Kate’s dumped the frump look, and it’s paid off

World

Kate’s dumped the frump look, and it’s paid off

If there really is a war of the wardrobes between Kate and Meghan, there's no doubt who is winning

Lisa Armstrong

June has become peak royal voyeurism month. Trooping the Colour, a state visit, an Order of the Garter, Ascot ... Thursday’s news that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have officially peeled off from the charitable Royal Foundation, previous jointly headed with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, has pivoted yet more attention on to them and, by extension, their outfits.

Given that “body language” and “facial gestures” are not entirely reliable indicators, their clothes have become another clue to understanding what’s going on. We “know”, for instance, thanks to their label choices, that the duchesses are “very different” (aka don’t get on); Meghan is pushy and grabby (all that fancy Givenchy couture), while Kate is not (all those years of wearing mid-level outfits, and reliably leveraging the big guns when she had to).

Those who prided themselves on being immune to the allure of royal fashion ever since the departure of Diana, Princess of Wales, find themselves poring over the royal outfits. To an extent, this can be justified by the “social anthropology” angle. The arrival of Meghan has brought what Hollywood might call a narrative arc to the dress pageant. Was she intent on outshining Kate on the frock front? Was Kate jealous? Was Kate mounting a fightback? Had some of her favourite designers been ringfenced from Meghan? Were they both competitively under-eating?..

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