HRH, Catherine in India

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made their first official trip of the year – their first trip together since 2014 according to the tabs – and they spent 5 whole days  here in India and in Bhutan. All eyes, mine included, were on the Duchess of course. What was she going to wear? Would she try a saree? Would she really switch things up and leave the style rut that she seems to have settled into comfortably back in England? So many questions, so much anticipation, and I guess, so much pressure. After all, shaking up a style rut in the country that is pretty well known for its ‘high morals’ (yes, I’m being a bit sarcy about the morals) was never going to be easy. And then, there are also the inevitable and perhaps unfair comparisons to her sainted mother in law. So how did she fare?

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The Duchess kicked things off in a red Alexander McQueen dress and nude heels, looking appropriately somber as she and Wills paid their respects at the Mumbai Taj. Love the colour, but not much else. This one though, I will give a pass cause I saw a picture of Adriana Lima in the same outfit and even she didn’t really sell it to me. For the fun and games part of the day, she wore a ‘Gilrukh’ dress by a designer we’re all familiar with in this part of the world, Anita Dongre. Teamed with mint wedges, she looked ready to deal with the heat. I liked. Later in the evening, Catherine wore a very Bollywoody Jenny Packham gown which she glammed up with Amrapali earrings to meet all the big wigs of Bollywood. Again, loved the colour, but not much else.

Catherine turned to another much favoured designer in her coterie for her visit to the India Gate war memorial. Her ivory Emilia Wickstead was certainly demure and event appropriate. It also gave us her Marilyn moment of the tour, which of course was splashed across every newspaper front page on the globe. My second favourite look of the tour, however, came at the 90th birthday bash that my fellow countrymen threw for the queen –  the Duchess partied in a beautiful Temperly London nude gown with black embroidery.

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The Glamourous (that’s the brand name – and you can find some of their stuff on Koovs.com) boho maxi dress was Catherine’s nod to British high street clothing.
She then met Prime Minister Modi in a pretty turquoise lace dress from Temperly, and ended the day in an Anna Sui chiffon floral maxi to attend the Bihu festival. Phew!

The Duchess chose comfort with style for her safari around the Kaziranga National Park, in Zara skinnies and a spotted top. It followed by a Topshop dress (another high street nod) and wedges. This one was a headscratcher – wouldn’t pants have been better for the feeding of animals?

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She kicked off the Bhutan leg of her trip in a happy yellow Emilia Wickstead coat dress, a repeat outfit that she’s worn to Edinburgh. Ugh! Then redeemed herself (in my eyes) in a Paul & Joe cape and Kira skirt, which I adored. This was my third favourite look of the tour. For dinner with the King and Queen of Bhutan, she wore a vibrant Tory Burch gown, which she matched with an orange shawl.

The Duchess was ready for action in a leather waistcoat from Really Wild, which she teamed with skinny pants and knee high boots (that she’d had for a decade) for her trek up a mountain to a monastery. Then it was glam again, in a Beulah dress which featured Bhutan’s national flower for the evening reception, her final outing in Bhutan.

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Catherine returned to India in  a cream Alexander McQueen dress that she has worn once before. However, it was her final look of the tour that had me in raptures: she pulled out all the stops for her visit to the tag in a beautiful Naeem Khan white dress with blue embroidery. My favourite of the trip, hands down.

So here’s my overall rating of the Duchess’s style choices on this worldwind tour: for effort, she gets an A+; for delighting me with the Naeem Khan, a standing ovation; for the restraint on the coat dresses (only one appearance!) – yay!; another yay! cause there was quite a bit of colour on this tour. I was kinda hoping that she would try a salwar suit or a sari, which she didn’t – so that was a mild disappointment. Overall, I’d say better than some of the other trips, but not quite the fashion shake up I was hoping for!

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