Our unofficial London fashion correspondent, April Harris has news...Catherine Middleton'??s recent appearances at official engagements have proved that she is establishing herself as a woman of substance when it comes to fashion. British fashionistas are loving Catherine'??s ethos '?? wearing clothes from her existing wardrobe and combining them with couture and ready to wear with flair. This is someone we can emulate'?¦and we don'??t have to be millionaires to do so. She is no slave to fashion, nor does it seem she is intentionally setting trends, rather she is showing us how to go back to our wardrobes, work with what we have, and develop our own style. And by example, she is encouraging us to choose classic pieces for our future purchases instead of simply blindly following the latest trends. She brings her own spin to every outfit and has a style that is truly and uniquely her own.
When she visited Anglesey with Prince William back in February, Catherine once again wore a classic from her closet, just as she did for the official engagement photographs and on the day the engagement was announced. This time it was a beautiful Shetland Herringbone coat with brown velvet trim by London based designer Katherine Hooker. Five years old, this was a coat she first wore back in 2006 at the Cheltenham Gold Cup. In the '??make do and mend'?? spirit that is becoming so popular here in Britain, the coat was shortened to just below the knee from its original longer length, bringing it right up to date and endearing her to both frugalistas and the '??green'?? crowd alike. Among the accessories Catherine chose to go with this classic were black Russell & Bromley ankle boots and a clutch bag by L K Bennett, both high street brands. She looked stunning, and proved once again that the days of wearing an outfit only once are well and truly gone.
Catherine also chose a suit from her existing wardrobe to wear on a visit to St Andrews University (feature photo). Even the fashion editors can'??t seem to decide who the designer or brand was. One thing is certain though, she looked stunning in it, and her use of a black velvet belt and beautiful black boots to update the classic jacket and pencil skirt combo was a wise decision indeed.
Burberry was the design house Catherine chose for a new purchase to wear while on an official engagement in Belfast. Catherine wore a classic double-breasted beige wool Burberry coat with a frill at the hem, opaque tights and high heeled shoes. Once again, within hours of her appearance in it, the coat, which retails at about £650, sold out completely. A classic neutral colored trench is always a good investment purchase, but never more so than this year, thanks to this very famous bride to be.
And what about the dress? While Victoria Beckham is almost certainly an advisor to Miss Middleton, and the Telegraph newspaper are reporting she is designing for the honeymoon, it seems that it may be the house of the late Alexander McQueen that will be designing the dress of the year. Widely reported in the British media, this rumour is the strongest to date. Now under McQueen'??s Creative Director Sarah Burton, the rumour started with her show in Paris, featuring wedding dresses and teasingly entitled '??Ice Queen'??. Edgy and modern, Burton'??s beaded and feathered designs featured high necklines and many were sleeveless. Most were just gorgeous, and it is true that a number of society brides at weddings Catherine has attended have worn McQueen. If the rumour is on target and many fashion editors are wishing it so, it will be quite amazing to see how Burton manages the constraints of designing for a royal bride while still keeping the wonderful McQueen style. The dress is almost certain to have a high, or at the very least, demur, neckline and is likely to have sleeves. This is not only for reasons of modesty in Westminster Abbey, but also because (and I say this from experience) the Abbey is never warm, not even at the height of summer. No bride wants to be seen shivering, so even if the dress itself were to be sleeveless there will almost definitely be some sort of bolero to be worn with it.
Whatever the designer she chooses for her special day, and whatever the dress she wears, I love that Catherine Middleton is not following trends, but rather carving out her own style. She is a fantastic example, encouraging frugality and investment purchases rather than being caught up in the expense of here today and gone tomorrow trends.
Meanwhile, in the run up to the wedding, the lace dress she wore in a university fashion show recently sold to a collector for an eye watering £78,000 (circa US$150,000). Considering it cost less than sixty dollars to make, the designer is justifiably pleased, and has used the money for a deposit on a house. If we really needed another sign of just how influential Catherine will be in the fashion world from here on in, this would have been it. However as it is, it is absolutely no surprise at all. I can'??t think of anyone else who has the fashion world as captivated as she does at the moment, and I'??m sure it will remain that way for some time to come.