The Irish and the English have been fighting for centuries, which has led to violence, oppression, terrorism and death. In the short year that Kate Middleton and Prince William have been married, it seems the royal couple have been attempting to take small steps to uniting the two countries through… fashion? It might sound shallow at first, but it seems the prince and princess have been honoring the Emerald Isle all year! Today is St. Patrick’s Day, and in honor of March 17th, Kate Middleton handed out bouquets of shamrocks (the national flower of Ireland) to the Irish Guard (pictured, above). The princess sported a gorgeous belted green Emilia Wickstead coat with chocolate suede pumps and a matching “Betty Boop” hat by Lock and Co. She topped off her look with a gold shamrock brooch, previously used by the Queen Mother and Princess Anne, a bouquet of shamrocks in her lapel, and amethyst and diamond earrings by Kiki McDonough (hmm, a jeweler with an Irish surname). For their enormous wedding last April, Prince William donned the traditional red dress uniform of the Irish Guard. Considering one out of every three people on Earth watched the royal wedding, we have a feeling the prince was trying to make a statement about his respect for Ireland. Last year, William was appointed to the honorary rank of of Colonel of the Irish Guard, and last June the couple handed out operational service medals to the Guards who fought in Afghanistan (pictured, below). Princess Kate has also been sporting Irish designer Orla Kiely quite a bit, lately. Earlier this week, she wore a lovely gray accordion dress while visiting the Dulwich Picture Gallery (pictured, above left). In February, while visiting schools in Oxford, she wore a 1970s walnut-brown bird patterned dress coat by Kiely that sold out within minutes (pictured, above right). While the British-Irish conflict isn’t exactly a problem that will be fixed with clothing, it’s nice to see the young royals making an effort to unite the two cultures with shared traditions and Irish fashion. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
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We’re not exactly Madonna fans here at theSkinnyStiletto. After viewing the more realistic “love story” between Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII in last year’s Best Picture winner, The King’s Speech, and how much pain and embarrassment he caused his younger brother with a speech impediment, who would have to take the throne following his abdication, this romance certainly lost any allure that Elaine was yammering on about when she made herself sick on a piece of their wedding cake on Seinfeld. Considering those two facts (and that this film opened to horrible reviews), W./E. wasn’t exactly on our must-see list of 2011. But, the photos of the costumes are so delicious, we’re quite tempted to rent this flick! English actress Andrea Riseborough plays the American socialite that throws the line of British royalty out of whack, when King Edward decides to leave the throne, in order to marry the twice-divorced American. (Riseborough was fantastic in 2010’s Made in Dagenham, if you’re looking for a good movie to see her in.) Even though W./E. didn’t get positive reviews, Riseborough looks pitch-perfect as Wallis Simpson. In fact, she actually even reminded us of Madonna herself, when she played a 1940s dark brunette in A League of their Own (the only film associated with the Material Girl that has a good reputation.) James D’Arcy was also exceptionally well-cast as the young, slender blonde king. Some of the film’s stills look so real, they could pass for actual historical photos. Madonna hired costume designer Arianne Phillips to create the outfits for the film, and was nominated for an Academy Award for her stunning work. (We think she deserves this Oscar!) Phillips began work on the film a year prior to filming even began, studying costumes at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York and Musée de la Mode et du Textile in Paris. Many of Simpson’s original dresses have been kept in museum archives, which were unavailable for Madonna’s production. Many couture houses offered to recreate outfits for W./E., including Christian Dior, Elsa Schiaparelli and Balenciaga. (Fun Fact: Madonna asked for a wedding dress from one of Phillips’ competitors for the Oscar this year, Michael O’Connor. The gown was on display at the National Museum of Costume in Scotland, whose general manager agreed to lend Madonna the dress.) Co-stars of the film also looked fabulous in their various looks. Abbie Cornish (pictured, above left) plays a modern girl researching Wallis, and looked wonderful in an all black shift with a matching cardigan, purse and pumps. Natalie Dormer (pictured, above right) looks fantastic as a young Queen Mother. In the above scene, she’s being fitted for a hat by the famous milliner Stephen Jones, which is Elizabeth and her daughter’s go-to accessory. Phillips told W Magazine, “To me, Wallis Simpson was a style icon, but I didn’t know she was a couture client well before she met Edward. She was also a hungry whore for jewelry. Edward gave Wallis jewelry to make her feel royal. My first task was figuring out how to re-create those famous gifts.” Phillips contacted Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels to replicate several pieces from Simpson’s jewelry collection, including a famous emerald cross bracelet Edward gave to her. Phillips also got in touch with luxury goods company Alfred Dunhill and Savile Row to get original fabrics and wool from the mills that actually created clothing for King Edward. Phillips’ work and research on the film was not only thorough, but absolutely gorgeous. Any one of Wallis Simpson’s beautiful outfits is inspiring today, even 80 years later. We’re rooting for Arianne this year!
Since the Academy Awards Ceremony is taking place this Sunday, we’re featuring the films nominated for Best Costume Design in 2011 this week. The first movie we’re discussing is Anonymous. If you don’t remember this film, it’s probably because it came and went after facing mixed reviews. It tells the tale of the most famous writer in the world, William Shakespeare, during Elizabeth I’s rule over the United Kingdom, but this film plays on the paranoia that the Bard of Avon was actually Edward De Vere, the Earl of Oxford (played by Rhys Ifans, pictured top right). We here at theSkinnyStiletto aren’t exactly conspiracy theorists, and find it wildly insulting to history and commoners everywhere to assume that a middle-class Englishman couldn’t pen the most famous plays on Earth. Since we’re huge Shakespearean fans here, and even spent part of our vacation to England two and a half years ago watching William’s famous words come to life in both his home in Stratford-upon-Avon, and the Globe Theatre in London, you won’t catching us renting this paranoid flick. But that doesn’t mean we can’t discuss the fashion! German costume designer Lisy Christl did a beautiful job outfitting the cast in various Elizabethan gowns. British acting legend Vanessa Redgrave (pictured, above and top left) portrays an older Queen Elizabeth, while her own real-life daughter, Joely Richardson (pictured, below), portrays Elizabeth in her younger days. This genre is certainly a popular time in history that Hollywood continuously tells. (Fun Fact: Shakespeare in Love and Elizabeth: The Golden Age both won Academy Awards for costume design.) Christl used Janet Arnold’s 2001 book Queen Elizabeth’s Wardrobe Unlock’d as a proper guideline for Anonymous. She told The Hollywood Reporter, “For every dress in the film, there’s the original portrait in the background.” Even though the movie sounds preposterous, at least the clothing is accurate!
Lady Catherine is no stranger to our readers and it’s no secret she is lovely in lace, so for today’s feature we’re showing one of our favorite pieces the Duchess wore upon her arrival to North America. Middleton was a show-stopper when she touched down in Canada in this lace, navy-hued Erdem frock. To lengthen her gorgeous gams, the royal clotheshorse paired her understated clutch perfectly with nude L.K. Bennett heels. With her signature smokey eyes, pale pink lips, and relaxed tresses, she makes it all look so effortless and so bloody fabulous! Just one more look to add to her pile of perfection…
This probably should have been a “Look-of-the-Day” pick a couple of weeks ago when Princess Catherine first wore it, but we waited till now! Kate Middleton, looking glamorous as always wore this belted lavender Alexander McQueen gown when visiting Los Angeles in July. (This editor was supposed to attend the Alexander McQueen Exhibit at the Met with one of her best buddies today, but work got in the way… Boo!) Her platform silver strappy heels were by Jimmy Choo and her earrings were lent to her by Queen Elizabeth. William and Kate were attending the BAFTA Brits to Watch event in LA after their visit to Canada (where Kate also looked fab). The couple fit in perfectly among the Hollywood hotties who were trying to schmooze with the royal pair – although Kate outshined all of them!
No strangers to being a “Tuesday Twosome,” Prince William and Kate Middleton’s outfits may look like they belong to a Pecksniffian pair, but this royal couple is actually quite grounded. Despite having billions of dollars, they don’t have any servants and do their own grocery shopping! Although in this photo, the Prince and Princess appear to be the playing the part at the Epsom Derby over the weekend. Wills dressed in a traditional top hat and morning suit, while Kate had on a conservative cream suit from favorite store Reiss, nude platform pumps and a 1940s-esque hat. Terrific and toothsome, as always.