14 September 2012

Royal Trip Report: The Cambridges in Asia, Part 2

Picking up where we left off, in Singapore in the middle of day 2 of the trip...

Day 2:  Visiting Queenstown and the Rainbow Center (at 1:26), followed by an evening reception at the British High Commissioner's residence
Something new: separates from Singapore label Raoul, and something new from something old: another bespoke piece from Erdem.
The top and skirt, plus the print and Those Shoes; Kate's version of Erdem at the reception and one of the dresses that trotted down the Erdem runway using this print
Gotta tell you, neither of these conjures up much of a reaction either way for me. They are things that she wore and they are fine. Moving on.

Day 3: Visiting Kranji War Memorial, followed by travel to Malaysia and a visit to Hospis Malaysia where Kate made a speech
This dress, another bespoke Jenny Packham, is officially "duck egg blue" - but was described as green at first by some present on Twitter. It's a non-color color, so subdued it can't make up its mind if it really wants to be blue or not. The whole outfit is understated to be sure, but then again it was a day of solemn locations. 
A look at the parasol, plus the bodice detail and earrings
I wondered if the war memorial visit might yield us a hat, but instead she took a cue out of Camilla's book and carried a parasol to beat the heat, a far more adorable way to go. No parasol for Wills though. I guess equal sartorial rights for men still have a way to go. (Sarcasm alert.)

Day 3: Attending an official dinner given by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Raja Permaisuri Agong (the King and Queen of Malaysia) 
Speaking of gentlemen's sartorial prerogatives, WHAT is the deal with the business suit dress code? The ladies look like they're attending a different event entirely. I find this to be Bothersome. Capital B. And that's about as far from white tie (read: tiaras) as you can get, which I know had some of you distraught. (The Windsors just don't do tiaras like they used to. Look at all the trips Charles and Camilla have taken on their own, not a tiara in sight. Wasn't going to happen, I'm sorry to say.)
A look at the embellishment and accessories
Custom Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen again, this time featuring hibiscus gold embroidery - hibiscus being Malaysia's flower. Some of you likened the first outfit of this trip to something worn by the Queen in her early years, but this one really gets my comparisons rolling. This screams the embellishment of QEII's gowns in her earlier years, in pieces by Norman Hartnell and Hardy Amies - sparkly and symbolic. Many of those dresses, with their exquisitely rendered national flowers and so on, are now museum pieces which can be spotted on exhibit from time to time. I see a similar future here.

Some of you have been criticizing her neckline levels, and I'm sure you'll do the same on this dress. But that criticism is not at all unique to this trip. How much is too much in this regard is a question of personal taste; obviously, Kate's not bothered by a deep neckline (just look at her wedding gown). Personally, I think she's doing a great job of staying herself while still incorporating local customs and other nods to the local culture (like the design above, or the use of local designers).

Day 4: Visiting a mosque, followed by a walkabout and a luncheon with the British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce
A custom dress from Beulah (which has now been put out for mass purchase), and an absolutely gorgeous updo (Team Updo!). Beulah's designs are distinctive to say the least - the flowing skirts and sleeves - and they aren't my favorite in general, but this is a perfect example of the point I was just trying to make: it's appropriate above all.

And that's where we'll leave off for this installment of W&K's Great Adventure. Until next time...

Photos: Matches/Bauer Griffin/Getty Images/Style.com