Royal fashion, with scarlet duchessComment on this story
London - Well, I was in tears. When the Queen emerged from her limo, she shimmered.
She was in a white boucle coat with a ruched ribbon fastening, embellished with Swarovski crystals, designed by her redoubtable dresser, Angela Kelly, and a year in the making.
The only note of dishevelment was that her solid Launer of London handbag was open (Camilla soon told her to snap it shut); the sole sign of her advanced age a cashmere square for warmth later.
The choice of white was fitting, reminding us of the brilliance of diamonds, and a serene change from her usual vivid colour choice.
The Jardine Star brooch sparkled despite the rain, and she was also wearing her usual pearl Ladies of Devonshire earrings and necklace, a wedding present from Queen Mary.
Even Karl Lagerfeld, who hates women with a BMI and age above 15, wrote on Twitter: ‘For her role, and who she is, it is hard to imagine a different outfit the Queen could have sported better.’ She was, to put it simply, perfect.
It was the older women who shone on the day. The Duchess of Cornwall looked smart in a slightly floaty coat dress with lattice sleeves by Kensington couturier Anna Valentine and a Philip Treacy picture hat.
Carole Middleton was impeccable in a cream tailored summer suit.
Pippa was unusually frumpy in a prim nautical blue and white dress by Orla Keily (£345) and matching textured jacket (£295), completing the red, white and blue theme of the Middleton women.
A nice idea, but I’m afraid Kate, who took up the red mantle, needs to realise she has a new family, and be complete and patriotic in her own right.
Even the gruesome twosome, Eugenie and Beatrice, were understated. Beatrice wore a bespoke Fifties-style dress in silver and navy jacquard (£850) by my favourite London couturier, Suzannah, and a Stephen Jones hat. Her coat was Marni: a marvellously bohemian, and super expensive, Italian label.
Eugenie wore a Roland Mouret dress that sculpted her figure, a black, lacy bolero and a Stephen Jones hat. She also had a cream Moschino jacket in a military style.
All eyes were, of course, on the Duchess of Cambridge, and I’m afraid she disappointed, from a fashion historian’s point of view.
Of course she looked exquisite, but that pillar box red dress was a customised design by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen from an off-the-peg version costing £1,195.
It should have been unique, and therefore should have been couture, not a lazy, hazy compromise.
But it did have a themed boat neck and was pinned with a brooch made of two silver dolphins, a gift from the Royal Navy submarines.
Unfortunately, the red blended with the Spirit of Chartwell’s soft furnishings — a fundamental mistake the Queen would never have made.
Kate’s svelte figure looked more curvaceous than usual, due to the nipped-in waist, fashionable peplum and sunray pleats.
I am trying to be positive, so will say I loved the jaunty Sylvia Fletcher hat from James Lock, at £795, but why on earth the LK Bennett nude patent courts, at £185? They are so last season and so cheap looking.
This occasion will be viewed countless times, so Kate should have abandoned the rehashed and the High Street and gone for all-out bespoke glamour. I’d like her to look sexy and young while she still can.
The Queen, remarkably, stood for the whole journey. By Tower Bridge Kate, suddenly chilly, put on a wildly clashing Strathearn tartan scarf. She fiddled with her loose hair.
The young male royals have their uniforms; Kate needs to find hers. She is not quite ready to take the sartorial reins. She really should have pushed the boat out. - Daily Mail
ANOTHER VIEW... OH KATE, DID YOU REALLY HAVE TO STEAL THE SHOW IN SCARLET?
BY AMANDA PLATELL
Oh Kate, what were you thinking? While the rest of the royal party sensibly opted for a muted palette, determined not to outshine the woman at the centre of it all, the Duchess of Cambridge opted for a scarlet dress so bold and bright it just screamed: ‘Look at me!’
For a moment, she could have been confused with the Chelsea Pensioners’ guard of honour. But, no, it was Kate in an outfit as striking as it was inappropriate.
Yes, it drew gasps from the crowd, but that was precisely the problem. For if ever there was an occasion when Kate should have opted for a more subdued look, then this was surely it.
Throughout her first year as a member of the Royal Family, Kate has hardly put a fashionably shod foot wrong. Her wedding gown was tremblingly beautiful and sophisticated.
Since then she has cleverly combined High Street with designer clothes: fashionable but never a fashionista, classic, conservative, sometimes demure.
So why, on the second most important occasion in her public life, did she opt for an outfit more suited to Ladies’ Day at Aintree alongside Coleen Rooney than beside Her Majesty at her Diamond Jubilee pageant? An outfit, indeed, that in its sleeveless version was previously worn by reality TV star Kim Kardashian and The X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos.
It says something when even Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice were more appropriately attired than the unusually immaculate Kate.
I blame her family. Not the Royals, but the Middletons.
Apparently, the Middleton women, now a bewildering presence at all royal occasions, had decided to do a ‘red, white and blue’ theme between sisters and mother, with Carole in white, Pippa in blue and Kate in crimson.
Put together, they no doubt looked like a jolly string of bunting. But, for heaven’s sake, this wasn’t a promotional shoot for their online party business, it was a formal royal function.
Family loyalty is one thing, Kate, but you’re part of a much bigger, more important family now.
I realise it must be incredibly difficult to have the eyes of the world upon her and every outfit scrutinised. But she is clever enough to know by now what impact her choice of outfit can have on a public occasion; how every little detail can speak volumes. She also has the best advisers in the land, not least the Royal Family themselves. Unlike with Diana, they have done everything to make her feel part of the family and to help her understand what is required of her.
Kate’s advisers have always let it be known that she and William wanted to be low-key royals. We were told they wanted a quiet, normal, married life while they were based in a small cottage in Wales. If so, then yesterday was a curious way of showing it. Let us be charitable and assume it was never Kate’s intention to steal the limelight from the Queen, and she was simply badly advised.
But there’s a lesson in there for her. Yes, she looked stunning. But when in the Queen’s company, less is definitely more.
Ultimately, nothing - not even a scarlet Duchess - could outshine our diamond sovereign. - Daily Mail