Kate & Diana’s Diplomatic Dressing in Asia

As Kate and William’s Jubilee tour continues, we’re going to look at more royal diplomatic dressing at it’s finest.

In our last post, we discussed this specially made orchid print dress that Kate wore for a visit to the botanical gardens in Singapore. It was made by Jenny Packham, who also made that orchid print dress Kate wore in Santa Barbara on the North American tour. Nicely done, Kate!

Another sartorial highlight of the tour so far was this chic dress designed by Prabal Gurung, who is from Singapore.

The bold print is so different from Kate’s usual style and I just love how fresh and modern it is:

And another key diplomatic look was this gown that Kate wore to dinner with the King of Malaysia.

Yes, we’d been hoping for a tiara appearance but this dress was blingy enough all on it’s own. This bespoke gown was designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen and is embroidered with hibiscus flowers, the national flower of the country. Kate really is all about the language of flowers, isn’t she? I mean, that was the theme woven throughout her and William’s wedding.

There has been some discussion that the white dress underneath overlay can be worn by itself, so we’ll have to keep an eye out for it at a future event.

Gotta say, as soon as I saw the dress I thought of Emma Thompson’s gown in Sense and Sensibility:

Ok, now on to Diana’s diplomatic sartorial choices in Asia. A lot of these looks are very well known, but it’s still fun to reminisce.

Japan 1986

For her visit to Japan in 1986, Diana bought this red polka dot dress at a favourite boutique on Fulham Road called Tatters. The boutique is still there.

The hat was designed by Frederick Fox to reflect the Japanese flag, which it certainly did!

And, true to form, Diana got right into the kimono she was presented with:

Thailand 1988

For her tour of Thailand in 1988, Catherine Walker made Diana this silk chiffon sarong style gown. Love the colour combo!

And also love that she accessorized with flowers in her hair:

This dress was included in the custom wallpaper that was part of the Diana: Glimpses of a Modern Princess” exhibit at Kensington Palace. The exhibit just closed on September 2nd. Can you spot the dress in there?

Hong Kong 1989

When Princess Diana was planning for her 1989 visit to Hong Kong, she commissioned several outfits especially for the trip.

This pagoda shaped hat was designed by Philip Somerville and the outfit she wore with it was a Catherine Walker creation. This outfit became a favourite: Diana also famously wore the ensemble to Ascot that year and of course in front of the Taj Mahal (without the hat).

The final look we’re going to discuss in this post is my number one fave Diana gown.  Catherine Walker designed this stunning pearl encrusted gown especially for this trip.  Pearls were chosen because of their association with the orient, and the result was stunning! That’s 20,000 simulated pearls on there, folks.

And of course the Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara went just perfectly with it:

The press called this the “Elvis Dress” because of the stand up collar, but it was actually inspired by Elizabethan collars. Here’s a super short video of the dress in action:

When Diana chose to sell some of her gowns in a Christie’s auction, this dress was one of the very last that she decided to include. It ultimately sold to the Franklin Mint for $151,000 US, which made it the second most expensive dress in the auction after the Victor Edelstein gown that Diana wore at the White House when dancing with John Travolta.

In 2006, the Franklin Mint donated the gown to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.  In fact, it is currently on display there as part of an exhibit entitled “Ball Gowns: British Glamour Since 1950” and lucky me, I’ll be seeing it there in just over a week! I’ll be sure to report back with a meaty post! Looking forward to it…

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Categories: British Royal Family, Diana, Princess of Wales, Duchess of Cambridge

4 replies

  1. Wonderful post! Can’t wait to see if the McQueen dress is converted into another white gown. Diana used to convert her dresses quite often I recall.

  2. I was so hoping for a tiara! It was reported that she had brought two and one was supposedly the Cartier Halo….but, we will have to wait. Actually, she should hold off as long as possible on a tiara, they are so outdated, atleast the ones she has available to choose from. Now, if she were to have one made….that could be really fresh! And how long do we have to wait for Camilla to give her the matching suite of sapphires that matches the wedding ring? I’ve seen Camilla in the huge blue sapphire that Diana made into a choker and the one she wears as a brooch, but little else, so give them to Katherine already!

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