Today is Double Duchess Day – both Catherine Cambridge and Meghan Markle are on official duty. Princess Kate went first for a visit to The Royal Opera House where costuming was the big focus as she checked out the costume department, met with the costume designers, and watched a rehearsal for Two Pigeons, speaking to the dancers afterward about how the costumes inform their performances.
The Duchess of Cambridge visits the @RoyalOperaHouse’s Costume Department today to learn more about the textiles they use to create costumes - and the commissioning of fabrics, design & craftsmanship involved. pic.twitter.com/ta7Iilkv7p— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) January 16, 2019
Fay Fullerton, @RoyalOperaHouse’s Head of Costume, shows The Duchess ballet costumes during today’s visit to Covent Garden – which are especially designed to allow dancers to move freely. #RoyalOperaHouse pic.twitter.com/yKIxXCYOze— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) January 16, 2019
The Duchess meets @TheRoyalBallet Principal Dancers @LondonBallerina Lauren Cuthbertson, Laura Morera, Tomas Mock and @VMuntagirov, who discuss some of the challenges of dancing in costumes. #RoyalOperaHouse pic.twitter.com/tVWjD35HaM— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) January 16, 2019
Kate’s great-great-grandfather ran a textile business and she’s apparently taken great interest in the work and the craft of creating and preserving the garments used by the productions. Reminds me, a little, of that episode of 7 Days Out on Netflix, going behind the scenes in the week leading up to the Chanel Haute Couture show and the work of the premieres in the Chanel ateliers. Duana talks all the time about Broadway, about all the pieces required to put a musical or a play together and we covered this on an episode of Show Your Work last year after watching the New York Times feature on “Broadway’s secret laboratory”. There should be more shows about this kind of work porn.
Kate wore a pair of new shoes for today’s appearance and an Oscar De La Renta outfit that we’ve seen before. Interesting decision. As noted, royals typically try to stagger and offset their appearances so as to maximise media coverage. Kate and Meghan both stepped out on the same day back in November when Kate attended a meeting at University College London and Meghan made an unannounced visit to Hubb Community Kitchen, both of them wearing merlot. Today’s engagements were scheduled and announced in advance with Meghan’s Mayhew visit coming a couple of hours after Kate’s. Meghan’s is probably the more photo-friendly visit as she’ll be spending time with animals, posing with dogs. That Kate chose a re-wear from her closet instead of a brand new outfit could be read as an interesting decision, if you want to go there. She’s going with an older ensemble which she does often but also means her clothing is less of a headline which could mean that she’s not fighting for headlines, or preempting the headline that may have resulted had she chosen a new piece to wear, extending the feud rumours that have surrounded the young royals in the last couple of months. This is why I think this outfit was a deliberate decision and a smart one, using fashion to manage the gossip, as royals have always done.