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Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day! I love this holiday. The pinks and red and whites, the romance and whimsy that just bursts from the woodwork on social media... In what would otherwise be a dreary month between the holiday season and spring, this is such a lovely moment to pause and celebrate love. I am posting pictures of Kate in pink on Instagram, so it might seem strange that I chose a blue ensemble for my Valentine to you all today. But, this picture of William and Kate is so perfect! The laughter  has been a hallmark of their marriage and a trait that speaks much louder than words to the depth of their love and the strength of their bond. 

That being said, a little shoulder never hurt anyone. Bonus points, this is pink and red. ;) 

Whatever you are up to today, whether you have a Valentine sending you flowers or you are treating yourself to a cozy tea and an iced sugar cookie (my favorite!), I hope your day is filled with beauty and peace, and lots of laughter! 

Sending warm wishes!!


Kate Debuts Another GOAT Coat in Essex

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Since her trip to Sweden and Norway wrapped up Friday, the Duchess of Cambridge has a had a few days to let her hair down, relax in privacy, and soak up time with her two little ones. Today, though, she was back in action as she arrived in Wickford, Essex, this afternoon to launch one of Action on Addiction's new treatment centers. 
Her arrival made headlines (literally) when she stepped in a grate and was briefly stuck. Kate, who has been favoring her Tod's block heels a lot of late, was wearing her Stuart Weitzman "Power" pumps, and the thinner heels slipped right into the crevice. And all the boys were like, uuuuuhhhhh...

The even better part of this tale is the man who greeted her is Vice Lord Lieutenant of Essex Jonathon Douglas-Hughes. You know him from Kate and William's visit to Stewards Academy last year, where he fell and got a helping hand from the Duke. 

Apparently, his wife told him not to have a repeat, and here was Kate almost in need of a return favor! :) [Purse alert: that's her Aspinal London clutch created in collaboration with Beulah London.]

Kate has been patron of Action on Addiction for years now. It was one of her earliest charities, and some of her biggest fan-favorite appearances have been at their events. Today, Kate was in Essex both to open the new centre, but also celebrate the charity's new program "Clouds in the Community," which attempts to help people recover without recourse to a center, i.e. by staying at home, with their families and in their communities.
Kate gave some lovely comments, mentioning how long she has been working with Action on Addiction, and saying twice how special the charity is to her. 
Water glass in hand, with her hair tucked behind her ears, Kate socialized with gathered guests, and we got a peek at her beautiful tanzanite earrings from G. Collins & Sons. These are so beautiful, and they work so well with all the blue in her closet. I love that of late, she has been wearing them more and more.

Speaking of all the blue in her closet... Aaahhh! Who thought Kate would debut another GOAT coat?!   I wish I worked at GOAT just for these nine months. Do you think they have an office party each time Kate wears another one of their pieces? Send the intern down the hall announcing, "Kate will be out today, cake in the conference room at noon!" Congrats, GOAT, really. All y'all have a come a long way from that first Goat Coat. I say that with affection.

Kate can continue to debut blue coats for the next fifty years (and absolutely will), and I will be happy as a clam. I love this color on her, and I love the bow at he neckline. This is a super classic GOAT style. I thought the color was a smash hit on Kate, but from a design perspective it was a little too minimalist for my taste.

Overall, it is a win, it just isn't a smash hit. Although I have acclimated to it, this silhouette has never been my preferred one on her, and this particular coat is almost devoid of embellishment, save the bow at the neckline. The color, though, speaks for itself. This cobalt just leaps off the screen, and I am sure it was electric in person, too.  Kate looked magnificent, so let's give a hand to the GOAT team...and I'll just assume they are reading this cake in hand. To Kate, great return performance post tour!

Tina Wing

Kate Hits the Slopes for Final Day in Norway

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

William and Kate closed out their almost week-long trip to Sweden and Norway last Friday (I am back-dating this post) with a day of final engagements. Accompanied by their hosts Crown Prince Haakon and Princess Mette-Marit, the two spent time Oslo and in the mountains outside the city.

First off, the four continued their focus on mental health with a visit to Hartvig Nissen School in Oslo. The school is the location for a hit tv-show that shines light on the pressures and challenges young people face today. The royals met students and fans who had gathered outside the school in anticipation of their visit.

And posed with the cast:

Kensington Palace
Afterward, Wills and Kate lunched at Prince Haakon and Mette-Marit's home, where they met the couple's labradoodles. This is a busier decor than the Swedish royals, or Kate and William's KP apartment, but I like it! It's been fun to see the different interiors on this trip. 

Kate chose a Dolce & Gabbana coat for her final formal look of the trip. It is a beautiful design--fitted, with Kate's favorite double-breasted style, which actually works well here! That's quite a feat on a maternity coat, in my humble opinion. I particularly like the slanted pocket flaps, which work really well with her bump. 

The color of the coat was less of a hit for me. It photographed differently in various light (and I chose my preferred shade above), but it reminded me of Kate's rusty red Hobbs, which she loves and has pulled off successfully on more than one occasion (five times?!). I don't dislike the color, but if I had my druthers, it would either go brown or purple, rather than straddling the fence. 

Underneath, Kate was wearing this dress from Norwegian TiMo. Apparently, this is a favorite label of Mette-Marit, and if you recall, on Wednesday, Kate wore a coat by a label championed by the Swedish royal ladies. I love that Kate not only highlighted a national designer from each country, but that she chose designers that her hostesses prefer. A real solidarity move, if you ask me.

Also, note that Kate never publicly took her coat off, so she clearly was counting on all the "Kate ladies" to ID her dress and spread the word that she had given this nod to TiMo. People think the royals don't pay attention to the outside chatter...but they do. :) 

In the afternoon, the four royals headed to one of Kate's favorite sport locales other than a tennis court--the ski slopes! 

The Cambridges got to visit the Holmenkollen where they saw the massive ski jump and the breathtaking mountains around Oslo.


This area has been hosting winter competition since 1882, and boasts a ski museum, too, where the royals viewed all manner of ski paraphernalia, and learned more about the sport in which they love to indulge! 

Kate mentioned how George had given skiing a go on their holiday, despite the fact he was only 2 1/2 at the time. My favorite part of this final stop was the ski-jumping presentation the royals watched. Talk about a breathtaking feat! 
Sabina M messaged me on Instagram to ID this coat as Kjus, a Norwegian sport label. Kate's coat features white and (label-described) spicy orange. Spicy orange...Sounds a little like a sushi wrap, and kind of looks like one, too. 

I don't love orange in general, as I think you all know, and the stripes looked a little dated to me. So, it wasn't my favorite ski-ensemble from the Duchess. But, it was certainly fun to see her out and about in an environment she hasn't spent much time in since her marriage, but certainly an environment in which we were used to seeing her...once upon a time. As we roll into February and approach Valentine's Day, I am willing to take any opportunity to recall where this fairytale got its start. ;) 

Thanks for the messages on IG and email. I didn't mean to raise alarms with my silence. I am well, but I did hit some rocky road on this end that really took it out of me these past few days. It turns out you really do need a minimum number of hours of sleep a week to function properly...who knew!! I'm getting more sleep, and will be back on track. I apologize for the delay in this post!! xoxo, JCB

The Royals Arrive in Oslo for Day 1 of Royal Visit Norway

Thursday, February 1, 2018

William and Kate left Sweden early this morning and flew to a veritable winter wonderland. The royal couple's jet touched down on a snowy tarmac this a.m. where Prince Haakon and his wife Princess Mette-Marit waited to greet their British guests on the first day of Royal Visit Norway. 

I have no idea how this plane landed on all that snow, but it shows northerners are hardier folk than Americans... Kate emerged from the plane wearing another Catherine Walker coat! Talk about a fashion streak. Someone on Twitter pointed out that this label uniformity is not entirely unlike Pippa's honeymoon of all Kate Spade. Anyone remember that? Pips took something of a 'round the world tour for her honeymoon and she wore Kate Spade after Kate Spade ensemble. It was great--no complaints--but you do notice that sort of thing.  

This coat is in that military blue we love so much and looks so good on Kate. I particularly like the high, notched collar. I will say I found it just a hint on the shapeless side, but she has worn a number of more fitted coats, so it provided variety.

The couple were taken to the palace in Oslo where they were scheduled for lunch with the King and Queen and other members of the Norwegian royal family. My heart went pitter-patter when this picture came across the wire. Underneath the Catherine Walker coat, Kate was wearing a new Séraphine maternity dress that has me swooning. Today was such a fashion fiesta.

The dress has all the little embellishments I love, from the ruffled collar and cuffs, to the lace bodice, Empire waist, and swinging skirt. 

This is the label's Marlene dress and is currently listed as out-of-stock, but my understanding is it either hasn't been released or will be re-released. Your blogger has not been as checked-in today as she should have been... In any event, past, present, or future, this dress did or will retail at about $250. I think it is picture perfect. 

After lunch, the royals toured a nearby sculpture park named after Princess Ingrid Alexandra, the second-in-line to the throne. Who thinks George will be opening sculpture parks at 14? It's interesting to see how differently the European royals conduct their business. 

Just as she did in Sweden, Kate swapped her Tod's heels for cozy boots and fur accessories for a walkabout. Today she was in a brown fur stole and Cornelia James fur-trimmed gloves. She also let her hair down from its earlier chignon, to frame her face. This is such a brilliant tour strategy and she looked marvelous. 

I applaud William for his pop of color, but that scarf looks oddly tied. It kind of looks like it's staging an uprising up there or something. 

Below might be the best video of Kate in a crowd that I have ever seen. First of all, the resolution is quite clear, but more substantively, she is so warm and charming. She is well-spoken and has thoughtful comments to make, and she really gave this fan some real time. Obviously Kate can't do that with everyone, and William comes along right at the end and hurries her up, reminding her she needs to keep moving, but it was sweet on all counts.

The royals then made their way to MESH, a working-hub for entrepreneurs and start-ups. They got to try out the fun gadgets, including this reMARKable tablet that Prince William seemed quite taken with. 

Who doesn't love the occasional virtual doodle?

Among other things, Prince William also got to take a virtual bike-ride through St, Andrews, the town where he met and fell in love with Kate (good start to the Valentine's Day month, eh? ;)):

The final event of the night was a formal dinner in honor of the Cambridges' visit, and if your heart has cried these past few nights as Erdem crucified more than a few fashionistas sensibilities, tonight the Princess was back. This pale pink gown is by the reigning royal of Kate's closet, Alexander McQueen.

This dress is just what we all needed to soothe our sartorial souls. It features a fitted bodice and flowing skirt with a diaphanous cape covering the shoulders and blending in with the back of the dress. The cape element might not have been my first choice, but it adds a pep to the dress. It is something we haven't seen on Kate before, and tours are a good place to step out of usual groove, so I liked this a lot.

Perhaps the best element of gown, the embellishment that pulled it all together, was the crystal and pearl beading that added sparkle (without going overboard) and gave structure, if you will, to the bodice. I thought this was a very well thought-out and well-designed maternity gown. Well done Sarah Burton. Erdem, pour yourself a stiff drink and don't get too down in the dumps...time heals all wounds.

The Duchess accessorized with a Jimmy Choo clutch and diamond earrings (loaned from the Queen) we've seen a number of times. She paired them with another familiar loaner, a bracelet from the Queen, and wore her Cabrina scallop pumps by Oscar de la Renta. This whole ensemble was a big hit in my book. It does not surpass the Jenny P at the Met, but it's pretty close.

Finally, as is relatively customary, William and Kate gifted a portrait to their hosts in Oslo. This is a picture we haven't seen before, but it is clearly from the same set from which the Christmas picture was chosen.

Simon Perry
This is an unusually intimate pose for a formal picture from William and Kate and I absolutely love it. Obviously. ;)

Until tomorrow!