The Duchess of Cambridge debuted a new Gucci dress to unveil the Exhibition Row Quarter at the Victoria & Albert Museum today in London. The opening marks the museum’s largest architectural project in a century and features new public and gallery space, designed by British architect Amanda Levete. Notably, the building’s original facade is showcased.
Kate entered the museum via its new entrance and was given a tour of the Sackler Courtyard (the world’s first porcelain-tiled public courtyard).
Per the Daily Mail:
“A new public entrance to the V&A has also been created on Exhibition Road, reconnecting the V&A with its neighbouring museums and institutions founded on the vision of ‘Albertopolis’, following the Great Exhibition of 1851. The new entrance leads visitors through the historic Aston Webb Screen into the world’s first porcelain tiled courtyard, which floats above a new column-free gallery that will host the V&A’s world-class exhibition programme.”
She was then shown the new Sainsbury Gallery space and met with guests who helped facilitate the project in Blavatnik Hall.
Following the reception she unveiled a plaque in the courtyard to commemorate the occasion.
Kate is fast becoming the Royal Family’s most passionate promoter of the arts. An art history major at St. Andrew’s University, she was quick to become patron of the National Portrait Gallery after her marriage, as well as the Art Room, which focuses on the therapeutic benefits of art for children.
She is known to be an avid photographer in her downtime and apparently isn’t a bad drawer herself – the programs handed out at the wedding of her sister, Pippa, last month featured a sketch of the church Kate did.
On the fashion front, this is obviously a new dress, featuring a black and white tweed with gold buttons and the brand’s signature ribbon. Its mini length and cut give it a decidedly retro feel.
And before I comment on it, let’s go ahead and acknowledge the V&A’s thoughts on her sartorial choice:
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an organization receiving a visit from Kate comment on her clothes, but if anyone is then I suppose the V&A makes sense. They also noted on their Twitter feed today that they acquired a pair of her famous LK Bennett Sledge heels in honor of what they reflected about British fashion and trends. So, there’s that.
Speaking of shoes,
I’ve not yet seen a confirmed ID on today’s, but the block heel was a nice touch with the dress. [Update: They are LK Bennett and were originally debuted back in 2011.] I don’t have strong feelings about the look – it’s not necessarily to my taste, but it’s styled well enough. The only thing I thought was a miss was actually Kate’s hair – I think the bouncing curls she pulled out with her Erdem look back in January would have been a better fit. Today the half-do just felt a tad lackluster.
Worth noting is that this Kate’s second engagement for the month of June on behalf of her charities. While she appeared at Trooping the Colour and Ascot, I would place those in slightly separate buckets, as I would her surprise visit to King’s College Hospital a couple of weeks ago. It was certainly a quiet month for the Duchess, at least in public.
As I’ve noted before, I think some of that was a random scheduling fluke due to the postponement of King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia’s visit in the midst of the election flurry, as well as school break for Prince George.
July is due to be busier, with two events on the books already. On Monday, July 3 Kate will attend Wimbledon, and it was announced by Kensington Palace today that she will carry out an engagement for the Natural History Museum on the 13th. I’m slightly surprised by the timing of the latter given that it falls directly in the middle of the Spanish royal visit, but we’ll see how the logistics play out.
On the Wimbledon front, Kate gave an interview for a BBC documentary on tennis in which she revealed the entire Middleton clan’s love of the sport. She also shared the anecdote that in the summer of 2013, when heavily pregnant with George, she was banned by her doctors from attending Wimbledon.
Another aside is that her mother, Carole, apparently has a bit of a crush on Roger Federer, who was a guest at Pippa’s wedding.
The full documentary will premier this Sunday and we can cover off on more details next week in the post on Kate’s attendance at Wimbledon.