yal engagements provide Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge diverse opportunity to prove her sartorial diplomacy skills.
All eyes were set on the royal couple -Kate Middleton and Prince William as they touched down Mumbai on Sunday (10th April) to kick off a week-long trip to India and Bhutan as part of their royal duty. This is the pair’s first royal visit together in two years.
Will and Kate, as the couple are lovingly called, are in India as the Queen’s representative. So while the Duke of Cambridge made the speeches on behalf of grand-boss, Her Majesty. It was the Duchess of Cambridge who impressed many with her fashion diplomacy. Her’s was the image that made to front pages back in the United Kingdom. Her sartorial choice of picking an Alexander McQueen dress with paisley print for her arrival look was a subtle nod to Indian art. But it was only when Kate changed into a boho maxi dress with Mughal-inspired print by Mumbai-based designer Anita Dongre that it became clear the Duchess means diplomacy! A move many praised to be “smart and stylish” of Kate to wear a local designer on day 1 itself which report says ‘she’s off the mark in her promise to promote Indian designers.’
Opting for a local designer and showcasing Indian print is not the first time the Duchess has used her outfits to pay respect to the host nation. She’s done it before during her royal trip to New Zealand, Canada and the US; she knows it works and she is only proving her skills.
Royal engagements give Kate Middleton an opportunity to send out a diplomatic message of appreciation and good will. Looking every inch the modern princess. She packed 15 outfits carefully chosen to give a nod to her host’s culture and local style. Here take a look at all the time Kate Middleton paid tribute to Indian fashion:
1) In Alexander McQueen pre-Fall 2016 collection
She may be flying the flag for British fashion in McQueen peplum dress but the paisley print and the red hue were a clear nod to the colour-rich culture of India. She accessorised her arrival look with a £165 clutch bag from Russell & Bromley and L.K Bennett shoes worth £175. The eye-catching peplum skirt suit was a nod to the Indian traditional print, a tear drop shaped design, which is very popular in the country, especially in Kashmir shawls, and saris.
2) In Anita Dongre
In a first, the Duchess picked up a local Indian designer’s creation to mark her second outfit for the trip. Kate spend her second engagement of the day playing cricket in a pretty Anita Dongre maxi. The floatyness of the dress beautifully blended with the colours: mint and pink. Originally the dress which first made its appearance at the Lakme Fashion Week 2015 was a floor-length dress with a stole but to suit the style and event (you can be running between the wickets in a floor-length dress) Kate went a bit creative and chopped off the length and turned the stole (dupatta) into a belt. Ever the diplomat, Kate paired her Indian outfit with a UK-made wedges by Mint Velvet and a jhumka from Accessorize
3) In Jenny Packham
If it isn’t Jenny Packham in the Duchess’ list then what is! It’s no secret Kate Middy admires Jenny Packham’s creation. She’s worn Packham’s design on many different important occasions- even while leaving hospital after giving birth to Prince George and Princess Charlotte. So it came as no surprise when the Duchess changed her floaty number into a glamorous bespoke royal blue gown by the Brit designer for the Bollywood charity gala. Keeping diplomacy in mind the British team had the boat neck dress beaded by artisans in India, resulting in a stunning look that represented the style of her home and host nation’s. She also added a whole lot of Indianness to her outfit with a matching stunning lapis and diamond earrings by Indian jewellery designer Amrapali.
4) In Emilia Wickstead
Kate Middleton kicked off day 2 of the royal tour in Emilia Wickstead, a New Zealand-born, London-based designer. Paired with blush pink court heels by Rupert Sanderson and a matching Mulberry clutch bag, Kate kept it chic in the wool-crepe midi dress, even avoided a possible spilling of dosa that Prince Wiliiam made during their first engagement of the day in Mumbai. The royal tour then shifted to the capital, New Delhi where Will and Kate paid tribute to India’s war dead where in the Duchess might have faced a bit of an embarrassment if not a wardrobe malfunction. The Duchess had a Marilyn Monroe moment when a gust of wind started misbehaving with her £1,700 white dress. The Queen who has previously adviced Kate to attach weights to the hem of her dresses to avoid such moments must be thinking to herself – “I told you, Kate!” The Duchess struggled to control not just the dress but her flyaway glossy brunette locks too.
5) In Alice Temperly
Another Kate Middleton favourite Alice Temperly is a regular in Duchess’ wardrobe. After a whirlwind day of flyaway hair and misbehaving dress, Kate chose an elegant embellished Delphia crop top + long skirt ensemble for a garden party celebrating the Queen’s 90th birthday. The £3,000 Temperly outfit was adorned in Indian-inspired embroidery of Indian chintz and lattice and crystal embellishment, another nod to the host nation.
6) In Glamorous
Now on the third day of their tour to India, Kate took to the streets of New Delhi in a red-patterned maxi dress from Glamourous to reach out to the most vulnerable children living on the streets around New Delhi railway station. Interestingly the dress retails for just about £50. For those who’d be quick to jump to conclusions Kate’s choice was event-appropriate. She’s not called down-to-earth for no reason. It was only appropriate for the thrifty Duchess to opt for a far more simpler outfit than the designer ones.
7) In Alice Temperly
For the lunch with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kate quickly changed her thrifty look to an exquisite vintage-inspired jade dress from Alice Temperly. The Duchess customised her £665 light green lace Temperly dress with modest panels to cover her decolletage and thigh area which the original dress featured. Kate teamed her outfit with Kiki McDonough earring and Fern heels in trench leather from LK Bennett and Natalie clutch.
8) In Anna Sui
After a ceremonial welcome at Tezpur military airport (wearing the same outfit that was for lunch with PM), the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge changed into a much comfy and casual outfit for a bonfire celebration with the locals. Kate picked out a colourful printed maxi dress from American designer Anna Sui’s a/w 2015 collection, while William slipped into a khaki pant and. The designer was delighted to see Kate wearing one of her design, she remarked, “what an honor to see Kate Middleton wearing my Fall ’15 printed dress in India today!” Kate teamed the printed $820 dress with her favourite Pied A Terre Imperia wedges.
9) In Zara
For the day four of the royal tour which included a safari ride to Kaziranga National Park, Kate picked up a cream RM Williams shirt and brown Zara stretch biker trousers to go with the ride. The couple who were in their casuals gave snappers a ‘romantic moment’ to capture.
10) In Topshop
After the safari trip, the Duchess had a quick change of outfit to another flowy print number. It was a Topshop embroidered print midi dress, which seemed just the right outfit for a tour of tea plantation garden and feeding baby elephant and rhino.
11) In Tory Burch
Another print patter, another nod to the colourful Indian tradition. Duchess Catherine arrived at the Guwahati airport in a blue multi-print Tory Burch dress, which she changed to an Emilia Wickstead before landing in Bhutan. Kate is known for recycling her wardrobe so it wasn’t much of a surprise to see her recycle her Tory Burch chrissy dress which she wore in 2014.