Pay attention, all you fashion naysayers! I have an urgent request – Can you please stop ripping Kate Middleton apart at the seams?
Her clothes are too ‘safe’; you claim, which is just another way of saying boring. Or, as a Sunday Times columnist claimed last weekend, her style is ‘dangerously close to Boden-land.’
Vivienne Westwood, with whom I did her first national newspaper interview when she was Queen of the King’s Road, was even worse. “I would love to have dressed Kate Middleton,’ she sniped, “But I have to wait until she kind of catches up a bit somewhere with style.”
Even a report that Kate has chosen Sarah Burton, creative director of avant garde fashion house Alexander McQueen, to design her wedding dress, hasn’t stopped the comments.
Apparently the fashion industry is extremely disappointed in our Kate. Editors at Paris Fashion Week are said to be holding their heads in their hands at the thought of Kate as an ambassador for British fashion.
Simply because, she studiously ignores the cool and edgy (some would say freaky) clothes that appear on the catwalks and sticks to classic styles.
They argue that image is everything and Kate is letting the side down. How little they know her.
Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, 29, is one very clever cookie. She must surely be aware that Princess Diana was for many years regarded as a mere clotheshorse. The wonderful work she did was often overlooked because the media reported only what she was wearing, not what she was doing. Often Diana didn’t wear her clothes, they wore her! It took years before she was taken seriously, managed to change her shallow image and win support for AIDs sufferers and the victims of landmines.
Kate also knows that to swan around like a fashion victim in expensive designer creations would not go down well at a time when everyone else is tightening their M&S belts. So she recycles outfits, switching jackets, shortening coats and constantly wearing her favourite black suede boots, while still managing to look simply stunning.
Many years ago when I was just starting out on my royal reporting career, a wise old mentor told me one reason the Queen was such a crowd-pleaser was her wardrobe.
My friend said, “All her clothes are couture, made from the finest fabrics, but they look like she could have bought them on the High Street. They don’t look extravagant and they don’t incite envy.”
Whether this is by accident or design really doesn’t matter. It simply means that the Queen has always avoided the Marie Antoinette tag. I have since learned that she often digs out fabrics given to her more than 40 years ago and has new outfits made. She is famously frugal when it comes to spending tax payers’ money on her official life.
At this early stage of her royal career Kate must also be careful not to overshadow her more important other half. Princess Diana did and look what happened to her marriage. I seem to remember that Kate can rock the frocks when she wants to, especially in the evening.
Remember that slinky, peach halter-neck gown she wore to the Boodles Boxing Ball in 2008? Or the elegant grey one she wore to the Starlight charity evening at the Saatchi Gallery?
Leave the poor girl alone and let her create her own special look. So, sheath those long claws at least until we see what she dazzles us with on her wedding day.