Kate Middleton was recently spotted buying a maternity dress from Topshop for a meagre £37, and Luxe Models couldn’t be happier about it. The Duchess of Cambridge, in this humble-for-royalty purchase, demonstrates to the world that high street fashion is not just there to cater to those who can’t afford high-end. This baby-buy from Kate gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, “Topshop Princess”. After hitting the catwalks with Topshop Unique in London Fashion week, and now clothing a royal baby bump, Topshop can well and truly be proud of the manner in which it has cracked the world of high-fashion.
Blurring the boundaries between high street and high-end is something that has been attempted time and time again over the past few years by high street brands, but no one has quite achieved such phenomenal status like Topshop has.
On the other side of this fashion-come-royal story is the nature in which we can now view Kate Middleton in. For us, here at London-based Luxe Models, it brings the lovely Kate just a little further down to Earth. We can relate to her even more now, as she seems increasingly like the girls we work with every day; fashion is fashion regardless of cost or label; we bet she likes scouting out pretty little Topshop numbers like this just as much as the next girl.
Now to important matters: which Topshop item was good enough for royalty? (Literally – ahem). US Weekly tells us that the dress Kate picked was a “Deirdre dress, a delicate spring sheath with a mandarin collar, a cross-over neckline, and an elasticized waist” (elasticised being the key element, we presume!).
It’s really refreshing to see this shift in Royal nature; the gap between us, the public, and the likes of royalty shrinks a little more through the ever-powerful medium that is Topshop! Of course, when the Queen herself steps out sporting a classic Topshop frill, we’ll know times really are a-changing.
On St David’s Day – Thursday 1 March 2012 – Queen Elizabeth II, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge, elegantly dressed in a trio-of-blue, made a visit to the historic Fortnum & Mason store in Piccadilly, London.
On what was to be their very first ‘joint’ visit, The Queen, Camilla and Catherine attracted attention from dignitaries, members of the public and the media.
They were there to meet with military personnel and to find out more about the ‘Gifts for Troops’ scheme, which sends parcels to soldiers serving in Afghanistan. The Royal guests were shown a display of tea and biscuits similar to those which will be sent to troops deployed on operations during The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Weekend, 2 – 5 June 2012.
Fortnum & Mason, first appointed ‘Royal Grocers’ to HRH the Prince of Wales in 1863, has held Royal Warrants for over 150 years. The Queen, Camilla and Catherine were each presented with one of Fortnum & Mason’s famous hampers, containing a selection of goods including champagne truffles and dog biscuits.
The Queen unveiled a plaque to commemorate the regeneration of the local Piccadilly area.
For a beautiful selection of Diamond Jubilee English Fine Bone China, including cups and saucers, teapots, plates, mugs and bowls please visit www.2012queensdiamondjubilee.com
Image: The Queen, wearing a pale blue outfit with matching hat, Camilla in a navy blue and white coat and Catherine in a mid-blue coat and yellow daffodil to represent St David’s Day, leaving Fortnum and Mason on 1 March 2012. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson was amongst the dignitaries gathered to see the Royal party. Photo credit: Toby Melville/PA Wire
Fashion houses and high street retailers alike are reaping the rewards of the so called ‘Kate Middleton Effect’.
The Duchess, who is listed on the ‘Vanity Fair International Best Dressed List’, is attracting a serious following when it comes to copy-cat fashion.
Ever since Kate caught the eye of the Prince at a University charity fashion show, when she famously modelled that ‘see-through’ dress, which later sold at auction for a remarkable £78,000, whatever Kate wears sells.
Whether it’s a Burberry trench coat, an Issa Dress or an outfit from Reiss … Kate has a magical influence on sales.
Only last week the bird-print ‘Orla Kiely’ dress that Kate wore on a visit to Oxford, sold out in minutes, and on Valentine’s Day, stocks of the half-price coat from ‘Hobbs’ that Kate wore while visiting charities in Liverpool were soon depleted.
But it’s not just the fashion houses that are benefitting from whatever Kate wears. The public in general is learning a lesson-or-two from The Duchess of Cambridge about recycling their wardrobes.
Followers of Kate’s fashion will have no doubt soon discovered that the black polo-neck jumper dress from high street store ‘Oasis’ that The Duchess wore underneath her ‘Hobbs’ coat this month, was from a past, past-season and no longer available in the stores.
Whether Kate is determined to set an example of ‘thrift’ or sustainability when it comes to clothes, or whether she deliberately dresses down on occasions, so that the purpose of her work is not overshadowed, we cannot be sure … but whatever the message Kate Middleton is winning admirers the world over.
Image: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive at a charity event for Absolute Return for Kids, ARK, in London, on 9 June 2011. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
The Duchess of Cambridge carried out her first ‘regional solo engagement’ by visiting charities and a Children’s Hospital in Liverpool on Valentine’s Day.
Kate Middleton, whose husband Prince William is currently in the Falklands Islands, won the hearts and minds of the crowds as they greeted their ‘Valentine Duchess’ with cheers, smiles, cards, gifts and bunches of flowers.
Kate was in Liverpool to visit an Action on Addiction project – ‘The Brink’ – an alcohol-free bar run mainly by recovering addicts. Action on Addiction, for which The Duchess of Cambridge is a Patron, helps people recovering from addiction and provides much needed support to their families.
Organisers at ‘The Brink’ were delighted to offer Kate a specially created smoothie named ‘The Duchess’ in honour of their Royal guest. The smoothie, which was a mix of almonds, skimmed milk, honey, banana and cream, was presented to Kate in a cocktail glass with a slice of orange.
Kate also visited Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, where she met some of the patients and was given a tour of the facilities, and a project run by the Ronald McDonald House Charities, which provides “home away from home” accommodation at hospitals across the UK.
During her visit to Alder Hey Hospital, Kate apparently confided the name of her new pet dog to 12-year-old patient, Elliot Casey, who is recovering from a brain tumour operation.
Until recently the name of Kate and William’s black cocker spaniel had remained a closely guarded Royal secret … but the word is officially out … St James’s Palace has confirmed that the Royal Couple’s new puppy is called ‘Lupo’ – which means ‘wolf’ in Italian.
Image: The Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to Alder Hey Hospital, Liverpool on Tuesday 14 February 2012. Photo credit: Colin Lane/Liverpool Echo/PA Wire
Saturday 30 July was another proud day for the British Monarchy, when the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Phillips and finance Mike Tindall were married at a private wedding ceremony in Edinburgh.
Despite expressing a wish for a private and relatively quiet wedding, the couple were greeted by more than 6,000 well-wishers who had gathered on the narrow streets of Edinburgh to catch a glimpse of the newlyweds. Zara and Mike waved to the crowds and shared a kiss outside the city’s Canongate Kirk.
Zara looked stunning in a full-length ivory silk gown with silk tulle detail, designed by Stewart Parvin, a favourite designer of the Queen, and a pair of shoes by Jimmy Choo. Her mother, The Princess Royal, lent Zara a ‘Greek Key’ diamond tiara, which complimented the full veil, exquisitely held back from Zara’s face as she held her bouquet of flowers.
The brides’ father, Captain Mark Phillips, accompanied Zara to the church where she arrived seven minutes late for her 3pm service. The service lasted for 45 minutes and was conducted by Canongate’s resident minister Reverend Neil Gardner.
The couple left the service in a Bentley and were driven 400-yeards to Holyroodhouse Palace for their wedding reception. A marquee was erected in the piazza of the Palace where guests enjoyed a military band and a champagne reception, followed by a Scottish themed dinner.
During their evening reception Zara reportedly changed into a gown by Dublin couturier Paulo Costelloe.
There will be no immediate honeymoon for the newlyweds as Zara and Mike are set to return to training for their sporting commitments.
On the 6 July 2011, during a visit to Calgary in Alberta, HRH The Duke of Cambridge made an impressive speech to the Canadian people. The speech is taken from the official Prince of Wales website.
“A week ago in Ottawa I spoke of how much Catherine and I looked forward to getting to know Canada and Canadians. I can only say that the experience of this past seven days has exceeded all our expectations.
“We have been hugely struck by the diversity of this beautiful country: from Ottawa to Quebec; from Prince Edward Island to the Northwest Territories; and now the excitement of Calgary – and what about these fantastic white hats.
“We have seen how geographical diversity is matched by the diversity of the people we have met: anglophone and francophone, First Nation and new immigrant. We shall always remember the moving ceremony in Ottawa, on Canada Day, when proud immigrants took the oath to become new Canadian Citizens. Lucky them: lucky Canada in welcoming them into the Canadian family.
“The Canadian family is another of the abiding memories that will stay with Catherine and me. Canada is not just a great Union of Provinces and Territories, it is a great union of peoples from many different backgrounds who have come together to make this a model – and a magnet – for those who value freedom, enterprise, tolerance and compassion. A country where all can get on individually – and yet all can get on as a national community.
“We have learnt much about Canada`s history not least from the remarkable veterans we have met: the vital contribution made by Canadians who fought for freedom in the wars of the twentieth century, and by those who have followed their example so bravely in the conflict in Afghanistan.
“We are intensely proud of their sacrifices and immensely grateful. Catherine and I are also full of admiration for the tremendous courage and resilience of the people we met yesterday at Slave Lake, as they rebuild their lives after the devastating fire.
“Many of the Canadians who have contributed so much in Afghanistan are young. And the youthfulness and vitality of this country have also made a great impression on us over this past week, particularly our inspirational visit to Maison Dauphine in Quebec City.
“Canada has extraordinary potential. With its natural resources, thriving economy, and rich human capital, it will surely be one of the great countries of the twenty-first century.
“Monsieur le Premier Ministre, merci beaucoup pour une belle soiree. Et merci a tous les canadiens et canadiennes pour cette visite inoubliable.
“In 1939, my great grandmother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, said of her first Tour of Canada with her husband, King George VI: `Canada made us`. Catherine and I now know very well what she meant.
“Canada has far surpassed all that we were promised. Our promise to Canada is that we shall return.
His Royal Highness, The Duke of Cambridge
6 July 2011, Canada
On Friday 1 July, as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived at Ottawa’s Parliament Hill, to celebrate Canada Day, they were greeted to a warm welcome by crowds of well-wishers who had turned out to witness this historic occasion.
On a day, that would also have been Princess Diana’s 50th birthday, Canada celebrated their 144th birthday. William, in his speech, spoke about Catherine’s grandfather who trained in Canada as a pilot during the Second World War.
For her appearance at Ottawa’s parliament, wearing the colours of the Canadian flag, Catherine looked elegant, in the figure hugging white dress that she had worn for her official engagement photos and stylish red maple leaf hat. Catherine also wore a diamond maple leaf broach, a family heirloom belonging to the Queen.
The Duchess changed outfits, reportedly the fifth change in 24 hours, for the evening reception and delighted onlookers in a stunning purple Issa dress, complete with the same beautiful maple leaf broach.
The Duchess has won the hearts of the Canadian nation by greeting and engaging in conversations with the crowd. Kate looked delighted when she was handed armfuls of flowers and gifts.
The Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, welcomed the Royal Couple to Ottawa, at the start of their first official overseas tour.
Prince William, addressing his audience in both French and English, joked: “It will get better as we go on” and he went on to say how he and his wife have been “longing” to visit Canada together and how they were “delighted” to be there.
After laying a wreath and flowers at the war memorial, William and Catherine attended a barbecue hosted by Mr Johnson, who acts as the Queen’s official representative in Canada.
Reportedly, the Duchess has packed more than 40 different outfits for the Royal Tour and, on her first day alone she changed into three of those outfits!
As she left the UK, Catherine wore a cleverly selected ‘mixed’ outfit, which included a blazer with gold buttons, appropriately by Toronto-based designer Smythe les Vestes, a fitted dress by London-based Roland Mouret, stilettos by Manolo Bhlanik and a Mulberry handbag.
Upon arrival in Canada, Catherine changed into a dress designed by Erdem, another Canadian designer, and then into a black and white “bird” dress by Issa, one of her favourite designers.
More than one million pounds was raised through the Royal Wedding Charitable Gift Fund.
“Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are incredibly grateful for all the generous donations and messages of goodwill that have been sent to the Charitable Gift Fund in celebration of their wedding. The Fund has now closed.”
The fund was set up by Prince William and Catherine Middleton in March 2011, a few weeks before their wedding, in order to enable those who wished to present them with a wedding gift to donate to the Royal Couple’s chosen charities instead.
The Royal Wedding Charitable Gift Fund closed at the end of May and a few weeks later the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry, responsible for the Royal Wedding Charitable Gift Fund, announced that a fantastic £1,058,367 had been raised and would be distributed amongst the 26 chosen charities.
As well as donations from members of the public, contributions to the Royal Wedding Charitable Gift Fund also came from other projects including a donation from the sales of the official Royal Wedding Album and a donation from the sales of the photograph of the couple printed in the official wedding brochure.
The 26 charities to benefit from the fund are wide ranging and focus on different areas including arts, sports, children, service personnel and conservation related giving. The charities are based in the UK and overseas in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
List of Charities
Peace Players, Ocean Youth Trust, Greenhouse Schools, Oily Cart, Dance United, IntoUniversity, Venture Trust, Beat Bullying, Keyfund, A National Voice, Association for Children’s Palliative Care (ACT), Youth Access, Community Foundation in Wales, Scottish Community Foundation, Berkshire Community Foundation, Combat Stress, Cruse Bereavement Care for Children of Forces’ Families, Household Cavalry Benevolent Fund, Irish Guards Appeal, Army Widows Association, Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, ZSL, EarthWatch, The Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, New Zealand Government’s Christchurch Earthquake Appeal, Royal Flying Doctor Service – Australia.
Catherine’s Royal Wedding dress was inspired by the dress worn by Grace Kelly for her wedding to Prince Ranier in 1956.
The ivory white satin silk gown was created by Sarah Burton, Head Designer at the House of Alexander McQueen. Burton signed a confidentiality agreement and was not permitted to speak about the commission. The dress remained a secret until the moment Catherine stepped out of the wedding car with her father.
The structure of the dress, which is a mix of Victorian detailing and contemporary styling, is designed around a traditional corset, with nipped in waist, padded hips, and 58 organza covered buttons.
The delicate bodice is fashioned from a mix of English lace and French Chantilly lace. Hand embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework, the lace applique includes flowers to represent each area of the British Isles – roses for England, thistles for Scotland, daffodils for Wales and shamrocks for Ireland.
The veil is made from layers of ivory silk tulle and finished with hand sewn flowers and, the modest yet beautifully embroidered train measures just over 8ft. Princess Diana’s train, in comparison, was 25ft long.
Catherine wore her hair partly down and partly up, held in place by a tiara lent to her by the Queen. The ‘halo’ tiara was designed by Cartier in 1936 and was originally a gift to Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, from her husband – later King George VI.
The diamond earrings were a gift to Catherine by her parents on her wedding day and featured oak leaves and acorns, to match the Middleton’s new coat of arms.
The myrtle flowers in Catherine’s bouquet, cut from a sprig planted in 1845 by Queen Victoria, symbolised love.