The papers have seemed very drab for the last week and I’ve just realised why. Where has Kate Middleton gone? There have been no features, no supplements and no in depth interviews with people she once met in the street – in fact I believe I’m actually suffering withdrawal symptoms without my Kate fix.
Yet truth to tell – what is so interesting about Kate from a stylist’s perspective? She certainly isn’t a challenge – tall, slim and beautiful with an eye for style that’s seen her through from grouse moor to black tie to night club. I could suggest a few tweaks here and there but I doubt if she will make any of Diana’s early mistakes – all ruffles and velvet knickerbockers one minute and Catherine Walker the next.
Now Camilla is much more interesting. Her style has grown and developed since she caught her Prince – and despite fifty years of dressing like a middle aged Home Counties matron she’s now taking style advice from the right people and truly blossoming.
Camilla really is a gift to the professional stylist. As a well bred member of the Gloucestershire aristocracy it was seen as bad form to be interested in style or fashion – after all the garden and the dogs were far more important. Camilla now has someone to do the thinking for her and she can have the best of both worlds.
For most of us it all started with that beautiful grey wedding outfit – older brides everywhere were inspired. The hair, the dress, that amazing ring – where was the fusty old Camilla we’d been brought up to hate?
Gone now are the warm tweeds and mother-of-the-bride brights. Her personal colour palette has been chosen extremely well and she is wearing cool neutral shades which make her look sophisticated and elegant, and flatter her delicate colouring. I’ve seen her in dove grey, pearl, ivory, navy and cool blues. She rarely mixes and matches colours – maybe a contrasting hat – championing the column of colour that works so well.
She is also developing a very distinct style of her own. So many older women are tempted into ill fitting mannish jackets and unflattering skirts – of which Camilla has certainly had her share. However we now see her in very understated outfits – beautifully tailored and elegant with flattering cut and detail. She’s using hats to give a cutting edge and has carried off some real beauties. Whilst that hair has always been a bit Jilly Cooperish for most people’s tastes, the new soft blond looks a treat and unlike Kate’s hair, looks great with both hats and fascinators.
I always think that any competition between Kate and Camilla should be seen as a round of golf – with handicaps so players can be judged equally. Camilla is old enough to be Kate’s mother; has had a tricky relationship with the press and also quite often feels the need to match her style with Charles’s – with all that against her we’ve got to give her a few points head start.
So Kate vs Camilla? Whilst the British press seem to have made their mind up, I’m afraid that I can’t help but vote for some very professional stylists in this particular competition!