Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales, may as well be Princess of Barrel Curls, because the 40-year-old has been sporting her signature style for well over a decade. And with good reason—her shiny waves are impervious to the elements and always ready for a photo opp. Were it not against royal rules, I have no doubt she would’ve scored a Pantene sponsorship the second she entered the public eye. The Dyson Airwrap could never.
All this is to say that when Kate arrived to the Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday, December 6, her otherwise innocuous blowout was a legitimately striking. So long, iconic curls. Hello, straight hair era.
The Diplomatic Reception, which is held annually by the royal family to honor members of the Diplomatic Corps in the palace’s State Rooms, was a white tie affair—meaning tiaras were very much expected. For the occasion, the princess chose the Lotus Flower Tiara, marking the first time she’s worn the piece since 2015; she wore it for the very first time back in 2013. Notably, this also marks the first time Kate has styled a tiara with her hair down. She typically tucks the tiaras into romantic updos.
The princess paired the tiara with matching tear-drop diamond earrings and a long-sleeve crimson Jenny Packham gown with delicate floral beaded embellishments.
The occasion marks the second time Kate has worn a tiara as the Princess of Wales. She wore the Lover’s Knot tiara back in November, and before that, she hadn’t worn a tiara since 2019.
Whether the straight hair is here to stay or simply a fleeting style choice, Kate Middleton’s hair inspo remains unmatched. Long live the Princess of Good Hair days.
Originally published in Glamour.com
The Princess of Wales knows fashion can send a message.
At the second annual Earthshot Prize in Boston, which was established by Prince William and Sir David Attenborough to award five grants annually to ideas, people, and projects aimed at combating global warming, Kate Middleton wore a green Solace London dress rented from British fashion company Hurr.
How Middleton sourced the gown spoke volumes. Instead of purchasing a brand-new gown, she opted to promote a more sustainable—and affordable—way of dressing. According to a recent report, Rent the Runway estimated that their rental model has decreased garment production by 1.3 million items since 2010. (67 million gallons of water and 44.2 million pounds of CO2 emissions have been saved in the process.) The “green” color, too, was a poignant one, as the shade is often the one most associated with the earth and environmental causes.
Finally, Middleton paired it with an emerald-and-diamond choker that once belonged to Princess Diana. The royal has recently opted to wear pieces that belonged to her late mother-in-law, who was also the last person to hold the Princess of Wales title. As Middleton continues to step into the role, such subtle tributes seemingly pay homage to the beloved woman before her.
One of the most memorable looks ever worn by Princess Diana, incidentally, is from an outing in Melbourne back in 1985, and features the very same neckpiece. Originally gifted to Queen Mary by the Ladies of India in 1911, the necklace was then passed down to Diana in 1981, and worn by the royal not around the neck, but as a headband.
The senior royal often dresses with careful intent, such as wearing local fashion designers when she travels overseas. Yet, here, the princess shows a keen understanding of “the Kate Effect,” or the tendency for her clothing to sell or spike in popularity once she publicly wears them. Now, it seems like an eco-friendly company might not only get the customer boost of a lifetime—but it may encourage buyers everywhere to think about shifting their consumer habits to less wasteful ones. Now, that’s influential dressing.
Originally published in Vogue.com
Elizabeth Taylor cape-fluencing in Cleopatra. Photo: Getty
Anyone hoping to make an entrance at a big event this party season should revisit Elizabeth Taylor arriving in Ancient Rome in Cleopatra. In a famous (and famously expensive) scene in Joseph L Mankiewicz’s 1963 epic, the Egyptian queen leaves the crowds awestruck as she sweeps into the city on an enormous marble sphinx. In reality, litters are difficult to come by (though Billy Porter managed it for the 2019 Met Gala), but it wasn’t only the props that made her arrival so memorable. There was also the not insignificant matter of that gold dress – complete with a cape crafted to resemble the wings of a phoenix.
It’s just one of many fabulous capes in cinematic history (another classic: Audrey Hepburn’s Givenchy in Funny Face), and thanks to designers’ enduring fascination with its ability to lend drama to a dress – Cristóbal Balenciaga’s obsession with austere, ecclesiastical clothing saw him add capes to his couture in the ’50s and ’60s, and more than half a century on they were a theme of Pierpaolo Piccioli’s most recent Valentino collection – the silhouette has been central to some indelible red-carpet looks, too.
Lupita Nyong’o wearing Ralph Lauren at the Golden Globes in 2014, the year she was nominated for 12 Years a Slave. Photo: Getty
In the last decade alone, we’ve had Gwyneth Paltrow in Tom Ford at the Oscars in 2012, Lupita Nyong’o in scarlet Ralph Lauren at the 2014 Golden Globes, and Lady Gaga’s silver Givenchy Haute Couture for the premiere of A Star is Born in 2018. Capes were all over the red carpet at the 2020 Academy Awards, on Brie Larson (Celine), Maya Rudolph (Valentino), Olivia Colman (Stella McCartney), Natalie Portman (Dior) and Tracee Ellis Ross, whose showstopping gold Zuhair Murad gown for the Vanity Fair party was not unlike Taylor’s Cleopatra number. At this year’s Critics’ Choice Awards, Best Actress nominee Selena Gomez was ravishing in a custom red cape dress by Nicolas Ghesquière for Louis Vuitton.
Just this week, the Princess of Wales attended a state dinner at Buckingham Palace wearing a white gown by Jenny Packham, its built-in cape flowing from crystal-encrusted statement shoulders. It’s not the first time the Princess has worn a cape dress, but the timing feels significant. It was Kate’s first state banquet since she assumed her new, more senior role within the royal family following the death of Her Majesty the Queen on 8 September. Her husband Prince William is now first in line to the throne, and the couple are key figureheads for the British monarchy on the world stage. The white-tie banquet, held in honour of South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, was the first hosted by King Charles III, making it a hugely significant occasion for the new-look royal family. The Princess dressed accordingly – adding Princess Diana’s favourite Lover’s Knot tiara to her Jenny Packham cape dress, which looked sleek, elegant and undeniably regal.
The Princess of Wales in her cape dress at a state banquet at Buckingham Palace this week. Photo: Getty
It followed another memorable cape moment from Kate in September last year, when she walked the red carpet at the world premiere of the wildly anticipated James Bond film No Time to Die. The Princess – a careful dresser who rarely takes risks when it comes to fashion – ramped up the glamour quotient in a gold sequined gown with a shimmering cape, again by Jenny Packham. It was a big moment for the British film industry – and for parties – as the postponed premiere finally went ahead following pandemic setbacks, and Kate’s golden goddess cape ensured it was all over the front pages the next day.
In 2018, Kate was tasked with a royal tour of Sweden and Norway while heavily pregnant with her third child, Prince Louis. That time, it was a blush pink cape dress by Alexander McQueen that came to the rescue for dinner at the Norwegian royal palace, where the then Duchess swept into the banquet on the arm of King Harald V, the delicate layer of tulle that fell from her shoulders swishing in her wake. Another occasion when the eyes of the world were upon her, deftly executed with the help of a little extra drama.
Don’t be surprised if a cape silhouette makes its way into the Princess’s case for the Wales’s forthcoming visit to Boston, their first joint trip to the US since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s move to Montecito precipitated a cooling of relations between the two royal couples. The trip, which takes place shortly before Harry and Meghan are expected to accept an award at the 2022 Ripple of Hope Gala in New York, will inevitably make headlines on both sides of the pond, suggesting Kate’s wardrobe will be curated with even more careful attention to detail than usual.
Kate on the red carpet in shimmering Jenny Packham sequins at the Royal Albert Hall. Photo: Getty
In social psychologist Amy Cuddy’s famous 2012 Ted Talk, she claimed spending two minutes in a “Wonder Woman pose” – legs shoulder-width apart, chest proud, hands on hips – can boost confidence ahead of a nerve-wracking meeting or important presentation. (Adopting this “non-verbal expression of dominance and power”, she argued, can increase levels of testosterone and lower cortisol, leaving you better equipped to handle whatever the day throws at you.) If borrowing her body language is this effective (66 million views suggest Cuddy was onto something), perhaps it makes sense that high-profile women like the Princess should reach for the superhero’s style signature for important moments. Who wouldn’t walk a little taller while channelling Wonder Woman?
Originally published in Vogue.co.uk
Kate Middleton has made her first black-tie appearance as the Princess of Wales.
At a state banquet for President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, she stepped out in a white caped gown by Jenny PackhamJenny PackhamJenny Packham. Adorned with shimmering beading and a boat neckline, the dress was both a demure, yet still high-fashion, choice for an evening at Buckingham Palace.
Upon her head was the Lover’s Knot Tiara. It’s a favorite of the princess’s—she’s worn it on several occasions—yet still a deeply meaningful one. Originally, the Lover’s Knot Tiara was commissioned for Queen Mary in 1913 from the House of Garrard, and is crafted from diamonds and 19 hanging pearls set in silver and gold.
The tiara eventually belonged to Queen Elizabeth II, who lent it to her daughter-in-law, Princess Diana. Through Diana’s explosive fame, it became one of the most famous tiaras in history. (Although she may have not enjoyed it as much as the public: Allegedly, it was so heavy she got headaches after wearing it.) Indeed, a photo of her wearing the diadem with a white, pearl-encrusted Catherine Walker in 1989 is considered one of the most iconic images ever of the late Princess.
When Kate Middleton married Prince William in 2011—14 years after Diana’s passing—Queen Elizabeth then passed it on to the young royal. Middleton’s tiara wasn’t the only piece of jewelry that played tribute to the royal women before her: On her wrist was a pearl bracelet that belonged to the late Queen, who passed away in September.
She accented her gilded ensemble with two badges. The first was the badge of the Royal Victorian Order, a white enamel Maltese cross with a Tudor crown, which the then–Duchess of Cambridge received from Queen Elizabeth in 2019 “for services to the sovereign.” The second was the yellow Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II, which is bestowed on female members of the British monarchy.
Her appearance at the state dinner marks one of the most glamorous royal moments in years, after such grand gatherings were put on hold during 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.
For her second appearance over Remembrance weekend, the Princess of Wales turned to Catherine Walker, whose Chelsea atelier provided countless designs for Diana, Princess of Wales throughout her years as a working member of the Firm. Most famously, the homegrown British label is behind some of the late royal’s most memorable evening gowns, worn everywhere from Saudi Arabia to South Korea.
Kate, however, frequently wears Catherine Walker for more reserved occasions (including Remembrance Sunday in 2019 and 2020). This year, the Duchess joined the Queen Consort on a Whitehall balcony to watch the wreath-laying ceremony – led, for the first time, by King Charles III – wearing the label’s Evie coat dress, a military-style design that nodded to the nature of the occasion. (As the cofounder of the brand, Said Cyrus, told Vogue previously: “I’m very aware of the fact that we design for businesswomen who have an important role in life… They come to Catherine Walker & Co for garments that are suitable for the role they are playing and that match up to the power they have.”)
The Princess’s earrings, meanwhile, have an even stronger connection to Diana: Kate inherited the diamond and pearl set from her late mother-in-law, and recently wore them to attend the Buckingham Palace Reception for foreign dignitaries on the eve of the Queen’s funeral. For her part, Diana preferred to wear the horseshoe-shaped studs and drop pearls with the Spencer tiara, most notably during a performance by the English National Ballet in Budapest in 1992.
Originally published in Vogue.co.uk
Rajwa Al Saif Nailed Classic Daytime Dressing for Her First Public Appearance with Crown Prince Hussein
Crown Prince Hussein‘s Saudi fiancée Rajwa Khaled Bin Musaed Bin Saif Bin Abdulaziz Al Saif marked her first official appointment in Jordan on Tuesday. After announcing their engagement in August, the couple stepped out to visit the Royal Hashemite Court, which saw Al Saif get more acquainted with the country’s history.
The couple was joined by Prince Hussein Bin Talal, who seemingly led the tour of the headquarters and the rich Hashemite heritage. Prince Hussein took to Instagram to document the moment with a picture of the couple posing with Prince Hussein and another walking into the court. “There is no one more knowledgeable than my great uncle El Hassan when it comes to Jordan’s history and our Hashemite legacy,” he wrote.” Rajwa and I had the pleasure of viewing exhibits from Jordan’s Hashemite history at the Royal Hashemite Court today.”
For her outfit for the visit, Al Saif looked to the fail-safe monochrome combination with a crisp white button-up tucked into a slightly poufy black skirt. Elevating the otherwise classic ensemble with a touch of playfulness were two belts cinching the midi skirt at the waist, while a dainty necklace and a cream-colored mini bag completed her look. The daytime trip also saw Al Saif ditch her usually polished waves for more naturally tousled locks, and go for a pared-back makeup look showing off radiant skin.
Read Next: Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan and Rajwa Al Saif Release Their First Portrait as an Engaged Couple
Photo: Courtesy of the Royal Hashemite Court of Jordan
HM Queen Rania was welcomed by the First Lady of Oman, HH Sayyida Ahad Bint Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Busaidi to the Al Alam Palace in Muscat on Tuesday. The Jordan royal is currently on an official visit to Oman with HM King Abdullah II, and their son, Crown Prince Hussein, who were greeted by Oman’s Sultan Haitham upon their arrival.
Photo: Courtesy of the Royal Hashemite Court of Jordan
Landing at the private airport, Queen Rania was seen wearing a breezy white dress, which came with polka dots all over, floral embroidery in black on the bodice, and a matching belt. The 52-year-old accessorized the smart casual look with a black handbag, sunglasses, and white pumps. Neutrals were also favored by the wife of the Sultan of Oman, who was photographed wearing a light blue jalabiya with a taupe embroidered abaya and a cream-colored headscarf and clutch.
Photo: Courtesy of the Royal Hashemite Court of Jordan
Later, HH Sayyida hosted a dinner banquet in honor of Queen Rania, which was also attended by a number of senior female Omani officials. While the First Lady of Oman wore a black jalabiya with red embroidery in a traditional pattern, Queen Rania swapped her daytime look for another white number: a satin dress with a black V-neck and an asymmetrical belt cinching the waist before a pleated skirt. The mother-of-four slipped into black pumps for the evening and sported a dainty necklace to match.
The Jordan royal family’s official visit to Oman is marked by discussions to find “political solutions to the crises in the region,” and meetings to strengthen “the bond of brotherhood between the brotherly Omani and Jordanian people.”
Read Next: Queen Rania Makes a Case for Monochrome Dressing in New York
Photo: Misan Harriman
Misan Harriman, the photographer who has captured some of the most significant moments in Prince Harry and Meghan Markle‘s lives, has released two never-before-seen portraits of the couple.
The powerful photos were posted to Harriman’s Instagram account and taken behind the scenes of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s appearance at the One Young World Summit in Manchester on September 5. The event marked one of many in Prince Harry and Markle’s series of engagements away from their home in the US, which came to a stop due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II on September 8.
Photo: Misan Harriman
In the first new portrait, the couple looks on straight into the camera, with Markle standing tall and slightly in front of Prince Harry as she lightly holds his hand. The second black-and-white portrait taken from the side sees them holding hands completely this time, a loving gesture they often share when together at public events. Markle is wearing a bright red blouse and trousers from eco-conscious brand AnotherTomorrow with Aquazzura heels, and gold hoops, while Prince Harry wears a dark blue suit. “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex moments before attending the opening ceremony of One Young World last month,” Harriman captioned the photos on Instagram.
Markle, who has served as a counselor for One Young World since 2014, also took the stage at the summit to deliver an inspiring speech, which was her first time addressing an audience since the couple stepped down as senior royals in March 2020. “I am thrilled that my husband is able to join me here this time, to be able to see and witness firsthand my respect for this incredible organization and all that it provides, as well as accomplishes,” Markle said. “One Young World has been an integral part of my life for so many years before I met him, so to meet again here on UK soil with him by my side, makes it all feel full circle.”
Read Next: Meghan Markle, Duchess Of Sussex, Honored Queen Elizabeth With Meaningful Pearl Earrings
Kate Middleton Rewore Queen Elizabeth II’s Bahraini Pearl Earrings as Tribute to the Late Monarch at Her Funeral
While the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II abounded with vocal tributes, subtle sartorial nods to Britain’s longest reigning monarch too shared the spotlight in a special way. Catherine, Princess of Wales, Camilla, Queen Consort, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, all paid homage to the Queen in remarkably personal manners, including wearing pieces from the royal archives and some gifted to them by the late monarch.
Kate Middleton, in particular, wore earrings made of Bahraini pearls, which among many things, signify the Queen’s longstanding relationship with the Middle East. Although pearls have been traditionally associated with mourning since Queen Victoria’s reign, these specific earrings feature two out of the seven pearls gifted to Queen Elizabeth by Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa of Bahrain on her wedding day in 1947. The pieces bring together one brilliant-cut round diamond, four small round diamonds, and three baguette-cut diamonds, placed above the Bahraini pearl. Loaned to the princess from the royal collection, the earrings were also worn by the former Duchess of Cambridge at Prince Philip’s funeral in April 2021.
Diana, Princess of Wales wearing the necklace in 1982. Photo: Instagram.com
The mother-of-three wore the jewelry with another sentimental piece, a stunning four-strand pearl and diamond choker. Commissioned by the Queen to jewelry maker Garrard, it is made using pearls gifted to her by the Japanese government in the ’70s. Not only was the necklace worn by Kate Middleton to Queen and Prince Philip’s diamond wedding anniversary in 2017, and later, the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral last year, but it was also loaned by the late monarch to Princess Diana for a banquet in 1982.
Read Next: Queen Rania Remembers Queen Elizabeth: “She May Be the Queen of England, but I Think She Is the Queen to All of Us”
Catherine’s earrings, meanwhile, honoured Diana, Princess of Wales – whose title she assumed following the Queen’s death on 8 September. Originally gifted to Diana by Collingwood Jewellers ahead of her wedding to Prince Charles in 1981, the pearl drop style became a favourite of the late royal, who often paired them with Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot Tiara. The Duchess of Cambridge has followed suit during a number of State Banquets at Buckingham Palace over the years, as well as wearing the earrings in one of her 40th birthday portraits, taken by Vogue photographer Paolo Roversi.
The Princess previously wore the Diamond and Pearl Leaf Brooch during a visit to Belgium in 2017. Photo: Getty
In addition to being a personal gift from the Queen, the brooch and earrings are also symbolic of grief; pearls have been associated with mourning since at least the reign of Victoria. It’s widely known that the late monarch never wore colour again after the death of Prince Albert, her beloved husband, including precious stones. In lieu of sapphires, emeralds and rubies, Victoria exclusively favoured jet and pearls, cementing the latter’s association with tears in the 19th century.
The Duchess of Cambridge wore Diana, Princess of Wales’s earrings for her 40th birthday portraits. Photo: Paolo Roversi
Expect to see many more tributes to the Queen – sartorial and otherwise – from the Windsors in the coming days.
Originally published in Vogue.co.uk
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