Bright colours and florals fade to muted shades and boring shapes as Duchess of Cambridge tours Australia

Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key during the unveiling of a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by New Zealand artist Nick Cuthell during a state reception at Government House in Wellington on April 10, 2014. --
Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key during the unveiling of a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by New Zealand artist Nick Cuthell during a state reception at Government House in Wellington on April 10, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Britain's Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, and her husband Prince William watch a static WWI display at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre near Blenheim -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Britain's Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, and her husband Prince William watch a static WWI display at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre near Blenheim -- PHOTO: REUTERS
The Duchess of Cambridge holds her son Prince George as she talks to other parents at a Plunket play group event at Government House in Wellington. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
The Duchess of Cambridge holds her son Prince George as she talks to other parents at a Plunket play group event at Government House in Wellington. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Britain's Prince William, his wife Catherine and their son Prince George disembark from their plane in Wellington. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Britain's Prince William, his wife Catherine and their son Prince George disembark from their plane in Wellington. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

1. April 7, 2014 - disembarking in Wellington, New Zealand

Britain's Prince William, his wife Catherine and their son Prince George disembark from their plane in Wellington. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

Talk about de-planing in style. The Duchess of Cambridge picks a double-breasted coat dress by royal favourite Catherine Walker for the start of the royal tour of New Zealand and Australia. The fit and flare silhouette makes her waist look tiny but it is the accessories that really stand out. The pillbox hat by British milliner Gina Foster is pure Jackie O, bringing to mind the style favoured by the American First Lady in the 1960s, and the fern brooch borrowed from the Queen adds a fun symbolic touch as it was a gift by the women of Auckland during her Commonwealth tour in 1953 to 1954.

2. April 9, 2014 - at an event for non-profit Plunket in Wellington, New Zealand

Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, holds her son Prince George as she talks to other parents at a Plunket play group event at Government House in Wellington. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

The Duchess chooses a black-and-white printed dress from American label Tory Burch for the kid-filled event. The short-sleeved, knee-length dress with sleeve and hem detail is a fairly safe choice for the royal in terms of shape, but the box pleats on the skirt allow her ease of movement. At least it does not distract from the charity and Prince George's adorable sailboat jumpsuit.

3. April 10, 2014 - at the Omaka Aviation Museum and Blenheim War Memorial in Blenheim, New Zealand

Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and her husband Prince William watch a static WWI display at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre near Blenheim -- PHOTO: REUTERS

Another day, another brightly coloured coat. On Day 4 of the royal tour, the Duchess wears a powder blue number from Alexander McQueen, one of her favourite brands and the designer of the gown she got married in. While the colour was lovely and eye-catching, the large pockets on the bottom half added some unnecessary bulk.

4. April 10, 2014 - at a state reception at Government House in Wellington, New Zealand

Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key during the unveiling of a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by New Zealand artist Nick Cuthell (not pictured) during a state reception at Government House in Wellington on April 10, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

The Duchess turns to another favourite label, British brand Jenny Packham, for a bespoke cocktail dress. The long-sleeved black number would look rather boring if not for the embroidered fern with silver beading on her left shoulder. It is a tribute to New Zealand's national emblem and a clever display of sartorial diplomacy. It would have been more flattering with a slightly shorter hemline.

5. April 11, 2014 - at Whenuapai Air Force Base and the Harbour in Auckland, New Zealand

Britain's Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, arrive at Auckland's Viaduct Harbour to go sailing with Team New Zealand as part of their royal tour of New Zealand on April 11, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

This is the first more casual outfit the Duchess has worn during this royal tour, and it is full of the classic pieces she usually favours. She is wearing a British label ME+EM breton striped top and skinny jeans from high street brand Zara, paired with a Zara blazer at certain points during the day, which make for an effortless look in which to go sailing.

6. April 12, 2014 - at children’s hospice Rainbow Place in Hamilton, New Zealand and Cambridge, New Zealand

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, walks with former Olympian Sarah Ulmer (left) at the opening of the Avantidrome cycling facility in Cambridge on April 12, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

This green coat from London-based label Erdem is extremely similar to the blue Alexander McQueen coat she wore earlier, with its bold collar and slim shape. According to the Mirror, the Duchess was overheard telling a fan that the Duke thought it might have be too bright. We say she totally pulls off the jolly colour.

7. April 13, 2014 - at the Cathedral of St. Paul in Dunedin, New Zealand

Britain's Prince William with Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, walk from the plane after arriving in Dunedin airport in Dunedin on April 13, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

For attending Palm Sunday services, the Duchess picks a teal blue pleated dress from New Zealand-born designer Emilia Wickstead. She has worn the exact same dress in previous years in a pale pink colour, but this shade packs more punch. The matching bespoke hat by British milliner Jane Taylor marks the debut of the second fascinator of the trip and the fern brooch makes another appearance too.

8. April 13, 2014 - at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, New Zealand

Britain's Prince William and his wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, arrive for a visit to Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on April 13, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

The quick change artist wears a cream, ribbed sweater from British label Jonathan Saunders and jeans for a visit to the home stadium of New Zealand’s famous rugby team the All Blacks. It is a bit snoozy fashionwise, but perhaps the multiple outfits needed that day gave her fashion fatigue.

9. April 13, 2014 - at Amisfield Winery in Queenstown, New Zealand

Britain's Prince William and his wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, take part in a visit to the Amsfield Winery in Queenstown on April 13, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

The Duchess trades her sweater for a checked shirt from Gap and puts on her Zara blazer again for a visit to a winery. Although couple dressing can be cheesy, the Duke and Duchess’ matching shirt and blazer look is a sophisticated take.

10. April 13, 2014 - at Shotover River in Queenstown, New Zealand

Britain's Prince William and his wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, return to dry land after taking a boat trip on the "Shotover Jet" in the New Zealand city of Queenstown on April 13, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

This is not really a fashion moment, because after all, a windbreaker, lifejacket and shades are all practical things to don when going on a whitewater trip. But there is a subtle stylish touch. The life jackets on the royals feature personalised embroidery that read ‘The Duke of Cambridge’ and ‘The Duchess of Cambridge’.

11. April 14, 2014 - outside Christchurch City Council Building in Christchurch, New Zealand

Britain's Prince William and his wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, visit the CTV memorial site to remember those lost in the 2011 earthquake, in Christchurch on April 14, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

Another clever bit of fashion diplomacy is at work when the Duchess dons a skirt suit set from Italian label Luisa Spagnoli for their visit to Christchurch. The city suffered an earthquake in 2011, and she has worn it previously to honour Christchurch’s local colours of red and black. Aesthetically speaking, the black piping on the waist is hugely flattering, and the black buttons add a bit of a fun mod touch to the ensemble.

Register here to get free digital access to The Straits Times until Aug 9, 2015.
Comments