15 April 2016

Royal Trip Report of the Day: April 15 (Updated Again)

Aaaaaand we're back. The Cambridges moved on to Bhutan on Day 5 of their India/Bhutan tour. The Duchess' first big repeat for the trip came on arrival (she also repeated a dress when boarding the plane, though that wasn't such an event). 

Day 5: Arriving in Bhutan, greeted by Princess Chimi Yangzom Wangchuck, the King's half-sister, and her husband
Reuters screencap, see video here
The color on this repeated Emilia Wickstead coat dress is never totally going to be my jam; it seems like it can't decide whether it wants to be beige or yellow. Color aside, it is SO MUCH improved over its original 2012 outing by the loss of the taupe hat and the gain of the belt. I'm not mad at those gold earrings, either.

There have been some interestingly divided opinions on Kate's wardrobe this trip; some feel it's a big step out of her comfort zone, and some think it's her real style shining through in a way that it doesn't at home. I think her next outfit was the biggest departure, either way:
Day 5: Meeting the King and Queen of Bhutan, followed by archery shenanigans
Photo: His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck Facebook
(!) Really, I mean, exclamation point. The skirt is a nod to the kira type of traditional dress worn by women in Bhutan, made with traditional Bhutanese fabric, and the cape-style top is a retail piece from Paul & Joe. It's the most interesting combo she's put together yet. Maybe even the most interesting combo we've seen from her in the past five years. I guess you have to step it up when you're on the Dragon Queen's turf. (Round of applause for the Bhutanese royal couple, please. Upping the fabric qualities of all around them, an international public service.)
Paul & Joe Wool Embroidered Cape via Net-a-porter, Kiki McDonough earrings
I'm not mad at these new earrings either - no, wait, I am mad, mad that they aren't mine. Lavender amethysts surrounded by diamonds by Kiki McDonough, you're killing me. The cape is killing me too, and I will be mad if that ends up in the tour archives. Wear it with jeans, rock it Empress Michiko-style with a pencil skirt, just wear it. (An Empress Michiko comparison, there's one I never thought I'd make.)
Photos: Jetsun Pema Facebook, Kensington Palace Twitter
It's not really what I would call a sporty outfit, but you can't keep competitive Kate out of the game. Her archery attempt (and the resulting facial expressions) on video:

Rounding out Day 5, the couple dined privately with the King and Queen in the evening.
Make that two big surprises for the day. A tulle gown by Tory Burch, with embroidered florals in light blue, orange, green, and brown, and red beads at the neckline. (It's a little funny to me that a brand I associate with preppy style ends up being a go-to here, but I digress.) This is one of those outfits where I don't care for the dress itself, while simultaneously liking the way she wears it.
Tory Burch gown, via Net-a-porter

Update #1:
Day 6: Trekking to the famous Tiger's Nest in Bhutan
This seems like a whole lot of leather for a hike, but what do I know? You ask me to go on a five hour hike, I'm gonna need five hours to stop laughing in your face. (You can watch a news report on the climb with a few of the couple's comments here.)

Day 6: Attending a reception for people in Bhutan with ties to the UK
Photos: Kensington Palace Twitter, Beulah London
Add another maxi dress to the tour inventory. This dress has poppies on it, and Bhutan's national flower is the blue poppy. It's also from Beulah London, and I've been waiting for something from the label to pop up on this trip. The company has a commitment to helping trafficked or vulnerable women, with India as a focus. This is the standard silhouette we see from the brand, one that is generally flattering on Kate. A solid effort for the last night in Bhutan. I'm ranking this one pretty high on the Will we ever see it again? scale, by the way. Maybe she'll go all in with the poppy theme and use it when remembrance time rolls around.

Update #2:

Day 7: Departing Bhutan
Oh, look! She's playing along with my little tour game. Here's a piece unearthed from a past royal tour, Alexander McQueen white broderie anglaise separates from Singapore in 2012. I am fond of these pieces, and she gets all the bonus points for wearing the necklace given to her by Queen Jetsun Pema. 

Day 7: Visiting the Taj Mahal
Photo: Kensington Palace Twitter
And that's how you end a trip, folks. The photo the media, at least, had been waiting for. But surely we can all agree that the Taj Mahal stop offered one even more important photo: one last stop for #TeamShades. (You have your priorities, I have mine.)
Hey! William was on the trip too, I don't know if you noticed. His closet of identical blue suits got quite a workout. This is not a blue suit, though - it's a blue blazer jacket. (Variety.) They definitely dressed towards the photo op in their coordinating blues, and Kate tried out Indian-American designer Naeem Khan for the first time.
Naeem Khan Resort 2015 dress
I'm a big Naeem Khan fan, and you can't get a more fresh combo than blue and white. She also wore a pair of earrings she bought during their hike in Bhutan yesterday, which sort of ties everything up in a nice neat bow. This is a late entry into the race for my favorite trip outfit. Way to end on a high note, Kate.

And with that....we're done! That's a wrap on the Cambridge Trip to India and Bhutan. Phew. To say it's been an interesting tour would be a massive understatement - both on the sartorial front we inhabit, as well as overall. 

I don't think I've ever seen a tour where the notion of "diplomatic dressing" - by which I generally mean incorporating nods to the culture into a royal tour wardrobe, by way of colors, prints, designer choices, etc. - has been taken to this extent. I think there are some interesting points to be made about whether this has crossed over into costume territory, but I also think it's impossible to say whether or not this was a costumey trip until we see if any of this style will spill over into her regular working wardrobe. More than ever, I'm anxiously awaiting the results of the Will we ever see it again? game.