we get to see it for the holidays. A sprig of holly would be so pretty. Thank you Chalotte for such a fun post! Cheers from across the pond in Redondo Beach, California.

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    1. That black velvet dress could take just about any accessories. The possibilities are limitless. I agree with the person here who said that Kate most likely received a lot of precious Jewelry at her wedding from their circle and from their circle in Europe also and the world in general. So Kate, no doubt, has options. Jacqueline Kennedy certainly did and also in the years beyond her marriage when she became First Lady. She received ALOT of Jewelry.

      One touching story. She and the President were visiting with Nikita Krushev, the leader of Communist Russia back in the day. He was the guy who had taken his shoe off and hit the podium saying they would do not so nice things to America. The thing is, Jacqueline and Mrs. Krushev became truly good friends. Mrs. Krushev knew that Jacqueline collected crosses. She got into her handbag one day and gave Jacqueline one of her most cherished crosses. Jacqueline said that she loved Mrs. Krushev so much that she would not even hesitate letting her watch her children for her should the occasion ever present itself. So, Jewelry is often way more than just adornment, although that is awesome too. And I hope we get to watch Kate make some more bling history. The Queen's bracelets were not a bad start. Very dear, very beautiful.

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    2. Hope this isn't too off topic. Mikhail Barishkynov, the famous ballet dancer, had defected from Russia and was being sent back to Russia against his will. Clandestinely, Jackie persuaded her husband to send a jet or airplane to incept or circumvent his return and rescue him. a VERY bold move. Mikhail, of course never forgot that, and as soon as he was able he gifted Jackie with some beautiful fine Jewelry, along with his lifelong friendship. Another example of the many facets of Jewelry.

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    3. I don't want to quibble with Anon 22:09 but Baryishnikov defected in Toronto and was granted asylum by Canada.

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    4. Yes. That's all true but somewhere in there Jacqueline had a jet sent to relieve him. I will google that again and give clarity. I will do that in the most current thread when I find the info. Thanks for your input. :)

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  14. Hello Charlotte

    I love ur blog. It's always interesting and informative with lovely photos.
    I was wondering if u could help me. For months now I've been looking for a good replikate of the zara white printed top Kate wore on her first engagement after the birth of Prince George. I know the real one isn't available. I'm a UK size 16. If u could find one and list it on ur replikate page I'd be v grateful. Thank u v much. I don't wish this request to appear in the comments section.

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  15. Julia from Leominster13 November 2015 at 10:04

    As a lover of LBDs, I'm so glad you picked up Lize's idea, Charlotte. And great idea, Lize! Until, the twenties, I think black was mainly reserved for mourning - the queen still treats it that way, although she looks splendid in black. I'm glad the younger royals, particularly Diana and now Kate are bringing the LBD into regular acceptance.

    Having said that, I haven't loved all of Kate's black dresses, particularly the three Temperley ones which all seemed more fussy than they needed be. I did love the Packham she wore in New Zealand and wondered whether it might come out again for the Festival of Remembrance as the shoulder detail would work quite well with a poppy. But I thought it was lovely to have the new lace D and G. I found it a gorgeous and timeless dress. Remembrance is not a time for anything too outre so I didn't find it too staid for Kate. (I rarely have issues with her being too conservative anyway.) If I'm allowed a quibble or two - I would have liked to see her hair up- just before she wore it down with the other D and G lace and it would have made for a bit of variety. I also agree with Erica (I think, apologies if I'm wrong) that sheer black tights would have been elegant.

    But the important thing is that William and Kate were THERE. Every important and moving traditional royal engagement that they appear at is a victory in my eyes - they are joining the family. I'm always a little bothered by the idea that Kate (and Diana before her) are supposedly not meant to bring attention to themselves for fear of outshining the queen. The queen has had decades upon decades of being the centre of attention and it always makes her sound a bit selfish and threatened, which I can't believe she is. I do love the Dutch and Swedish families where there never seems to be talk of this sort and the queens seem proud and delighted with their young members.

    I would have preferred the off the peg McQueen coat to the patchwork bespoke just as a personal thing, but I see nothing inappropriate to it - the fuss reminds me of when Diana wore a white ruffled blouse for her first remembrance and how people claimed that was disrespectful - utter nonsense. It was lovely to see Maxima - I've been hoping there would be more connections between the British and continental royal families - I always remember King Olav being on the balcony in past years.

    Love all of Kate's black long dresses. And there is one more mystery little black dress out there - the one Kate wore under the dressmaker coat on the night out with William not long before her pregnancy with George was announced. I don't think it has ever been identified, but it might be a bit short for official engagements.

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    1. JULIA. YOU'RE BACK. YAY :)

      My eyes lit up when I saw your name there. I hope you and your hubby had a great vacation. Kate has been quite busy while you were gone. What a nice blog page to return to. Who doesn't like LBDs.

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    2. I love the Idea of the New Zealand dress but the length of it was way wrong I think. Just a bit shorter would have not been so weighing on her. And with her hair up. Her hair looked scraggly and created that long dark line of dark hair and long black dress. Her hair needed to be up and that would have showcased the leaf more also.

      I agree that they are joining the family. None too soon either. And since the Queen loaned Kate her very special bracelets for the State Banquet, I don't get the impression that the Queen has any qualms about being upstaged. I think she realizes that Kate is young and beautiful and most certainly wants her to fully enjoy that just as she did when she was younger. If anything, I believe the Queen is encouraging Kate to have fun with her youth and beauty and in utilizing the Royal bling that is available to her. Hopefully we will see proof of that from now on.

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    3. I may be wrong, but I think the New Zealand schedule did not allow time for an elaborate hairdo. I did like the way Kate kept her hair over the opposite shoulder so hat the fern embroidery was completely visible. Sometimes I wish she would remember to toss it to the back if she is wearing jewelry or a beautiful neckline.

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    4. Julia from Leominster15 November 2015 at 17:47

      Thanks for the warm welcome back Anon 20.25. We did have a splendid time and while hubby thinks I'm daft, I am happy to be back to my favourite blog.

      I don't believe the queen feels at all put out by Kate but sometimes here, and on other blogs - we read how Kate can't stand out too much - even by people who are at the same time admiring the flamboyant Maxima or Letizia. The idea seems to come from a Diana reaction - which itself seems to come from an effort to discredit Diana from Charles' camp which still happens quite often. I find it all sad - and have wondered if that's why Kate backed away from her early stylish efforts and went to a lot of cheap off the peg outfits that weren't nearly as striking. Very hard to say but we all did notice a drawing back and there has been speculation that was the reason. A pity, whatever the reason and I hope Kate is starting again to shine forth, even if every outfit isn't a success.

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  16. I don't think black flatters Kate. However, I do like the DVF Zarita gown.

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  17. Very nice post. And I agree, the McQueen velvet dress is fantastic and it suits Kate very well. The rest of the dresses... so, so.

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  18. Deliah, United States of America13 November 2015 at 12:05

    Hello Charlotte, thanks for this post- all the dresses are beautiful but as with others who have commented, that black velvet McQueen is the 10 of all 10's for me. I wonder if HRH will in fact ever repeat it. Her style & taste (as mentioned above) have changed so much since her children were born but it would be awesome to see that gown again. Although it's not black, I would also love to see the gown from the US tour & BAFTA awards, or the gown HRH wore to what I believe was the first formal engagement after the wedding & return from their honeymoon. It was a pale pale pink but so beautiful. Safe week-end all!

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    1. I see everyone commentoing on the velvet McQueen, and I love it as well. But I wonder if it still fits. She was very thin then and her body has changed, even if she is still fit. It seem to be very stiff and figurehugging, so I wonder if it's not comfortable to wear.

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    2. Oh, please Rebecca, say it ain't so. :)

      I think you may be right, hope, hope, hope you aren't. Could she have another one made?
      That dress is just TOO GOOD to let fade into the pages of history.

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    3. Deliah. That Bafta gown was dreamy. I do so hope she wears that again with an updo and some amethysts or even turquoise, or just "plain" diamonds and LOTS of them. The gown can handle it. :)

      What pink one? I don't recall that one. Do you happen to remember the specific event? Was it the shiny one that they wore to that event where they had trapeze artists in the air as they walked
      in? (funny that I remember that, lol, I thought that kinda weird I guess.). Her shoes had bows on them?

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    4. Julia from Leominster15 November 2015 at 17:41

      The event was the Ark charity for children, run by Uma Thurman's old gentleman friend. William and Kate have never participated again to my knowledge. The pale pink dress was by Jenny Packham and it was stunning. I'm not sure about trapeze artists but her shoes did have bows.

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    5. Thanks, Julia. That gown was beautiful.

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  19. I have always loved the black velvet McQueen gown...the whole look was stunning! Her choices for evening gowns are always beautiful...I do feel that her daytime choices are becoming a bit frumpy...hems too long and her hats are awful...she would look fantastic in a fedora, or any hat with a brim!

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  20. That Temperley London "Emblem" dress still makes me gasp in horror - certainly in this photo... brrrrr...
    The strapless Alexander McQueen on the other hand - TO DIE FOR. Classy, elegant, sexy, I mean it´s a real challenge to create a dress that combines all of these three words!! And to wear it like Kate did on that evening is quite another one, I would like to add.... so, well done!
    The next one I love is the DVF "Zarita" dress. I´m not that much of a "lace allover" fan but this one just gets it right. Not too much nor too little, so just perfect. And once again, a radiant Duchess just makes it doubly perfect!

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  21. The McQueen dress is one of my top 3 favorite looks for the Duchess. Like others, I would love to see it again. We just need the right type of engagement for her to bring it back out.

    I love all her black dresses and think she looks beautiful in all of them. It makes me wonder how many LBD I have in my closet!!

    Thanks Charlotte for the great post and the commenter who suggested it.

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  22. Hi, love your blog and never miss a post! What about the black lace Zara dress she wore several years ago? Can't remember the name of the event, but it was hosted by Gary Barlow. In my mind that started her formula of black lace for evening engagements, be it a cocktail dress or gown. The two "laser cut" Temperly dresses and Temperly Esmeralda are, to me, just modern takes on lace. So, including those and the Zara one, she's at 8! I personally love it, as they're all dresses/gowns I would want to wear myself.

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  23. I really liked the Seraphine Vanessa and the Issa bird print dresses, partly because Kate wore her hair so becomingly. I hated the Emerald and the Esmerelda, and I don't think Kate often does cocktail dresses well. The New Zealand fern dress is lovely though Kate does not look her best in solid matte black. The velvet McQueen had a stunning skirt. I was not crazy about the way Kate camouflaged its top and the strange ruby necklace with her hair. My very favorite evening look of hers is of course the Packham gown with emeralds in New York. Of her black gowns, I love the Temperley Amoret, which is beautifully designed and light enough to be flattering. But Kate's most polished look for a formal evening in black was the Zarita gown with her hair up.

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  24. PS This is a fascinating post. I love the history of the LBD, which must have originally been a bit shocking to a world that wore black only for mourning.

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    1. Coco, as controversial as she was, knew clothes.
      Her creations are Iconic and still our go to's. She definitely found her calling.

      Delete
  25. Why do women wear boots with summer dresses, short-shorts, mini-skirts, see through short pant dresses? It is either cold, hot, or something in between, but why a 90 degrees f and above outfit with a 40 degrees f and under climate boots?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. uh, because they think it's sexy? :)

      Delete
    2. Remember Anon 15,

      this was Kate going out on her own after William dumped her. She meant business. Some serious "watch me now, bozo" :)

      This may have even been her first, maiden voyage into the single nightlife. If she was sad, she wasn't about to let William see it.

      Delete
    3. Wearing boots with short dresses is a way to not be too sexy. If she wore heels with this dress for example, her legs would look amazing yes, but that would be an awful lot of leg shown with this short dress and would rev up the 'sex' factor. It is away of being sexy without be overtly sexy. Saves some modesty...

      Delete
    4. Anonymous 19:56,
      I got a deep laugh from "watch me now bozo" comment from Anonymous 19:56. That is what you call, Mission with Style Vendetta. Bozo did crawl back, and may be pleading too.

      On second thought,
      You remind me to remember the good old game of love. Sad, but true, I had forgotten altogether.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous 19:53
      You share my guess. I don't understand grown and secured women giving up practicality and sound judgment for sexy. As teenagers and early twenties, ok, their young blood, adolescent hormones, care free attitude, devil may care actions, discovering feeling sexy, get back at "Bozo", experimenting how boots can be fun with above ankle -skirts. ( have been there and dome that during those years at the reasonable right temperature, sometimes not/because used to love the style/yes feel sexy too come to think of it now).

      Delete
    6. Anonymous 19:53
      You share my guess. I don't understand grown and secured women giving up practicality and sound judgment for sexy. As teenagers and early twenties, ok, their young blood, adolescent hormones, care free attitude, devil may care actions, discovering feeling sexy, get back at "Bozo", and experimenting how boots can be fun with above ankle -skirts. (have been there and done that, during those years at the reasonable right temperature, sometimes not/because used to love the style/yes feel sexy too come to think of it now).

      Delete

    7. Anonymous 21:02,
      Your suggestion might work best for long legged women. If someone has long legs, may be understandable, they create a style around some kind of boots. Short or mid length legged ladies are better off with heels any way, except unless they choose to wear flats. There are also gladiator boots as an alternative; Show your legs, keep cool, and dress like boots in average temperature. They may not be everyone’s taste, but can be stylish and pretty.

      Delete
    8. Thanks Anon 15, :)

      The love game can ,be exiliarating and frustrating both at the same time for sure. She won. :)

      Delete
    9. You are welcome Anonymous 23:31.

      Yes indeed it can, sending the victim and/winner alternately to have cold and hot feelings too. Now the cold and hot ensemble is also making sense as in the feeling. Well, kind of, the mind/heart controls the mood of feelings and that might also dictate what one feels like wearing under the circumstance. Frustrating and exhilarating......what a description, in reality that is what takes place, and when one is young, not as easy to sort out,except being exhilarated and some times frustrated.

      Older and matured, may involve much more especially after marriage with children and wealth shared, if hot and cold takes place. It is much better to sort every thing out patiently before marriage.

      Delete
    10. I had a lot of respect and admiration for Kate during the break up. She definitely showed what she is made of. I'd say they both won...they were made for each other!

      Delete
    11. “Kate wore the Zara Tulip Dress for a Gary Barlow Concert in December 2011.” hrhduchess/this blog
      Now that look is a good compromise between fun and climate.

      The strapless velvet Alexander McQueen is one of her very best along with the teal evening gown.

      People Magazine in stores currently has their most recent engagements inside the magazine (the magazine’s cover has Khloe Kardashian). They did an excellent shot of Kate in the “ice blue evening gown”/the bond premier’s appearance. People M. did the best of Kate in that dress.

      Delete
    12. Anon, the "watch me know Bozo" comment made me LOL!!! That's too funny! Royalfan, I too had a lot of respect for Kate during that time. Bless her heart, I could not even imagine. Kudos to her for her discretion and strength. William knew what he wanted and what he was missing. Glad it all worked out for the best. They make a FABULOUS team!

      Delete
    13. Kate,

      Either that was a test by the palace to see what Kate was made of, or that was one of the stupidest things William had done to that point.
      truly bozo award worthy. :)

      Delete
    14. Anon 19:21, "bozo" still has me laughing! I guess we'll never really know all the dirty details (and that's as it should be), but I would have to guess it's probably the later you suggested. Definitely one of the stupidest things William had done to that point. And yes, truly bozo award worthy. :) I'm glad he came to his senses.

      Delete
  26. They're going to India!! Great clothes to come!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Looks like tour will be to India! Can't wait to see warm weather outfits !

    Tropical Yankee

    ReplyDelete
  28. India for the tour!

    ReplyDelete
  29. If you haven't already seen this post, I'm sure you'll get a kick out of it. http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/39305 It's right up your alley and in your wheelhouse!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Virginia it's so interesting!

      Delete
  30. Excuse the block letters and diversion from the topic- BUT YOU GUYS KNOW WHAT?!
    THEY'RE COMING TO INDIAAAAA!!!
    I introduce myself as a teenage girl from India who's been following this blog for the past three years and has been following Kate since I was 11 years old. I follow every single outing of hers and like everything about her!
    AND NOW SHE'S COMING TO INDIAAA!!
    I have my exams in a few days, and what a time for this news to emerge!
    Visakhapatnam is hosting an International Fleet Review in February 2016 and I hope they come here for it! I just am dying to meet them! I hope I get to see George and Charlotte too, but I don't think they may come along. Kate will wear a saree, go ethnic and wear all Indian clothes! Like I'm SOOOO EXCITEDDD!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is so exciting, I hope you can see them :)

      Delete
    2. I really hope you get to see them!! Must be so fun to have them come to your countrY!

      Delete
    3. NAM, I love your exuberance. :)

      I hope you get to see them also. :) Be sure to share any photos with us, okay?

      Delete
    4. Hurray for you, NAM! Hope you get a great look at our Duchess. I agree with Anonymous 19:51 - please post your photos! :o)

      Delete
    5. NAM, IM EXCITED TOO! Im from India as well and Im so excited about this trip! They will visit the Taj Mahal(since Diana visited it) and other scenic monuments,,YAY FOR THIS TRIP!XOXO

      Delete
    6. NAM,
      I am happy for you. What you followed passionately for four years arriving right where you are. I hope you will be able to see them in person.
      ---
      Siddhii,
      Although I had been familiar with your name for a while, and took guesses ( people also take pen names/so one can not conclude for sure), I did not know you are from India. If you are still living there, I hope you see them in person too.

      The world of fans...better to like/love than hate.

      Delete
  31. They announced spring tour to India for Kate and William. Not taking the children.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I am in love with these looks! She looks amazing in black! But yes, I absolutely agree her velvet McQueen dress is her #1 best dress!! 2nd only to her wedding dress. I love the first picture though, she looks so happy and her hair looks great! I feel like we don't get to see her smile like that much anymore. The dress isn't doing her many favors but boy does she look happy! Was this when she and Prince William got back together?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that is right when they broke up.

      Delete
    2. One of the funniest communication which happens to take place by coincidence too place between Rachel@18:30 and Anonymous&19:49.

      Delete
  33. I love LBDs and the Duchess looks lovely in black. I am with the majority here - absolutely love the McQueen gown and how she styled it, those jewels are to die for! My second favourite would be Jenny Packham she wore in New Zealand - loved the beading and its significance. For me, there hasn't been a black dress the Duchess wore that I disliked, all are beautiful. Thank you for such a great post, Charlotte!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Such exciting news about the tour! We'll have a post tonight covering what we know :)

    ReplyDelete
  35. Charlotte,

    I have a silly question, and I know you are uber busy, but could you somehow add the black dresses that have been mentioned above to your blog page. I would love to see them but don't know how to do it otherwise. I think there have been maybe 8 or 10 mentioned. Thank you for considering this. I mean, what else do you have to do, right? :) Then we would have a complete archive page, sort of, to refer to when necessary.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,

      I was sticking to the ones Kate wore since the royal wedding as unfortunately it's practically impossible to obtain photo rights to the pre-engagement ones.

      Apart from the Zara tulip, are they any since the wedding not in the post? Please do let me know :)

      Delete
    2. No problem Charlotte. :)

      I don't know the black dress count since the wedding. My guess is that you have (so kindly) listed all of those. Thank you again. :)

      Delete
    3. Julia from Leominster15 November 2015 at 17:38

      There is the mystery dress under the "little black coat" - a dressmaker coat Kate wore on a date in Mayfair with William and friends shortly before it was announced she was pregnant with George. I know What Kate Wore had some speculation about what that dress was and whether it had been worn previously - don't know if it was ever completely resolved. The coat might count though. It looked very dressy and elegant - Kate wore it again during her pregnancy with Charlotte but it was very ill-fitting at that point and didn't really go with the casual dress underneath - of all her coats including cream ones, I wondered why she chose that.- maybe because it was black like the patterned dress.

      Delete
  36. And Nam, you and Erika's daughter are living proof that Kate is most certainly an influence in the world, both sartorially and otherwise. And might I say, you are tuning in to one of the best blogs on the Internet and you are privy to some very talented, experienced and sage women here. Great mentors, teachers. :)
    Glad to have you. :)

    ReplyDelete
  37. The black velvet gown is one of my favorites. How I would love to see it again with an updo and a diamond choker and earrings.

    ReplyDelete
  38. oh my god the velvet gown mcqueen : so beautiful ! i would like to see the dress nowadays ! why she doesn't wear it anymore ?

    ReplyDelete
  39. Thank you all for your wonderful replies! It's taken me a while to come back to normal! I've been so excited! Just imagine she'll wear Sarees, a visit to the Taj Mahal is obvious- it is one of the seven wonders of the world. :)
    Then of course, Delhi will host them. If it is a long trip, they can visit several places. India is a small country, but bursting with enormous culture and tradition. Then they might go to Bangalore, Mumbai or Chennai. If they want to get a little touristy, there are like zillion options because India is so rich in its history!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Hi Charlotte, interesting post on Kate's black dresses, but the Madderson London dress was blue (?)

    ReplyDelete
  41. Such a great post, thank you :)
    Kate's lacy gown from Royal Variety Performance and the other one from Temperley London which Duchess probably loves is so beautiful! I also enjoy her lacy dress from Beulah London which she wore in NYC last year.

    ReplyDelete
  42. What would we do without the LBD? Charlotte, such a fun post! I have to say I agree with many of you that the McQueen dress was one of my favorites. Seeing Kate come in wearing that gorgeous dress draped in diamonds, she looked AMAZING and every inch the princess out with her prince. :) I would to see Kate repeat that look!

    I love that you added Diana in "the revenge dress". She looked stunning! I think she succeeded in the point she was trying to make. The dress that left many Brits (and worldwide watchers) wondering, "What on earth were you thinking, Charles?" :)

    After reading this post the first time, I googled "Kate Middleton little black dress". It was fun seeing the dresses that popped up. A couple of pre-engagement Kate dresses were quite revealing. It's interesting to see how her style had evolved over the years from early 20's to future queen.

    Thanks Charlotte! Fun post!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Kate,

    In the book about Diana written by Paul Burrell, her former butler, (in his first book), she was going to wear a different dress to that event. She was pre-occupied, apparently, with the news interview scheduled with the media and Charles for that night where he was going to "tell all",
    and Paul said "uh uh uh" to her blah choice, he said "stand out, flaunt your assets, and don't shrink back"
    (words to that effect). So HE went in and chose that dress for her to wear. His male perspective in that was obviously right on. Diana stole all the headlines away from Charle's attempt-to-sway-opinion interview, and left people going, "Charles who?????"
    An Iconic photo of Diana, an Iconic media coup.

    I highly recommend that book, btw. I believe every word he wrote even though, later, Paul's credibility was so viciously attacked by the palace. The Queen intervened and helped clear his name. His book is such a good book.

    ReplyDelete

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