In the 10 years following Will and Kate’s royal wedding, the Duchess of Cambridge has had many amazing style moments – but there’s more to the story. Her clothes are one of her most powerful tools when she comes to perform her royal duties.
November 16, 2010 is a day that will happen in history. After seven years of dating, Prince William and Kate Middleton announced that they were engaged. After all! And for the fashion world, it was the day the “Kate Effect” was born. Within minutes of appearing in the photocall, Catherine’s Blue Issa London wrap dress sold out in the UK – and it went on to sell in 43 countries including the United States. Such has been the case for many Kate Middleton organizations.
Kate gave her first press interview that day, sat down for a traditional engagement interview with ITV’s Tom Bradby, and she didn’t give another for nine years. But like Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Diana, and countless people in politics (hey, Michelle Obama), Kate’s clothes tell us her story. Set up their engagement dress, which the Duchess of Cambridge would have as a royal: perfectly fitting, full of symbolic gestures – the sapphire blue color of the Issa dress was a subtle gesture to Princess Diana’s own engagement dress – and always Flying the fashion flag for Britain. Bethan Holt, author of Bethan Holt, says, “I think he is fully aware of his power, which is why we see his yields.” The Duchess of Cambridge: A Decade of Modern Royal Style, Tells Fashion.
There is a message behind every blouse, necklace, handbag and shoes Kate wears. And as the Duchess approaches a decade of marriage (and royal duty) on April 29, her power is becoming clearer than ever. Here, we dive a little deeper into those fashion choices and the story they tell.
Soft on his best diplomacy
“Kate is a future queen and wife and mother to two future kings so she chooses outfits that join her,” Holt. “They are elegant, regal and prefixed by how seriously they take their roles by supporting British designers and symbolizing the soft power of the royal family.” Shortly after their engagement, Kate hired her first day at a royal engagement in North Wales. She had to somehow show the world that this commoner is set to become a queen concert one day. A fascist was clearly the solution. Designed by British designer Vivian Sheriff, the fascinator had military badges including the Royal Bang Fusiliers, of which Prince Charles is Colonel-in-Chief. It was a subtle gesture for the family and she was playing her part in supporting the armed forces.
But Catherine’s most symbolic fashion moment was undoubtedly her Alexander McQueen wedding dress. The royal family’s job is to “strengthen national unity” and Kate weaves that duty in her gown’s choli and skirt. The beautifully interconnected roses, thistles and shamrock in lace represented England, Scotland and Ireland respectively, as well as daffodils for Wales. This may be the most surprising example of soft diplomacy.
High street low
When the Duchess of Cambridge left Buckingham Palace after her wedding, she walked into the palace’s lawn in a $ 90 dress. “She knows that people like to see her as ‘normal’,” Holt says. The Duchess joined the royal family at a unique time, Holt explains. Queen and Diana did not have to contend with the Internet, and fans are being able to identify what they are wearing in minutes (and where to buy it). Fashion celebs quickly found Kate’s $ 65 Topps Maternity Dress, $ 30 Gap Pants and $ 8 Zen Earrings (among many other items). “There was also a growing expectation for the royal family that Kate would be ‘more relatable’ when she came to this scene. She understood what to wear. [the] The high road is his ‘thing.’ ‘
A new work uniform
In 2018, we saw the new Duchess of Cambridge. Fresh off her third maternity leave, she posed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in a tweed dress with an aided neckline, zipy hemline, bold earrings and velvet shoes. Holt says that Catherine’s look definitely has an “I’m back and better than ever” that we’ve never seen since her previous Matt leaves. “It felt like a sign that she was ready and willing to step into her future and use fashion very cleverly to do so and to assume more royal responsibilities.”
In the following months we saw tiny peaks in Kate’s wardrobe – there were still coat dresses, clutches and her cute nude pumps, but she added wide-legged trousers, handbags and block heels. It was a spin on the uniform she often wore in a royal engagement for her early years of work, showing how seriously she took her duties (and how seriously she wanted to be taken). Holt explains, “The Duchess suffices to understand that glamor is a big part of her appeal and that she can harness it to make more impact in the work.” Say, the glamor of a Duchess arriving at a ceremony in a Gucci blouse, deliberately worn backwards. The media went wild and his picture (and that of his working children) was on the front page everywhere. “She was reluctant to embrace it too much in the early years of her marriage, but now she has learned to use it for good,” Holly says.
Flag for Britain (and local shopping)
From her first day as Royal-to-Be, Kate has supported British fashion (remember Issa dress?). And she did a great job of it, raising the British fashion economy by $ 1 billion a year. But like the rest of us, it has changed the shopping habits of the past year. “She has joined the growing movement towards small and local shopping, which has been locked into locks,” says Holt. In September 2020, Kate wears a new necklace with each of her child’s initials. The piece was created by Irish brand All Falling Stars, who had worldwide orders for the necklace Kate. The designer had to get help from shipping orders to help his family and friends! Later in 2020, the Duchess introduced a new leather bag by Grace Han and the Kate Effect struck again. Sales doubled for the London-based designer. “It’s a combination of his growing confidence and his consciousness that he can truly elevate his wear brands,” says Holt.
Our future princess of wales
The next decade becomes a new duty for Catherine – to become Princess of Wales when her husband becomes King of England. Does this mean a new style? “I don’t think there will be radical changes but we can see the Duchess adopting more and more equally like the Queen,” Holt. And indeed, who better to emulate in fashion and duty than His Majesty?