venerdì 21 luglio 2017

Official Visit to Poland and Germany, July 2017

Official visit to Poland and Germany,
17-21 July 2017

 17 July 2017 - Arrival in Warsaw and official welcome to Poland by President Duda and the First Lady at the Presidential Palace. Visit to the to the Warsaw Rising Museum, dedicated to the uprising of 1944 which saw the Polish resistance Home Army attempt to liberate Warsaw from German occupation and is remembered as the largest single military effort by any European resistance movement during World War II.
Later, joining young Polish entrepreneurs in the Warsaw Spire building on a visit to The Heart, an international hub and business incubator with impressive panoramic views of Poland's capital which is home to a range of exciting new business start-ups. The event marks the beginning of a 'Warsaw-London bridge' initiative that aims to help small Polish businesses access London’s unique opportunities for scaling up to become global players.
New coat: Alexander McQueen ivory wool and silk-blend twill peplum coat (with matching belt); Jenny Packham "Casa" clutch in red, debuted in Canada in September 2016; Ballon Blue de Cartier watchnew jewellery: ruby (?) and diamond pendant, earrings and ring, possibly by G. Collins & Sons"Gianvito 105" suede pumps in praline by Gianvito Rossi (Daily Mail article here).

17 July 2017 - Attending a Queen's Birthday Party hosted by the British Ambassador, Jonathan Knott, in the Orangery in Łazienki Park, the largest park in Warsaw.
New dress: white midi-length cocktail dress with architectural black detailing by Polish designer Gosia Baczynska "Eugenia" silver-tone faux pearl and crystal ear cuffs by Balenciaga and what is most likely the matching necklace, debuted in Paris in March; ankle strap suede "d'Orsay" pumps by Gianvito Rossi, also debuted during the Paris visit; black satin clutch with crystal-embellished clasp by Prada, first seen in India in April 2016 (Daily Mail article here).

18 July 2017 - Visiting the former Nazi Germany Concentration Camp, Stutthof, and meeting a group of five former prisoners. Stutthof was the first camp set up outside German borders, in September 1939, and one of the last camps liberated by the Allies.
Engagements in Gdańsk, inlcuding a visit to a street party which will provide a chance to sample Goldwasser - a Gdańsk liqueur, and traditional Polish pierogi, while watching amber craftsmen at work, and listening to local musicians and artists.
Visiting the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre, of which the Prince of Wales is Patron. During the seventeenth century there was a large English-speaking community based in Gdańsk, which made the city an important destination for travelling English players. The Shakespeare Theatre opened in 2014, and is home to the city’s annual Shakespeare Festival, attended by theatre-lovers from around the world. The visit to the theatre will include a small reception for Poles from the world of arts, culture and media. 
Visiting the European Solidarity Centre in Gdańsk’s shipyards, the birth-place of the Solidarity movement (Solidarność) in Poland. The visit will include a tour of the museum and meeting with founding members of Solidarity. On departure, the Duke and Duchess will walk through the iconic shipyard gates, a key symbol of the protests during the 1980s, before laying a wreath at the foot of the Solidarity Monument. 
New top and skirt: "Imari" cotton blend faille midi-length skirt in Hurst Rose print and matching top, both by Erdem; new bag: beige textured woven leather clutch bag by Etui Bags"NearlyNude" ankle strap sandals by Stuart WeitzmanBallon Blue de Cartier watchnew earrings and pendant: part of a matching set in yellow gold filigree and milky amber, the native gemstone of Poland and a typical product of Gdańsk, which is known as the City of Amber (Daily Mail article here).

 19 July 2017 - Departing Warsaw en route to Berlin, where the Duke and Duchess will have a private meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Visiting the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin’s most famous landmark and a symbol of German unification, and the Holocaust Memorial and information centre.
Visiting Strassenkinder. a charity based in the eastern district of Marzahn which supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, including homeless children, and meeting individuals from the Robert Enke Foundation. Set up in memory of the footballer, the organisation raises awareness of mental health issues, particularly in sport.
Meeting with President Steinmeier at Bellevue Palace.
New coat: bespoke cornflower blue coat by Catherine Walker (cornflower is one of the national flowers of Germany. This is partly due to the story that when Queen Louise of Prussia was fleeing Berlin and pursued by Napoleon's forces, she hid her children in a field of cornflowers and kept them quiet by weaving wreaths for them from the flowers. The flower thus became identified with Prussia, not least because it was the same color as the Prussian military uniform. After the unification of Germany in 1871, it went on to become a symbol of the country as a whole. It was also the favourite flower of Louise's son Kaiser Wilhelm I); new dress: cornflower blue lace dress with scalloped hem, most likely also by Catherine Walkerblue topaz and diamond drop earrings in white gold by Kiki McDonoughnew necklace: "Eden" blue topaz and 18ct white gold flower necklace by Kiki McDonoughBallon Blue de Cartier watch; new bag: "Vivien" clam satin clutch by Jimmy Choo"Gianvito 105" suede pumps in praline by Gianvito Rossi (Daily Mail articles here and here).

 19 July 2017 - Attending a Queen’s Birthday Party held in the gardens of the British Ambassador’s residence. 

 20 July 2017 - Visiting Heidelberg, the oldest university town in Germany, twinned with Cambridge since 1965. Stops included a visit to the German Cancer Research Center to meet researchers and visit the stem cell research lab and a walk through the central market square, where a British-German market offering local food and drink was set up.
New dress: bespoke Jenny Packham dress in a golden yellow brocade-like fabric; new earrings: pearl sun star button earrings by Oscar de la Renta; "Fleur" espadrille wedges by Monsoon; bespoke Alexander McQueen beige suede clutch; Ballon Blue de Cartier watch (Daily Mail article here).

 20 July 2017 - Taking part in a friendly rowing competition on the River Neckar, with rowers from both Cambridge and Heidelberg.

20 July 2017 - Attending a reception for some of the most creative, innovative, and exciting new names in the world of art, culture, style, fashion and technology in the vintage mirrored hall of Clärchens Ballhaus, which opened in 1913 and is one of the last remaining old ballrooms in Berlin.
New dress: bird print dress by German-born designer Markus Lupfer, from the brand's pre-fall 2017 collection; new belt: unidentified metallic belt; "new" bracelet: three-strand pearl bracelet likely belonging to Diana, Princess of Walesbaroque pearl double-sided earrings in gold by Soru Jewellerynew bag: plain iron pouch by Anne Grand-ClementPrada wavy-strap sandals in Quarzo suede (Daily Mail article here).

 21 July 2017 - Departing Berlin's Hauptbahnhof en route to Hamburg, Germany’s second largest city and home to its largest harbour. Visiting the Maritime Museum on the bank of the river Elbe to celebrate the joint UK-German year of science, which this year is focused on oceans. Then visiting the Elbphilharmonie, one of the biggest concert halls in the world and renowned for its advanced acoustics, opened in January 2017, to listen to a special performance by the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra. The audience will be filled with children from all corners of the city, with the aim of inspiring a new generation to develop a passion for music and perhaps play at the venue in years to come.
Then travelling by boat down the River Elbe to the final destination of the tour: Airbus. The couple will tour the complex and meet apprentices, both German and English. The Duke and Duchess will then visit the final assembly line of an A320 aircraft and view the cockpit of a near-complete plane.

The tour press release can be found here.

domenica 2 luglio 2017

Playing with Paper Dolls: Ideas on What Kate Could Wear in Poland and Germany

With the dates for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's upcoming tour of Poland and Germany recently announced, I thought it would be fun to play a sort of paper dolls for grown ups game and have a look at possible wardrobe options for Kate while we wait for a detailed itinerary to be released (not too long for that now!). This is the Duchess's first official visit to both countries, while Prince William has been twice to Germany in an official capacity, most recently in August last year, when he visited Düsseldorf to celebrate 70 years of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.

The Queen herself has been to Poland only once, in March 1996:

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visited more recently in March 2010:

In Poland, William and Kate will stop in the capital, Warsaw...

...and Gdańsk (probably more familiar by its German name, Danzig, to Romance languages speakers like me), Poland's principal seaport on the Baltic Sea, a city long disputed between Poland and Germany and the birthplace of the Solidarność trade unionist movement, which played a major role in bringing an end to Communist rule in Poland and helped precipitate the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union:

Anyone else has found themselves frantically googling "Ryanair flights to Poland"? I know I have! Both cities look absolutely breathtaking, and I'm sure we'll be treated to some awesome photo ops.

Starting with the Polish leg of the tour, Kate has of course already added a Polish brand to her repertoire, Etui Bags. It's a niche brand making vintage-inspired leather bags. Kate so far has worn two of their styles: a mock-croc dark green leather clutch on St Patrick's Day and a textured woven nude leather clutch that has already proven a favourite, having been worn a number of times, most recently at Trooping the Colour.

Unfortunately, trying to order from Etui has been a bit of a fraught experience. As a small business catapulted onto global fashion stardom thanks to the "Kate effect", they apparently had difficulties coping with the rush of interest and this caused confusion. First they set up a waiting list for the mock-croc clutch, then it transpired they only had a few pieces available...well, actually just one, scrap that, it's completely sold out and won't be get the gist! It was a pity, really, as communication from their customer service was very prompt and, to begin with at least, informative and helpful. Their website remains to this day in Polish only and personally I've given up trying to order anything from Etui, although I know of friends who have been lucky enough to find similar styles on ebay, so you might want to look there before calling it quits completely.

If Kate felt inclined to repeat some of her previously worn frocks, may I just say these two, both by Alexander McQueen. would make quite lovely choices?

Red and white, so perfectly in keeping with the Polish flag colour scheme, it's also worth noting that, while Poland has no official national flower, the corn poppy has a recognized historical and cultural significance, which would make the poppy-print dress doubly appropriate for the tour.

Looking at "something new", ready-to-wear Polish brand Kreist ticks a number of boxes, as it was founded by Central Saint Martins graduate Krzysztof Strozyna. The designer returned to Poland to pursue a career in his motherland after working under the British Fashion Council’s New Gen scheme. While definitely edgier than what Kate usually goes for, I can still picture her in bespoke versions of some of their more conservative styles:

Somewhat more attuned to Kate's style is the work of Kasia Skórzyńska, a graduate of Warsaw Art Academy who has worked with London-based designer Richard Nicoll - I'm currently in love with her "Jane" pink dress:

In Germany, the couple will stop in Berlin...

...Heidelberg, a picturesque college town in Baden-Württemberg, in the south-west...

...and Hamburg, a major port on the river Elbe, the second largest in Europe, and a city steeped in history as a member of the Hanseatic League, although not many vestiges of its medieval past remain after it suffering heavy Allied bombing during World War II:

You'll probably all remeber that the Queen most recently visited Germany in June 2015, stopping in Berlin, Frankfurt and Celle (for more on the Queen's visits to Germany, see my previous posts here and here):

As oak is the national tree of Germany, a repeat of either the wedding earrings or the Asprey "Woodland" charm necklace could well be on the cards, along with Kate's oak leaf and acorn brooch, most recently seen on Christmas Day 2015:

A spot-on choice for the Berlin bit of the tour would be the aptly-named "Berlin" top by British high street brand Fenn Wright Manson, currently on sale at John Lewis and available in ivory and orange:

As far as eponymous clothing goes, the "Berlin" check silk shift dress in ink by East, currently sold out, does remind me a bit of the Hobbs "Wessex" dress, is a demure lenght and would be suitable on its own or with paired with a navy blazer (thinking of you, Smythe!):

M.i.h, a brand Kate has worn before, offers the "Berlin" high-rise straight-leg jeans, which would be quite a departure from the cut Kate usually favours but nonetheless would make a cool choice for a more relaxed engagement:

Perhaps more suited to Kate's style preferences are the "Berlin" J20 skinny jeans by Hugo Boss Orange:

Hugo Boss is another brand Kate has worn before: the red pashmina scarf she first sported in Canada is thought to be by Hugo Boss, while more recently she wore the brand's "Staple P90-L" pumps in anthracite embossed leather with a kitten heel to an event at the Natural History Museum in November 2016

As Hugo Boss is one of the best-known names in German fashion, I believe both items could well make another appearance, particularly the shoes given the time of year, or we may see the debut something new. For what it's worth, I won't be rushing out to replikate any Hugo Boss items, as the brand has a less than perfect ethical record, having first made its name (and money) supplying uniforms to the SS, SA, Hitler Youth and other Nazi party military branches.

Probably one of the best known names in contemporary German fashion is Jil Sander, and here I may be biased as it's a brand I love, but I can totally picture Kate wearing something of hers. The style is very much in keeping with Kate's esthetic: block colours, simple lines in good quality fabric that don't scream designer...what's not to love?


Another brand I'd love to see Kate explore is Munich-based jewellery and accessory designer Saskia Diez. Edgier than what usually Kate goes for, but there are some princess-worthy gems in her catalogue, like these cute Pearl Pop earrings:

Is there anything you'd love to see Kate wear during this tour? Any cool brand I haven't included but that you think would be perfect? Leave a comment and let me know!