Kate does her best not to upstage bride Zara.

Picture the scene – a royal wedding, 1986. Princess Diana at the height of her beauty attended the wedding of close friend Sarah Ferguson. Many were disappointed with her choice of outfit, a blue silk dress with a black cumberband and polka dots. ‘She’s worn that outfit before’, screamed the press. ‘Its too low key for a royal wedding’ others cried. But this was the whole point. Diana wore something that was deliberately low-key and had already been seen so that she wouldn’t detract from the attention the royal bride should be getting. She let Sarah keep her spotlight.

Go forward 25 years, to another Royal wedding, and a new royal trendsetter. Zara Phillips was bound to make a stunning bride, but there was still lots of apprehension about what the newly beloved Duchess of Cambridge would wear. Would it be another McQueen creation? Or something by Issa? Or Amanda Wakeley maybe. But thrifty, sensible Kate dug deep in her closet to find an outfit she had last worn to a wedding 5 years previously. Kate wore a beautiful cream brocade coat/dress by Jane Troughton that was originally worn to the wedding of Laura Parker Bowles in 2005. On that occasion Kate had teamed it with a fascinator by Phillip Treacy. The hat was the one thing that was noticeably different about the outfit, this time it was teamed with a large picture hat.

I think this was a deliberate gesture on Kate’s part. Interest in everything she wears is at a premium,  but this was Zara’s day, and so Kate wore an elegant outfit in a neutral shade that was chosen so as not to outshine the bride. This is becoming a Kate pattern. When she attended another friends wedding in June, she wore a black and white dotted dress that she had previously been photographed wearing in 2007. And we probably could’ve guessed that Kate would recycle an old outfit when she wore the Diane Von Furstenberg green dress only seen during the tour of America, to the pre-wedding bash on the former Royal Yacht Britannia, allowing Zara to shine in a beautiful one sleeved dress.

Kate and Zara are good friends, and I think this is shown in this show of female solidarity. This was Zara’s time, and Kate fully understood this.

Kate – The American Odyssey

The North American tour continued as Kate and Wills waved Canada a fond farewell and set off to charm America. All eyes were on the beautiful Duchess who had held Canada in the palm of her hand with her easy smile, charming manners and fabulous fashion. Could she now do the same in America…and, more importantly, what would she wear?

A little bit of Roksanda

As a huge fan of Roksanda Ilincic, I was really hoping that Kate would wear one of her fabulous dresses, and so I was over the moon as Kate stepped off the plane wearing the blue/grey Peridot dress. This was a great look for Kate, leaving the more conservative Catherine Walker coat dress and Jenny Packham vintagesque Primrose dress for something bang up to date. This dress has a draped neck on one side and ties with a beige grosgrain belt. In wool crepe, the dress also came in a deeper blue shade and was available at Net-a-Porter and Matches, but, like all Kate related attire, it’s now totally sold out.

An American Classic

Kate paid tribute to Canadian fashion by wearing  Erdem and Smythe, so it was a given that she would wear an American designer at some point during the tour. She chose Diane Von Furstenberg, the American legend who designed the wrap dress that Kate is so enamoured with and wears often. Kate has worn Diane designs before, notably the black and tan print dress she wore when dining with Camilla Parker Bowles before the wedding. On this occasion, a private dinner at the British Consul, Kate opted for the colour pop Maja silk dress in vibrant jade green. This was a real treat for those who wanted to see Kate in brights, and the dress, with its deep v back, looked just great. She teamed it with a Von Furstenberg clutch bag that became another tour sell out.

Pretty in Pastels

For a day at the Polo, we were treated to  another Jenny Packham dress. I adored this hand painted silk dress that has the appearance of watered silk. This had the feel of Japanese floral prints with its ‘Chinoiserie’ print. She wore it, surprisingly, with bare legs and open toed sandals by LK Bennett. This was a real romantic look that screamed summer elegance.

Next Kate was going to attend the glitziest night of the whole tour, as the whole of Hollywood got ready to attend the Bafta Brits gala. But such a stylish night deserves a blog post all of its own.

Style and Champagne – The Harvey Nichols Spring/Summer Fashion Show.

The Mailbox is Birmingham’s most exclusive shopping destination, with Harvey Nichols being arguably its crowning glory. The 1st and 2nd March saw the Harvey Nichols Spring/Summer fashion show, bringing all the glamour of New York, Milan, Paris and London to the second city. Fashion-Mommy took a front row seat to take a peak at the Harvey Nichols take on the key season trends. I was seriously impressed with the styling, staging and atmosphere of the show.

The show featured the pick of the new season in both menswear and womenswear. This was then organised neatly into key trends. The show started with ’70s Glamour’, with models wearing a whole range of looks that evoked the headiness of Marrakesh in the days of Talitha Getty and Mick Jagger. Kaftans by Tory Birch shared space with 1970s style denim. Pick od this collection was a bright See by Chloe shirt, worn with hippy wide leg style jeans by Current Elliot. This look was totally wearable for every day, perfect for lazy Summer’s days!

 

See by Chloe shirt, Current Elliot jeans.

 

The next collection of womenswear was aptly titled Liquorice Allsorts for its fun take on brights. These were dresses that embraced cocktail style, with body skimming silk and jersey fabrics. These were real glamorous pieces, that still had that element of 70s Studio 54 styling. The blue Diane Von Furstenberg dress was a sexy nod to  Kate Middleton, whilst the red halter neck from Paul Smith Black Label was a real vamp look, My favourite dress was a long-sleeved, purple Gucci dress which proved that a more covered up look could look devastatingly sexy.

 

Diane Von Furstenberg dress

 

 

Paul Smith Black Label Dress

 

 

Gucci dress

 

The Bare Necessities celebrated Riviera chic beachwear. A beautiful Taj Kaftan in white and silver caught my eye, whilst a blue juicy couture swimsuit bought Betty Paige to mind.  Animal prints were also featured, showing that this is now a serious wardrobe staple. This animal print however, in the form of a Diane Von Furstenberg chiffon maxi dress, was a much softer and floatier version of the form.

 

Diane Von Furstenberg maxi dress

 

Desert Queen showed the Out of Africa is not the only way to do Safari style. The Burberry Brit trenchcoat had a definite utility feel, and when worn with J Brand jeans and a Markus Lupfer jumper, this becomes a look you could just live in because it screams comfortable and wearable style. The Burberry Brit tank top and combats showed that this is the season where anything goes in terms of colour, with these more muted tones contrasting against the brights of Liquorice Allsorts.

 

Burberry Brit trenchcoat, J Brand Jeans and Markus Lupfer sweater

 

 

Burberry Brit tank top and combats

 

Florals are also huge news this season, in a range of forms. From large bouquets bursting from the fabrics, to faded watered prints, flowers are a big style story. The Harvey Nichols showcase had all forms of prints, from the firework bright burst of the amazing Robert Cavalli maxi dress, to the tomboyish feel of the Paul and Joe sister draped top, worn with Paula and Joe Sister shorts.  I loved the vintage style print of the American Retro maxi skirt, perfect with toe post sandals and a simple vest all summer long.

 

Roberto Cavalli maxi dress

 

 

Paul and Joe Sister

Paul and Joe Sister

 

 

Retro Romance from American Retro

 

The womenswear ended with Clinical Elegance. This was a collection of minimalist outfits in neutral shades that were simply perfect. From the Grecian styling of the Roberto Cavalli dress, to the Kate Moss at a wedding style Dolce and Gabbana trousers and Jacket, and ending with the silver magnificence of a Dolce and Gabbana mini dress, this was a collection that would work in any season, beautiful and simple – style without the frills.

 

Roberto Cavalli dress

 

 

Dolce and Gabbana

 

 

Dolce and Gabbana

 

Every look on display was flawless, and special attention must also be paid to the beautiful make-up by MAC, who designed a palate that created a statement whilst still maintaining a natural look. The fabulous hairstyles, created bt celebrity stylist Royston Blythe were also high on glamour, with big 1970s hair made up of crimped tresses on the agenda. This was statement hair that amazingly looked great with every look. I spoke to Kevin Breese, the manager of Harvey Nichols, after the show and he told me that the models absolutely loved the hair styling and were really excited about it. I can totally see why – Royston Blythe had worked boho magic with the styles.

 

Hair by Celebrity stylist Royston Blythe

 

 

cotton candy crimping by Royston Blythe

 

Menswear was also on the agenda on the catwalk. From the country boy PRPS denim shorts and checked Nudie shirts as part of the Trailer Trash trend, to the retro 1970s Adidas look of the Dolce and Gabbana track suit top and bottoms, this was a look that offered comfort as well as style.  I absolutely loved the vintage style elegance of the D&G velvet jacket, which had a lounge lizard style to it.  Night Crawlers showed that shine and glitter is not just for women by showing such features in masculine styling.

 

Nudie Shirt PRPS shorts

 

 

Dolce and Gabbana track suit

 

 

D Squared Shirt Nudie Jeans

 

A totally fantastic night of style in spades, atmosphere and champagne. Well done to all involved!