Best Gown of 2016
The 'Best Gown' poll is always particularly fun and this year was no exception. Choosing the winner proved a very easy choice with Kate's gorgeous royal blue Roland Mouret Nansen Gown winning almost 50% of the vote. It truly was an outstanding look for the Duchess; the label's signature darts and panels providing a flattering silhouette with a nipped waistline and svelte contours. The cut-out shoulders give the graceful style a modern edge. It personified elegant sophistication, offered a nod to one of the major trends of 2016 - the 'cold shoulder' - whilst maintaining a simplicity in its design.
Second and third place went to two repeat gown appearances by the one and only Jenny Packham. The rose pink Sequin and Bead Embellished Gown Kate wore for the EACH gala at Houghton Hall proved a huge hit with readers for its second outing. The sparkling red cap sleeve gown worn for the state banquet was your third favourite.
Best Coat of 2016
Kate's collection of coats is always a joy to look through and offered the most options in our 'Best Coat' poll. We saw a large number of repeats in this category and several bespoke new creations. Once again, there was no competition for first place. The mist blue Catherine Walker, wool crepe coat dress with white lace embellishment is a simply sublime garment and the perfect choice for the National Service of Thanksgiving. I very much hope we see it again; it would be ideal for Trooping the Colour or Order of the Garter.
In second place, it was the bespoke grey Erdem coat Kate wore for the Commonwealth Service in March. The piece is based on styles from the designer's Pre-Fall 2015 Collection with lace effect and silk lining. And in third place we have the bespoke cream McQueen, first worn for Princess Charlotte's christening, and again for Trooping the Colour last year.
Best Dress of 2016
Your choice of 'Best Dress' goes to the Off-the-Shoulder, Mesh-Paneled Dress by Brazilian designer Barbara Casasola, which the Duchess wore for the Art Fund Awards. It marked the first time we've seen Kate wear the brand and with her choice of Schtuz footwear, it was seen as a nod to the Rio Games which were taking place. It was a departure from Kate's usual style and once again the 'off-the-shoulder' look proves a worthy winner.
The custom-made Jenny Packham dress crafted from beige lace over black underlay and featuring a peter pan collar, three-quarter length sleeves and peplum detail came in second, while Kate's black Preen Finella midi dress takes third. For fans of the dress, it remains discounted from $1,370 to $548 at Boutique1.
Best Separates Look
We had quite a few options in the 'Best Separates Look' poll this year. The Duchess is beginning to increasingly favour skirt suits and teaming separates for formal engagement looks. Which ensemble garnered the most votes? The pale blue bespoke Catherine Walker skirt suit from her first solo overseas visit to the Netherlands. The belted jacket features large buttons and peplum detail, whilst the skirt falls to just above the knee. It's a beautifully tailored look and incredibly professional yet chic. Another one I believe we'll see Kate wear again in the near future.
The red and white skirt suit by Kensington-based label Eponine London, which Kate wore last March, and the combination of the GOAT Binky Blouse and Banana Republic skirt take second and third place respectively.
Across the polls the least popular pieces were the Saloni Mary Gown, the L.K. Bennett Ami Coat, the Tory Burch Sophia dress and the Alberta Ferretti jacket and pleated skirt worn for a new official portrait. I suspect in the case of the Saloni Mary, it underwhelmed next to the likes of the Roland Mouret Nansen and the shimmering Packhams. The L.K. Bennett Ami has been publicly seen multiple times and the Tory Burch dress was worn to sign a book of condolence - an event that was all about paying respect rather than fashion.
Best Designer of 2016
It's always enjoyable looking back on Kate's most chosen designers and in 2016 I think we were largely in agreement the exceptional Jenny Packham outdid herself. When we chat about Kate's 'go-to designer' we instantly think of Sarah Burton, however, one could argue Jenny Packham has become an equally invaluable asset in Kate's sartorial arsenal. From princess-worthy evening gowns to bespoke, classic dresses for overseas trips, Packham has proven herself much more than an eveningwear designer, as very stylishly demonstrated throughout the year.
Alexander McQueen, Catherine Walker and Temperley London were second, third and fourth respectively.
Once again, many thanks for your votes! Did your picks win? :)
Kensington Palace also shared news of Kate's first engagements as patron of Action for Children. On Wednesday, 22 February, the Duchess will visit two of the charity's projects in Wales supporting vulnerable families. The Palace noted: "The Duchess, who has made supporting vulnerable families a key area of focus, has previously visited Action for Children programmes at Cape Hill Children's Centre in Smethwick in 2015. The visit on 22nd February will allow Her Royal Highness to see two of the successful projects in Wales, where Action for Children helped 13,000 children and young people last year."
More on plans for the day from the press release:
'The Duchess will first visit Torfaen to see MIST, a child and adolescent mental health project which works specifically with children who are living in care with foster families or birth families. The service works with both the young person and their carers or birth family to address complex mental health needs, intervening where it becomes clear the child is at risk of being placed in residential or institutional care, with the aim of keeping the child in their local area, and having as normal a life as possible. MIST has been running for 12 years. It is commissioned by Health, Social Care and Education and hosted by Action for Children – Gweithredu dros Blant.
The Duchess will then visit the Caerphilly Family Intervention Team (FIT) to learn about their work with children with emotional and behavioural difficulties, problems with family relationships and those who have or who are likely to self-harm. The Duchess will view the team’s family therapy work that helps families understand the reasons behind certain behaviour. It supports them to manage feelings and behaviours using creative techniques that are tailored to meet individual needs. The project is delivered by Family Support Practitioners who are trained and supervised by a Clinical Psychologist and Systemic Psychotherapist.'
Action for Children cares for disadvantaged children from across the UK, from before they are born until they are into their twenties. Its 7,000 staff and volunteers operate over 600 services, improving the lives of 390,000 children, teenagers, parents and carers every year. It's an organisation doing tremendous work and I look forward to sharing more about them.
Moving on to fashion news, and beginning with a couple of updates on the casual look Kate wore for the Heads Together training day, the Perfect Moment remains available in very limited sizing at Net-A-Porter and Lane Crawford.
In case you didn't see it, Kate's new trainers were identified as the £90 New Balance x SB Sneakers - a limited edition trainer in exclusive Sweaty Betty print. They are described: "This exclusive trainer mixes fashion-forward prints with New Balance’s technical trainers. Lightweight, well-cushioned and technical the Vazee is built for fast, lateral movements. With a sock-like fit for easy on and off, plus a foam-cushioned mid-sole to absorb impact, wear in and out of the studio." They are currently available in sizes 4 - 8.5.
And following quite a bit of searching, the eagle-eyed Middleton Maven identified Kate's jeans as the $36 Body Curve Jeggings by Zara. They are described: "Ankle length trousers. Mid rise. Zip and front button fastening. Front and back pockets. Buckled at the waist. Fitted stretch fabric."
Moving to older pieces - the Tory Burch Paulina Dress Kate wore for Prince George's (unforgettably cute) playdate in New Zealand, and again in in October 2015, has been reissued in a new print as discovered by Middleton Maven.
The updated $395 Paulina dress in Navy/Black/White Jamaica Dot features a crewneck, full pleated skirt, banded waist and tassel trim at sleeves and hem. It's described: "Classic meets eclectic on one of our best-selling styles from seasons past. The Paulina Dress is a revival of a ladylike silhouette, pointelle-knit in graphic black and white, and detailed with fringe. The optical contrast, fitted waist and pleated skirt create a figure-enhancing effect." It's available on the USA website (not on the UK yet) in sizes XS - XL.
And just in time for Spring, Kate's Stuart Weitzman Minx Wedges are discounted from $425 to $170 at 6 p.m. A hat tip to the lovely What Kate Wore for sharing on Twitter. Another of Kate's favourites - the Stuart Weitzman Wedges are also reduced from $425 to $232.
And with that, a reminder we'll see you on Sunday night when William and Kate make their debut at the glittering BAFTAs. It promises to be a glamorous, star-studded night with a host of celebrities joining the royal couple on the red carpet. Red carpet arrivals will be Live Streamed on Facebook between 4.30 pm and 6.30 pm (click here to visit the FB page). The awards will be broadcast on BBC One at 9 pm. We recently chatted about what Kate may wear and took a cursory look at styles from Kate's designers. Several readers noted they would love to see Kate in a repeat styled differently on the night. Should that happen, I'm very much hoping for her black velvet strapless McQueen gown - everything about it screams regal elegance. Our reader Rebecca suggested teaming it with an updo, diamonds, a red lip and a clutch. How great would that look? I would love to see Kate wear her emeralds with it too.
Do you have any fashion predictions for Sunday?