Tag Archives: The Guardian

Kate Middleton, Fashion Vampire

Vogue UK has decided to celebrate its 100th Anniversary with a cover so lifeless, a doctor would solemnly tell its loved ones, “The best we can do is make it comfortable… it’s just a matter of time.”

A magazine known for being a glamorous sumptuous feast of fashion decided that one hundred years was long enough and went full-on dull duchess.

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Vogue UK made a point to note, “Having participated in choosing not only the clothes worn in the shoot and the locations used as a backdrop, but also the photographer who captured the images, the Duchess was pleased with the resulting feeling of informality in the final shots.”

In other words, it’s not Vogue’s fault.  Kate decided to go all Jecca Craig on the cover on her own.

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This isn’t the first time Kate has sartorially referenced her romantic rival.  Back in August 2005, Kate wore an outfit similar to her Vogue cover to the Gatcombe Park Festival.

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That was a few months after Prince William dumped Kate for “more space” which quickly took the form of Jecca.

Many were surprised Kate had decided to do Vogue UK since five years ago several magazines were clamoring to feature the royal bride with Anna Wintour of Vogue US vigorously campaigning to have the duchess on the US cover, reportedly involving photographer Mario Testino in her crusade without success.  At the time a Palace aide noted, “Both William and Kate feel it would be wrong for Kate to promote herself as a fashion or style icon.  That’s not what they are about and they take their royal duties far too seriously to, in one sense, trivialize them.”

Apparently Kate finally realized no one is buying her as someone who takes her duties seriously so she might as well pose for Vogue, but in the drabbest clothing possible so no one could accuse her of trying to be a style icon.

Of course, British royals on the cover of Vogue UK is nothing new.

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Kate’s the first one, though, daring enough to embrace the bland sterility of a back-to-school clothing sale circular in the Sunday paper.  One editor quoted in The Daily Beast noted, “I think it’s an atrocious cover—especially for one that should be celebrating a momentous anniversary. 100 years of Vogue—a magazine that has published some of greatest, most groundbreaking photography and they use a bland Kay’s catalogue image.”

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The Vogue shoot was said to be a collaboration between the magazine and The National Portrait Gallery of which Kate is Royal Patron.  Two of the photos from the  shoot taken by photographer Josh Olins were hung as part of the gallery’s Vogue 100: A Century of Style.  This screen grab from The Guardian comes from an article entitled Kate’s Vogue shots shouldn’t be in a gallery. They’re not art.

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Reaction to the Indiana Jecca look was not positive overall, with fans taking to The Royal Family’s Facebook page to note that Kate looks very unKate:

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Although perhaps the real issue was that the photographer captured Kate’s essence a little too well.

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Others found the shoot itself in poor taste or inappropriate.

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Comments in the Daily Mail criticized Kate not having the time for her duties but plenty to spare for a photo shoot.

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On Twitter, royal correspondents and photographers were also critical of the photos.

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Kate’s Vogue hit the stands on Tuesday.  The rest of the photos are as equally uninspired, shot in January against a barren beige backdrop in Norfolk selected by Kate.

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Kate’s vision was for the spread to reflect her “private existence”, just not with her usual jeggings paired with one of her numerous black and white striped shirts or solid jumpers she normally wears, instead opting to protect her sartorial privacy by wearing an equally bland collection of contrived casual country clothing.

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Glamorous gowns and jewels set against the neutral winter country setting would have made for visually interesting photographs with the juxtaposition of elements representing the dual nature of Kate’s life.  Had Kate been wary of an overt display of opulence because of the criticism she’s faced over her pampered taxpayer-funded luxury lifestyle in a time of austerity, she could have still incorporated elements that would reflect more of who she is as a person or how her life has changed since joining the royal family five years ago.  One word Kate seems fond of lately is “surreal”.  Perhaps the media attention makes Kate feels like she exists in a sort Wonderland which could have been subtly referenced by her wearing a simple light blue dress with a black hair band while she sipped tea or sat at a table with cards in front of her.  Beyond a bicycle, there are no props in these photos to even indicate what she does with the vast majority of her time which is spent out of the public eye.  No camera hanging from a strap around her neck to represent her interest in photography, no children’s toys casually left on the lawn to hint at her identity as a mother, with the exception of Lupo in one photo, there are no other signs of life, not even smoke coming from a distant chimney to suggest a family which waits for her indoors.  It’s just simply a generically pretty airbrushed Kate, wearing entirely forgettable clothing in a beigely barren winter landscape.

The only possible hint at Kate’s personal interests is a curiously included shot in the magazine which caused a bit of social media buzz as people wondered if they were really seeing what they thought they were.

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Emily Andrews noted the picture was too blurry to positively ID what exactly was going on with the back of Kate’s jeans.  The picture is pretty fuzzy, but this is the area in question:

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Has Kate included a partial moon in her Vogue spread to show her cheeky side or is it perhaps something completely innocuous like a scarf tied around her waist with a pattern resembling butt cleavage?

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The Parable of the Perturbed Press

“To whomever much is given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked.” – Luke 12:48

After years of reaping royal benefits, this week the media reminded the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge of their enormous growing bar tab of expectation.

On February 17th, Kate Middleton did her guest stint with the Huffington Post UK. The photos Tweeted by @KensingtonRoyal of the “newsroom” confirmed to me that they were using stuffed animals instead of real dogs and ponies for the Kate is Keen Show.

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While the event was geared towards bringing awareness to children’s mental health issues, the inherent flaw in selecting one outlet is representative of the greater issue that the Cambridges mistakenly believe they don’t need the media.  Kate’s second event of the year lacked the traditional media fanfare even though she wore a brand new outfit and everything.  Above all else, the press is a business so they naturally wouldn’t want to waste a lot of column space plugging their competition.

Many wondered if there would be a complete media black-out.

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Daily Mail article on Kate being papped shopping in pricy designer clothing referenced the Huffington Post event as Kate guest-editing “a website”.   While celebrity guest editing isn’t new which Jezebel’s “Kate Middleton Joins the Long, Goofy, Controversial Line of Celebrity Guest Editors” explores, the very fact that Kate is being classified as a celebrity reveals just how royally Kate is missing the mark.  Taxpayers don’t fund celebrities’ lives and more is expected of royals than being famous for being famous.  As representatives of the UK, royals are supposed to remain politically neutral and avoid the appearance of impropriety by refusing freebies  by companies seeking royal product placement…a  future Queen Consort aligning herself with one media outlet is tantamount to brand endorsement.

Prince William’s first scheduled engagement of the year on the 16th at the Foreign Office’s Diplomatic Academy seemed to even more blatantly break with the royal neutrality policy when a speech he delivered was widely interpreted as thinly veiled support of remaining within the European Union.  As the Daily Mail noted, “he all but named the EU as he referenced international organisations such as the United Nations, Nato and ‘elsewhere’ as institutions that help Britain affirm its ‘commitment to working in partnership with others’. ”  The Palace denied any political agenda and pointed out that never once in the speech did Prince William specifically mention the European Union.  Sure, and when I refer to the Petulant Prince, I really am talking about any spoiled arrogant balding 33-year-old British heir to the throne with a pathologically lazy wife, two kids and a Cocker Spaniel named Lupo.

On February 17th, The Sun fired a shot at William the Reluctant heard round the world’s media with “Throne Idle: Prince on 1st job of the year… and it’s a disaster”.  While many of the points it makes have been discussed here and on other sites like Kate Middleton Review, Kate Middleton: Duchess or Diva, Celebitchy, and Sarah Whalen’s posts on Bayou Buzz, it’s refreshing to see the UK mainstream media dispense with the royal candy coating for a change and exercise some journalistic candor.

The Sun’s journalistic bitch-slap was such a departure from the white glove treatment Prince William normally receives, The Guardian dedicated an article to the article in “The Sun gives both barrels to Prince William”.

On February 18th, Richard Palmer Tweeted that for the RAF Disbandment Parade attended by Prince William and Kate, media access was limited under the guise of space restrictions.

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Perhaps the Cambridges were trying to keep out members of the media who might question the “value for the money” of Prince William and Kate who do so few official engagements to begin with taking a helicopter ride from London to Anglesey, Wales to attend the disbandment parade of the now-privatized branch of the Royal Air Force William left in 2013 without meeting his training commitment.

The Daily Mail continued the media pummeling with two new articles questioning the Petulant Prince’s dedication to his royal role with “William the Unwilling: A no-show at the Baftas, only two engagements all year and now even Royal eyebrows are being raised at a Prince who’s gone missing in action” as well as “Patell’s People: Work-shy William has to make a royal choice”.

The quote “to whom much is given, much is expected” comes from The Parable of the Faithful Servant, an eschatological warning in the Gospel of Luke to be prepared for the day of reckoning.  How long the monarchy will last remains to be seen, but with the press’ trumpeted judgment of William the Reluctant and the Duchess of Doolittle reaping the royal perks without commensurate return, the British Royal Family might want to figure out the whole Cambridge situation before the last three trumpets ring out.  The polo  ponies of petulant princes are no match against the apocalyptic horses of a republic.

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