We were all incredibly surprised when Kensington Palace shared the news Saturday night, along with two images for the shoot. We've all been very much looking forward to seeing the remaining images from the shoot and any quotes the Duchess provided for the spread.
As we already knew, the shoot took place in late January on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk. It followed several months of conversations between the Duchess, the National Portrait Gallery and Vogue. Editor Alexandra Shulman noted: "Like every other editor in the world, to commission a cover shoot with the young woman who is married to our future-king was pretty far up my wishlist for the magazine. And, like many of them, I had approached her and been turned away, politely but firmly." Ms Shulman continued to say it was the connection with Kate's patronage the NPG that clinched the deal.
The article mentions the Duchess was very much the driving force in all aspects of the shoot. It was important to her to give the commission to a British photographer for whom it would provide a new opportunity and thus Josh Olins - who has worked for the magazine for several years - was chosen. The piece continued: "It was very clear from the outset these pictures were to be of the woman herself rather than of a figurehead, and they would be as informal as possible." Kate instantly loved the idea of being photographed in the countryside and wanted the photos to "reflect an element of her private existence". When it came to the sartorial side of the shoot, Kate didn't want to be dressed as a fashion plate, no gowns or tiaras, rather in pieces she would wear every day.
On the morning of the shoot, Kate arrived smiling in a parka and jeans with her hair in rollers. She joked about how she must have looked in the car driving with hair rollers before walking through a small cottage door, where the team had set up, with hairdresser Amanda Cook-Tucker. The mood of the day was described as "low-maintenance" with Shulman adding: "She is not someone who feels entirely comfortable at the end of the lens or as the centre of attention."
Lupo joined the Duchess for part of the shoot.
Kate's lack of vanity and lack of fuss impressed the team immensely. She sifted through the rails of clothes, assembled by Luncinda Chambers, overlooking the three gowns she chose "just in case" and laughed at some of the options. She was equally relaxed when make-up artist Sally Branka did her make-up quite different to how she usually wears it - hardly looking in the mirror. In fact, Kate was the only person there who wasn't regularly checking her phone, she didn't appear to have it with her.
Many had wondered if the shoot would be accompanied by a full interview - it wasn't. There are a couple of very interesting quotes focused on Kate's interest in photography. The Duchess said:
"The process of the shoot was fascinating to see. It was much closer to the process of painting a portrait than I had appreciated before, seeing the layers of the setting, make-up, clothes and light all coming together to form the final image. Seeing everything come together at once made me realise how much work goes into a single image."
Kate also spoke about photographing George and Charlotte:
"From taking photographs of George and Charlotte, I have been struck by the wonderful lack of self-consciousness that you see in photographs of children, without the self-awareness that adults generally feel."
The shoot was a resounding success by all accounts. Kate was described as "cheerful, incredibly patient, constantly asking if the team was happy with what they got". Before leaving, the Duchess made a point of saying goodbye to everyone involved.
What did Kate wear for the shoot? Let's start with this look.
A look at Kate's plaid Burberry shirt. The piece is shown modelled with black jeans, however, it is unavailable.
A similar style by the brand is the Slim Fit Check Cotton Shirt. The $595 piece features shiny gold-tone metal buttons.
In a departure from her trademark skinny jeans, the Duchess wore the shirt with the £190 Belted Palazzo Rinse Jeans from 7 for all Mankind. The high-waist jeans have a fitted top block with a relaxed fit over the thigh, leading to an exaggerated palazzo flare. The jeans are currently discounted by 25% in mid-rise fit at Neiman Marcus.
|7 for all Mankind|
Who would have thought we would see Kate wearing dungarees in Vogue?
The £312 dungarees are by AG - their Lolita Cutie style. They are described: "The Lolita stretch-denim jumpsuit is cut for a sensual vintage-inspired fit, rendered here in a sleek dark wash. A low-cut scooped back makes it the perfect layering piece. Hook-fastening shoulder straps and zipper fastenings along the sides complete this one-piece masterpiece." The belt was the stylist's and the sweater worn underneath is by Claudia Schiffer for TSE; it's unavailable at present.
Kate's navy boots are the £140 Dune London Toulon Knee High Block Heel Suede Boots.
For this look, Kate opted for another pretty plaid shirt and a skirt.
The lovely folks at Cabbages and Roses confirmed the Duchess wore their £189 Green Check Fairbank Shirt. The garment is described as "A comfortable shirt made in a soft, crinkled, cotton tartan. Featuring a deep, wide, front pocket and neat square collar this shirt is perfect for everyday."
|Cabbages and Roses|
Kate's skirt is by Scottish brand Le Kilt. Middleton Maven received confirmation it is the Pleats all Round Skirt. The skirt is available in navy and white at Harvey Nichols.
A quick refresher of the looks we already saw.
Kate wore the $7,500 Burberry Double-Breasted Suede Coat featuring a wide revere collar. The coat was styled with a crisp white shirt and trousers.
Kate's hat is the £38 Wool Felt Fedora Hat by Beyond Retro Vintage Clothing.
|Beyond Retro Vintage Clothing|
And finally, a recap of my favourite look from the shoot.
The Duchess wore the Women's Striped Tee by Petit Bateau.
And the £695 Burberry Stretch Boot-Cut Trousers.
With thanks to Emily Andrews, Perth Fashion, Anna, What Kate Wore, Kate Middleton Style, Kate's Closet, Middleton Maven and Food Fash Fit!
What do you think of the shoot? Which shot is your favourite? The Duchess has three engagements tomorrow - we'll see you then!