The Duchess of Cambridge and Her Conquest of Southeast Asia
While the World may not know New York Fashion Week was in progress the past week, you must indeed by living under ice in Antarctica if you have not heard about the other, one-woman fashion show also happening last week. Yes, it’s the triumphant tour of Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, to the Southeast Asian countries of Malaysia and Singapore.
Prince William and Kate are on of a tour of Commonwealth Countries on behalf of the Queen of England, who this year celebrates her 60th year on the throne. Singapore was the first part of the leg, and Kate touched down in Southeast Asia wearing a custom-made Jenny Packham kimono style dress with an orchid pattern and plunging neckline. She wore this dress to her visit to the Singapore Botanical garden, and it provided great complimentary background for both Vanda William Catherine and Dendrobium Memoria Princess Diana.
Her next outfit of the day was another floral design, this time a Prabal Gurung sheath from his Spring-Sumer 2012 collection. The internet is abuzz with this choice, hailing is one of Kate’s best choices. I agree, and it is a perfect blend between sophisticated cool and playfulness, although I wouldn’t go as far as ‘edgy’. The lilac-purple color is unique, the cut is conservative, yet young, and showed off her slender figure in a good way. The choice is made much more significant since apparently Prabal was born in Singapore. I do think, however, it would have been better if Kate pulled her hair up, since the tumbling tresses somewhat distract from the dress’ pattern.
The next day, for a stop at the Rolls Royce factory Kate chose a custom-made Alexander McQueen, a white dress with full skirt. The dress gives off an image of factory girls in the 1940s, something that was probably intentional on the part of the Duchess, as she would be fitting one of the last components for an Airbus engine.
The second outfit of the day for Singapore is a two-piece Raoul print, which according to the Singapore brand, is a “Tara Blouse and matching Full Pleat Skirt in Tick Print from the Pre Fall ‘12 Collection”. The sleeves shows off Kate’s toned arms, and it looked comfortable as we see her kneeling and painting in the dress.
We are treated with another change of outfit for the day, and this time into an Erdem cocktail dress. Along with Jenny Packham, Erdem seems to have become one of Kate’s go-to designers. The printed dress looks light and flowy, with pleated skirt, but compared with other Erdem numbers she had previously worn to public events, is a bit boring.
The royal couple’s last day in Singapore was dedicated to visiting a War Memorial commemorating British fallen soldiers during World War II. Kate chose another Jenny Packham custom-made dress, this time in a soft, duck-egg blue color with full pleated skirt and slightly poufed sleeves. Although quite unassuming at first, on further inspection, the dress has a slight retro and almost Asian feel. In this same dress the Duchess will later arrive in Malaysia and give her first speech overseas, at Hospice Malaysia.
The only full-length gown Kate will wear through the Southeast Asian tour was another custom-made Alexander MrQueen. It’s a cream-colored dress with an overlay of gold hibiscus flower, showing off her slightly tanned skin. From afar it looks like a sari-type material. The neck is cut very low, and probably not the best choice as her chest is at the eye level of other guests.
It seems that Southeast Asia will give many firsts to William and Kate. For their first visit to a mosque, Malaysia’s Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, the largest in the country, Kate wore a Beulah London dress. The dress is coincidentally named Sabitri, a pale greenish-gray of silk and double georgette, along with a matching head scarf. The dress has a narrow slit for the neckline, and the long sleeves are unlined. The internet is full of pictures comparing this look with the late Princess Diana’s own mosque visits. There is some resemblance in color, but looking back, Diana’s outfits were the fashion of the day, whereas the one Kate wore seems to be the most old-fashion-looking dress in the tour so far. If not for the ring on their fingers, one would not know the link they have.
But while the dress is a bit old-fashioned, her hair is lovely. It’s reported that Kate brought a personal hairdresser, and the woman is definitely earning her keeps. The complex knot of the morning is further enhanced with pearl pins for the afternoon, where Kate wears a blue sheath overlaid with lace from Temperley London. Random thought: though very lovely, this would be the hardest piece to recycle for another event…
Kate would wear the Temperley dress to travel to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah. The rest of the Sabah portion of the trip did not really yield any fashion candy, as both William and Kate were dressed for jungle trekking.
Summing up, it’s clear that Kate is not a firm follower of trend, and dresses for comfort as well as for show. She has an uncanny ability to choose an outfit relevant to the occasion, and seems to place great importance in fabric details perhaps even over style. No surprises in the footwear and accessory department though; Kate’s hair was probably the most outstanding accessory and not only for beating the heat. Overall, another well thought-out set of outfits.
The next leg of the tour will cover the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu in the South Pacific. These are very different places compared with Singapore and Malaysia. The Solomon Islands, for example, is one of the World’s least developed countries.
So, which dress to you like the most so far? If you were able to choose one dress for yourself, which would you pick? Mine would be the white, full-skirted Alexander McQueen dress.
Picture sources: HelloMagazine.com, DailyMail.co.uk, KM-DofC tumblr