I was one of many Canadians extremely excited about the Royal Tour – especially as a royal blogger focussing on Kate. The opportunity to see Kate wearing local Canadian designers and in helping to promote Canadian fashion through the “Kate Effect” was something I was looking forward to. Kate wore four Canadian items throughout her eight day Tour of British Columbia and Yukon; a new colour of a classic favourite, a wrap style jacket from a Canadian outerwear company favoured by the Prime Minister’s wife, a pair of earrings from a small jeweller in the Yukon and another pair of earrings from a London-based designer with Canadian roots.
Now for the big questions… Was I disappointed in Tour’s overall fashion? No. Was I disappointed in the amount of Canadian fashion she chose? Yes, I kind of was.
WWKD Reader Sierra was kind enough to suggest we compare the Tour of India & Bhutan with Canada. From my count, she wore 6 Indian designers on the Tour of India and Bhutan and the India Tour was shorter at 5 days while Bhutan was 2 days. The Indian designers Kate wore were: Anita Dongre dress, Amrapli Earrings, Bhutanese Skirt, Bhutan market-bought earrings, Naeem Khan dress and the Flora Garments Indian Embroidered Stole. You could almost throw the Paul & Joe cape in there since it was custom-made for Bhutan traditional wear, but I’ll leave it out for the sake of argument. Looking at it this way, she did wear more local things on the India/Bhutan trip (6 things/7 days for India-Bhutan versus 4 things/8 days for Canada).
Let’s look at the four Canadian pieces she did wear on the Tour.
Wrap Coat by Sentaler
The gorgeous coat by Sentaler was a standout piece for the Duchess on the Tour, worn in the Yukon. The piece immediately sold out and resulted in a huge boom of popularity for the Toronto-based designer. “I am especially thrilled that she chose the signature ribbed sleeves wrap coat from my collection, a true Sentaler trademark,” the Bojana Sentaler said in a statement. “She wore it with such grace and elegance and I couldn’t be happier.”
Ulu Earrings by Shelley MacDonald
A great story of a small-town Yukon jeweller who has become an international sensation overnight. Shelley isn’t sure how the Duchess got the earrings, but shares her suspicions.. “[Shelley] is not sure how the earrings got to the Duchess but suspects a British woman who bought two pairs in her Carcross micro-boutique in the summer. [Shelley] learned the same woman bought a locally made Sentaler cardigan coat the Duchess also wore in Carcross.”
Kite Earrings by Pippa Small
The Montreal-born, London-based designer was just as thrilled as her other Canadian Kate-brands in discussing the impact of Kate wearing her piece.
Smythe Duchess Blazer in Green
The Duchess has been seen in her navy Smythe blazer, now renamed the Duchess, for years – so it was not a huge surprise to see her in yet another one in green. Smythe has really seen a surge in interest since Kate first wore their blazer on the first Royal Tour of Canada in 2011.
Four things is pretty decent, Amanda, why were you kind of disappointed? While I absolutely adored the amount of red and white she wore on the Tour to pay homage to Canada – and the Queen’s Maple Leaf Brooch – it would have been nice to see the red & white flag flown by a Canadian designer. Now, I get that Alexander McQueen is Kate’s thing, and Jenny Packham arrival outfits are to-die-for, but I thought the smaller elements could have had a little more Canada. She could have easily switched out her generic black skinny paints for a pair of pants from Canadian designer Pink Tartan instead of Spanish-based Zara, or a jacket from local brands such as Mountain Equipment Co-Op instead of Holland & Holland.
There are hours and hours, weeks and weeks that go in to selecting all the clothing that Kate wears – and I’m sure that there were many discussions about ensuring she was respectful to her hosts (Kate absolutely knows the influence she has when she wears things) and also acting as an ambassador to the British Fashion industry, where she alone is reportedly adding $258 Million a year in sales. I understand that responsibility is one that Kate and Natasha Archer, her stylist, take very seriously. So while I adored the majority of outfits and looks on the Royal Tour (not all of them, I won’t lie…) there were just a few minor tweaks I’d liked to have seen to make it a little more Canadian. What did you think?
* Some of you might point out that I missed the maple leaf tartan scarf, which I am not including here in this round up. While it had a tip of the hat to Canada was made with the country tartan, it was not made in Canada. I’m also excluding the Canadian-coloured ensembles she wore such as the Preen dress or the red Carolina Herrera coat. Not because I didn’t love them, but because they weren’t Canadian designers.