Alongside Sophie, Countess of Wessex, the stylish royal co-hosted the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange reception at the palace on Monday evening. The exciting fashion initiative saw designers and artisans from all 52 countries of the Commonwealths create one-of-a-kind sustainable outfits, which were showcased at the reception.
Kate opted for a black-and-white lace floral print dress by Erdem (get the look for less here) and pearl drop earrings by Anita Dongre, while Sophie wore a black dress with red detailing from Burberry. (Burberry and Stella McCartney are the designers representing the U.K. at the event.)
Kate and Sophie are often seen as the most fashionable members of the royal family. With a keen eye for feminine tailoring and elegant formalwear, Sophie’s choices have been compared to Kate‘s. Both are fans of British designers Erdem, Emilia Wickstead and Alexander McQueen as well as the milliner Jane Taylor. And both own those famous L.K. Bennett nude pumps.
Designers from around the Commonwealth, who represent the best in contemporary fashion and creativity, have been partnered with communities representing traditional hand-crafts and artisanal skills. #FashionExchange pic.twitter.com/cDuiS9cAp1— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) February 19, 2018
Kate, who is seven months pregnant, made headlines Sunday for her dress choice for the annual BAFTAs (the British equivalent of the Oscars). The royal was criticized for walking the red carpet in a deep green gown with a black sash after attendees were encouraged to wear all black in support of the Time’s Up movement.
While royal family members generally steer clear of political issues, some critics took to social media to express their disappointment that the royal mom didn’t show support for the women’s movement.
Also in attendance at the palace event was Vogue’s Anna Wintour and her new British counterpart Edward Enninful, designer Stella McCartney, supermodel Naomi Campbell, Caroline Rush, Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council, fashion writer Justine Picardie, handbag designer Anya Hindmarch, ethical fashion activist Livia Firth and British model Adwoa Aboah.
The two royals made their way into The Music Room where a selection of the stunning dresses were on display. Sophie confidently handled the fabric of a dress made by Lucian Mathis, followed by Kate.
“Isn’t it amazing,” she said, as Kate looked on, gently touching her growing baby bump.
The pair then went their separate ways to meet and greet the designers and collaborators.
Among those Kate chatted to was Nigerian designer Nkwo, who said she had been fascinated to learn about the heading process and how long it had taken her.
“I explained to her that everything had been hand sewn. The only time a machine was used was for the lining. She couldn’t believe it.
“The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange has been such a wonderful experience. I really hope it will help to put us on the map – not as African fashion, but simply as fashion.”
With sponsorship from Swarovski, The Woolmark Company and MatchesFashion.com, established designers such as Karen Walker (representing New Zealand) and Stella McCartney and Burberry (for the U.K.) were among the designers and artisans showcasing their work.
These designers have created looks which have been created and are to be showcased in Buckingham Palace tonight, before moving to venues in London to be showcased to the public. #FashionExchange— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) February 19, 2018
You can find out all about the looks online here: https://t.co/TXx7UzXxh9 pic.twitter.com/l6waoH4wDp
All the outfits will be displayed at a public exhibition at London’s Australia House on February 21 and other various London locations in the run up to Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit in April, before heading to New York in September.