Does anyone else think Kate Middleton's Fash Tour is getting better the more events she conquers? We're saying a huge yes! Because as the Duchess hit California this weekend, her outfits became more relaxed, more cute, and less hat-ty. So as her journey across the pond comes to an end >sob< let’s examine the other delights she’s had tucked in that royal suitcase…
We begin by rewinding to where we left off last Friday. Remember we’d tittered at Calamity Kate in her cowboy gear and cooed over her pweeety Jenny Packham frock, but as the newly weds waved goodbye to Canada, Middy chose a sophisticated Catherine Walker number. Not only is this another-awesome-coatdress by Princess Diana's favourite designer (a subtle tribute, perhaps?), the crimson colour is a final salutation to her host country, as is that glittering Maple Leaf, which she wore earlier in the tour and was loaned to her by the Queen. A perfect closing number for Canada, wouldn't you say?
And hello USA! After a quick change mid-flight, the couple touched down at LAX Airport while still waving the British flag - yes, this graceful dove grey number is from Roksanda Ilincic’s S/S ’11 catwalk. Of course, Michelle Obama is already a huge fan of the London-based designer and has often worn her creations when on our side of the pond so this is a wise, but unsurprising, choice for our gal.
Oh, how we’re loving the pleats, the draped neckline, the clinched waist, the America-themed bouquet... In fact, it may well be one of our (whisper it) fave looks thus far.
Next up, it’s time for a splash of colour - hurrah! Kate and Wills’ first L.A stop was the British Consulate General and Kate, ever the fashion diplomat, masterfully chose to sandwich Diane von Furstenberg between two hefty slices of Britannia thanks to this green silk dress by the darling of the New York fashion scene. As well as the sumptuous colour, K-Midd added an unexpectedly quirky twist with a DVF leopard print snakeskin clutch. Bravo to that!
Saturday was spent in Santa Barbara for a Foundation Polo Challenge, or something. The Duchess cheered on her hubby while wearing a dusky chinoiserie silk dress from Jenny Packham's S/S '11 collection, accessorised with her favourite L.K Bennett Natalie clutch and nude L.K. Bennett sandals (peep toes, no less). In fact, Kate's frock isn't unlike the one worn by the somewhat more mature lady beside her - GASP! - did she not get the never-clash-with-K-Midd memo?!
Despite the unsightly matchy-matchy-ness, we're intrigued to see Packham is fast becoming a Middleton failsafe – lest we forget the aforementioned yellow beauty as well as the glitzy gown Kate wore for the ARK Gala. And isn't it refreshing to see her in a floral print, understated though it is? Plus, she's NOT. WEARING. TIGHTS!
After dark, Kate returned to the wonders of Alexander McQueen for the BAFTA Brits to Watch party where she was greeted by the likes of J-Lo and Nicole Kidman. As we've already noted, Middy stunned Hollywood thanks to this lilac gown which she wore with chandelier-esque diamond earrings loaned to her by the Queen, Jimmy Choo heels and a matching clutch. Classic, just classic.
She may have been schmoozing with the Hollywood elite the night before but you'd never have guessed when Kate appeared all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed yesterday morning for a reception to mark the Launch of Tusk Trust's US Patron's Circle in Santa Barbara. Back to her beloved combo of navy + white, she was spotted chatting with another Hollywood heavyweight, Reese Witherspoon.
Kate also returned to her favourite high-street store - her pleated skirt in ivory and crocheted top are both from Whistles. In fact, according to the genius WhatKateWore.com, the top is from the brand’s pre-fall 2007 collection. The look was polished off by an elegant half-up hair do, navy pumps, an eggshell clutch and a cross pendant. How perfectly charming!
For their final farewell, Kate stuck to the same outfit and – quelle horreur! – hopped on a commercial British Airways flight to jet back to the UK (first class, mind). Ah, we can’t wait to have them home.
So after a whirlwind nine-day trip, it’s time to reflect on the Fash Tour that was. Kate’s proved herself to be sartorially savvy, classically elegant and polished to perfection, sporting an appropriate mix of red, white and blue, a careful balance between US and UK labels as well as nailing both casual and evening wear. So what's your verdict? Grazia Daily reckons she deserves a big pat on her McQueen-clad back, and a relaxing cuppa in front of the telly.
- Jessica Vince