Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Tour Polls: Vote for Kate's Best Daywear, Casual & Earrings + Calendar Updates

We're back rounding up our tour polls, covering daywear looks, casual ensembles and earrings, as well as a look at calendar updates for the Duchess.

Best Daywear Look

From a sartorial perspective the royal tour offered a varied selection of daywear looks for the Duchess. From classic designs from favoured designers to repeats and an abundance of printed boho style dresses, the climate in India meant we saw Kate choosing mostly dresses throughout the tour rather than her usual choice of coats and coatdresses. The tour kicked off when the Cambridges arrived in Mumbai, with Kate opting for a vibrant red print Alexander McQueen piece from the Pre-Fall 2016 Collection.

Following a brief break, Kate changed into the colourful 'Gulrukh' Tunic Dress by Mumbai-based designer Anita Dongre for engagements in the city. An aide said: "She wanted to wear a local designer at the earliest possible opportunity."

There's a very interesting story behind the Anita Dongre dress which went largely unnoticed in the flurry of events and outfits throughout the tour. In March, PA Natasha Archer got in touch with the designer requesting a lookbook, then she went in and requested items for fittings. Among the selections - the Gulrukh - which had been significantly altered by Natasha herself. More from the Telegraph:

'All the more surprising was the fact that the Duchess’s team had altered Dongre’s design. The “Gulrukh” dress - from the SS16 Love Notes collection - was originally full length and included a traditional stole in matching fabric. “In India a lot of woman would wear this with trousers and a stole,” she says, pointing to the catwalk look from Lakme Fashion Week where the dress was shown in its original form. “Her stylist has taken the stole and converted part of that into the belt and then chopped it off so it can be worn as a dress. She’s amazing - it looks easy, breezy and so contemporary,” Dongre says of the DIY update by Natasha Archer.'

Kate chose the Emilia Wickstead Wool-Crepe Midi Dress for a Tech Awards launch and engagements in Delhi. The £1,700 ivory dress features two faux breast pockets, two front slit pockets, a full skirt and a concealed button and fastening back.

When the Duke and Duchess met vulnerable children in Delhi, Kate wore the £50 Red Navy Border Print Lace up Maxi Dress by British brand Glamorous. The long sleeve dress features a scoop neck, a wide flared skirt, and an allover pattern with paisley and floral details. For those interested in pre-ordering the dress, you can get a 25% discount with the code DRESS25.

For lunch with Prime Minister Modi, Kate opted for the elegant Temperley London 'Desdemona' dress. The jade dress from the Autumn 2016 Collection is crafted from vintage-inspired lace reminiscent of traditional Spanish folk costume.

For a memorable day in Kaziranga National Park the Duchess chose a pretty Pink Print Dress by Topshop. We rarely see Kate in pink, which is a pity, because the colour works superbly well with her colouring. The boho-chic dress features black embroidery and tassel-tipped ties.

We saw two royal repeats as the royal tour moved to Bhutan. Kate wore her Tory Burch 'Chrissy' Dress at Guwahati airport for an early morning flight to the country.

For the arrival in Bhutan, Kate repeated an Emilia Wickstead coatdress she wore first for the 2012 Order of the Thistle service. This time, the Duchess wore the soft yellow-gold version of the garment with a belt, which many readers felt was a welcome addition and added a freshness to the look.

We had discussed the possibility of Kate paying homage to traditional dress during the tour, and she did just that when she met the King and Queen of Bhutan. In many ways, this look was a particularly special one from the tour, and perhaps the one I'll remember most. Kate combined a beautiful embroidered cape by Parisian brand Paul and Joe with a lavender skirt, which was made by her unidentified designer in London using fabric woven by Kelzang Wangmo, a lady from Thimphu. The look paid tribute to Bhutan's national dress for women, the kira. I loved how different elements and designers were used to put the ensemble together.

On the last day of the tour, the Cambridges departed Bhutan and said farewell at Paro Airport. HRH repeated her bespoke broderie anglaise full-skirted suit by Alexander McQueen, first worn in Singapore in 2012. This time, Kate wore the suit without a belt.

The Duke and Duchess concluded their tour with a poignant visit to the Taj Mahal. I had a feeling the Duchess would pull something special out of the bag for this engagement and she certainly didn't disappoint in a beautiful white and blue sheath dress featuring intricate embroidery by Indian-American designer Naeem Khan. A stunning look - and one I imagine will garner quite a few votes.

Vote for Kate's Best Daywear Look free polls

Best Casual Look

For a safari in Kaziranga National Park, the Duchess wore the print ruffled 'Gretna' blouse by Australian brand RM Williams with ZARA Mid-Rise Biker trousers.

What does one wear for a hike to Tiger's Nest? The Duchess chose a waistcoat by Really Wild Clothing teamed with the crisp Jaeger Linen Classic Blouse and skinny jeans.

Vote for Kate's Best Casual Look free polls

Best Earrings

The Duchess opted for a minimalistic approach to jewellery throughout the tour, foregoing bracelets, watches and necklaces (with the exception of the pendant given to her by Queen Jetsun). Kate brought a stunning and varied selection of earrings to add a touch of sparkle to her looks. First up, we have Kate's Cassandra Goad 'Temple of Heaven' earrings, worn several times throughout the tour.

Cassandra Goad

One of Kate's favoured pairs during the tour - the £8 Accessorize Filigree Bead Short Drop Earrings.


A one-off pair of blue lapis and diamond earrings by Indian jeweller Amrapali added the finishing touch to Kate's sparkling look for the Bollywood Gala.

Kate wore a pair of chandelier earrings she's had for years for the Queen's birthday party.

The Duchess debuted a beautiful new pair of Kiki McDonough earrings: "Special Edition Green Tourmaline, Green Amethyst and Diamond Earrings." They were specially made to celebrate the birth of Princess Charlotte last May.

Kiki McDonough

At Kaziranga, Kate brought back another pair of chandelier earrings she's had for at least a decade. The earrings appear to be gold with green stones.

Another new pair for the Duchess - the £39 Gold Charm Earrings by Scottish brand Brora.


Kiki McDonough

Kate's Kiki McDonough Citrine Drops.

Kiki McDonough

The Duchess wore her Kiki McDonough 'Lauren' earrings leaving Bhutan.

Kiki McDonough

During William and Kate's hike to Tiger's Nest, Kate purchased a pair of £6 blue earrings. Much to everyone's surprise she teamed them with her Naeem Khan dress at the Taj Mahal. I thought it a lovely gesture giving a nod to Bhutan on the final engagement of the tour and the earrings worked perfectly with the dress.

Vote for Kate's Best Earrings free polls


Finally, as you may have heard, two engagements have been added to Kate's calendar for next Wednesday, 4 May. The Duchess will visit Hampton Court's recently unveiled Magic Garden, marking the official opening of the Palace's new children's play area. The Duchess will be taken on a tour around the new play area, and shown some of its unique design features. Along the way, Kate will meet those involved in the Magic Garden's design and construction, as well as children and families enjoying the new facilities before unveiling a plaque.

More from the press release:

'The Magic Garden has been six years in the making, and begins an exciting new chapter in the Palace’s 500 year history. The Historic Royal Palaces’ gardens team have grown and tended to hundreds of trees and plants to create the garden’s magical landscape, planting over 17,000 bulbs and 3,000 shrubs in the garden.'

It has been suggested this would be an ideal engagement for Kate to take George and Charlotte to - highly unlikely, but wouldn't it be fun. :)

Afterwards, the Duchess will undertake her first engagement as Patron of the Anna Freud Centre by attending a lunch reception supporting the development of a new centre of excellence for children's mental health. During this engagement the Duchess will meet families who have benefited from the centre, as well as key supporters, and watch a short film about the ambitions of the organisation.

William and Kate have a week of celebrations coming up: the couple celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary on Friday, and Charlotte's first birthday on Monday. I expect we'll likely see a photo or two to mark the special occasion. :)

Sunday, 24 April 2016

William, Kate and Harry Spearhead New Mental Health Campaign 'Heads Together' & Exclusive Claudia Bradby Code

April really has proven to be the month that keeps on giving, and what could be better than a surprise Sunday morning sighting for a wonderful cause? The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry are spearheading a new campaign to tackle the stigma surrounding mental health.

Heads Together was chosen as the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon Charity of the Year and brings together a host of mental health charities - including Kate's patronage Place2Be - to change the conversation, raise awareness and provide people with help.  Other charity partners include Mind, Calm, Best Beginnings, Contact, The Mix and Young Minds.

The charity's website asks us to: "Join Heads Together. Help us build on the great work being done across the country so that prejudice and fear no longer stand in the way of people getting the help they need. Let’s get our Heads Together to eliminate stigma and change the conversation on mental health."

The Heads Together website features a message from the royal trio:

Through our work with young people, emergency response, homeless charities, and with veterans, we have seen time and time again that unresolved mental health problems lie at the heart of some of our greatest social challenges.
Too often, people feel afraid to admit that they are struggling with their mental health. This fear of prejudice and judgement stops people from getting help and can destroy families and end lives. Heads Together wants to help people feel much more comfortable with their everyday mental wellbeing and have the practical tools to support their friends and family.
The Heads Together campaign will build on the great work being done by our partner charities so that prejudice and fear no longer stand in the way of people getting the help they need.
Being the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon Charity of the Year is the perfect springboard for the Heads Together campaign. We cannot wait to see hundreds of runners hitting the streets of London next April to end the stigma and change the conversation on mental health once and for all.

Royal reporter Roya Nikkhah reported news of the year-long campaign a couple of months ago, noting the royals would each focus on a specific area of mental health throughout the year. Kate has been very much focusing on children's mental health in particular for some time now, and that will continue, while William will work with young men focusing on the high number of suicides, and Harry with veteran.

To coincide with today's London Marathon, a video filmed in Kensington Gardens three days ago was released.

Competitors were filmed running through the grounds with William, Kate and Harry joining them and adding a brief message: "Mental health is as important as physical health." Prince Harry added: "We can all play our part by talking and listening to each other and helping each other find support." And William concluded: "Let's get our heads together and change the conversation on mental health." You can watch the video on YouTube (Don't forget to watch it to the end for blooper moments).

In the video, the royals cheer on marathon participants.

Harry captured a photo of his brother.

Harry seemed rather pleased with the results.

Harry raced with some of the schoolchildren.

A Kensington Palace spokesman said: "Through their work with young people, emergency response, homeless charities, and with veterans, their royal highnesses have seen time and time again that unresolved mental health problems lie at the heart of some of our greatest social challenges. They are passionate about tackling the stigma surrounding the issue. Too often, they have seen that people feel afraid to admit that they are struggling with their mental health. This fear of prejudice and judgment stops people from getting help and can destroy families and end lives. They want to help change the national conversation."

Jessica People, who works for The Mix and Young Minds, shared her experiences of the day on her blog.

"We were all told to get into our groups as we will be meeting Prince Harry, Prince William and Kate in the next 10 mins and they will be coming out to get involved in the film – as you can imagine I thought I was in a dream but I also felt like I was on cloud 9; such a surreal experience – I went to shake Harry’s hand and I said Hello Harry, my name is Jessica People and its very nice to meet you and I am here with YoungMinds (my hand was shaking so much), it was weird because felt like id known him for years – spent ages speaking to him (well…..the others did as I was speechless) and I quickly also shook Kates hand near the end of filming and told her how much of an amazing role model she is."

You can find out more about Heads Together and apply for a Heads Together marathon place here. It's a wonderful initiative and I very much looking forward to seeing the royals supporting mental health in the year ahead.

Heads Together

Full details of the campaign will be announced at a launch event on 16 May.

Kate chose a casual look for the day.

Following a huge search of stripe sweaters, Middleton Maven identified Kate's piece as the J Crew Tippi Striped Sweater. The ivory navy piece is merino wool with rib trim at cuffs and hem and button details at the shoulder. It's described as a "soft flattering sweater you'll wear with almost anything".

J Crew

The sweater is available in limited standard sizing and petite sizing. If considering purchasing from J Crew don't forget to use discount code SCORE today.

J Crew

The $80 Tippi Sweater appears to be something of a signature piece for the brand coming in an array of colours and prints.

J Crew

Below we see the Tippi Gingham Merino Wool Sweater.

J Crew

The Duchess accessorised with her Kiki McDonough Lauren earrings.

Kiki McDonough

It looks like Kate wore her new Monsoon Fleur Wedges. They are sold out in taupe but remain available in most sizes in red for £45.


Kate completed the look with skinny jeans.


We also have a special treat for readers from our friends at Claudia Bradby who are offering 20% off all orders with the discount code:


To celebrate Her Majesty's 90th birthday the Claudia Bradby team has released a limited edition Royal Charm Bracelet which tells the story of major royal occasions since William and Kate's wedding. Charms include a royal crown, an acorn, the Diamond Jubilee, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and now a charm for the Queen's 90th.

Claudia Bradby

As many readers know, when the Duchess was working as an accessories buyer for Junior Jigsaw, Claudia's designs caught her eye and she approached the jewellery designer. This led to a collaboration resulting in the design of beautiful pieces, including the Kate Hoop Earrings and Kate Quartz Necklace, which feature silver and rose quartz charms.

Claudia Bradby

Kate wore the ever-popular Camellia Amazonite and Rose Quartz Necklace several times.

Claudia Bradby

Claudia's staple of classic and wearable pearls continues to be among her most popular designs. Claudia's love of the Cornish coastline inspired the Constantine coin pearl and silver hoop necklace, featuring irregular and textured surfaces. We also see the matching earrings and bracelet.

Claudia Bradby

Classic pearl earrings are a staple in every jewellery collection including Kate's. The elegant Alexandra Pearl Earrings with detachable hoops, the the pretty pink Audrey Pearl Studs and the Bella Silver Heart Earrings are very striking pairs suitable for both day and night wear.

Claudia Bradby

One of Claudia's latest collections - the Halo - offers glamorous yet understated pieces featuring rose gold circles and white pearls, a modern take on the classic pearl. Take a look at the Valentina Pearl and Rose Gold Necklace, the Double Halo Rose Gold Necklace with a delicate pearl charm, and the Halo Rose Gold earrings.

Claudia Bradby

You can browse all of Claudia's timeless collections here.
Claudia Bradby

The code HRHSS16 is valid until 16 May.