Politics & Policy

Fashion Kate

Ms. Middleton has a flair for modern looks and royal sophistication.

A billion pairs of eyes are now glued to Prince William’s fiancée Kate Middleton. So what of the bride-to-be’s fashion sense? As the following snaps reveal, the budding royal is embracing modernity and fashion relevance over stuffy convention — much in the style of the groom’s late mother, Princess Diana. Across her wardrobe, from topcoats and suits to evening wear and theme-party attire, Kate is taking to her role in the House of Windsor’s novel with both style and swagger.

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On the day of her engagement announcement, Kate looks exquisite in a silk jersey-wrap dress in a V-neck style. The sapphire-blue color choice is just right, matching the engagement ring that Charles first gave Diana. And Kate’s above-the-knee style is decidedly appropriate for a modern princess — although not all that much changes for the royal men. Inset, note the similar apparel choices of father and son on their engagement-announcement days, from the single-breasted navy suits to the white pocket fabric.

Looking radiant in red, this conservative, single-button cashmere/wool coat paired with a large hat hints at Kate’s ability to accept and thrive in her upcoming royal role. Adding to the modern touch, however, is a pair of perforated leather gloves — a nice surprise.

Bold colors are something a princess has to get used to, but Kate takes to the convention effortlessly. This button-down, red-wool power suit is a perfect fit, and not at all overbearing. Inset, oddly enough, Princess Diana wears practically the same suit in a bright tangerine color.

Lace does not easily equate with young and modern. Yet Kate makes the connection as she exits a party in a sleek, silver-lace, V-neck number. The keys here are the selection of a minimalist design and the absence of jewelry, which would overpower the silhouette. The result is both chic and modern, with just enough specialness to make it youthful.

Sexy, slinky, modern, and fun, Kate steps out for a night on the town. This is a very revealing look for the future princess, although the silver silk and pleats are sophisticated nonetheless. This gown is likely from the same designer that did Kate’s engagement dress, and she is every bit as vibrant in it. Here again, note the minimalism in the jewelry department — nothing but the requisite bracelet on the right arm.

This is the 21st — not the 19th — century. Times have changed, and this sequined mini with silk tie speaks to a new generation that may be skeptical of what the monarchy means to Great Britain. It’s also a look that Kate executes flawlessly, from her high boots to her relaxed hairstyle.

Allow me to explain. Of all the dresses Kate Middleton has worn in public, this one had the most impact: It was unleashed at a fashion show and drew the attention of a young prince sitting in the front row. As the story goes, the prince was so instantly smitten, he decided then and there to ask the model out. Folks, the rest is history.

Seen here in a green-sequined halter top over citrine shirt-shorts, Kate is just getting started. Clearly, this ensemble would not be complete without the green belt, fuchsia bag, hot-pink leg warmers, and jet-black boots! Had this outfit not been destined for a theme party, it would deserve a royal thumbs-down. Yet even in all this garishness, you can’t help but appreciate young Kate’s good sense of humor. Having fun at a disco means having fun in a daring retro look — and Kate flat-out goes for it.

In (what appears to be) boyfriend jeans, cowboy boots, and a blazer, Kate’s idea of going casual is ever so similar to that of the late Princess Diana. And like Diana before her, Kate seems to understand a very important point: The modern-day princess must be one of the people. Yes, the English subjects want their royals to stand out in all their opulence — to embody the fairy-tale life. Yet when stepping onto the polo grounds or strolling the streets of London, down-to-earth fashions say “I’m no different from anyone else.” Kate has this down pat.

– Bradley Scott is a winner of the Fashion Group International Rising Star Award and a New York native. His website is http://www.bradleyscott.com.

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