Pakistan Tour Wrap-Up & Poll

As promised, we’re back with a poll looking for your favorite outfit from the Pakistan wardrobe. But first, a sampling of opinions from the fashion press about the tour style choices.  Below, the couple as they were welcomed at Nur Khan Airbase on October 14.  

We begin with a piece in the NY Times by Vanessa Friedman, the paper’s fashion director.  The story’s title: “In Pakistan, Kate Middleton Aces Fashion Diplomacy.” 

It’s been a while since clothes were employed quite so strategically and consistently to send an unspoken, but also unmistakable, message. The effect was refreshing.

From the moment they stepped off the plane, the Duke and Duchess (O.K., mostly the Duchess, but he played his part too) signaled their intent to allow the quadrillion pictures taken of them to speak louder than the words they uttered mostly behind closed doors. Their clothes made silent statements cross-border respect, cultural awareness and outreach. No detail, or earring, was overlooked.

The Duchess wore Catherine Walker.

Back to Ms. Friedman’s column:

Witness the aquamarine-to-silver draped-neck dress by Catherine Walker with matching pants, a bridge between a tea dress and a shalwar kameez, which the Duchess wore to deplane at Nur Khan airbase on Monday.

Witness the jade-green A-line jacket by Ms. Walker worn over white pants by Ms. Khan, which the Duchess donned to meet the prime minister, an embroidered dupatta tossed over her shoulder.

Kate on day two of the tour in the Catherine Walker and Maheen Khan pieces referenced in the column.  

And from Bethan Holt, The Telegraph’s fashion news and features director, in this column titled “Diplomacy and glamour: why the Duchess of Cambridge’s Pakistan tour wardrobe was her best ever.” 

…on this week’s tour to Pakistan, Kate has shown that her new style confidence is no fickle attempt to keep up in the influencer stakes, but a meaningful recognition that her clothing choices are incredibly powerful messaging tools. Indeed, the duchess’s willingness to experiment in the UK has translated into her boldest tour style strategy yet over the past five days.

The Duchess at the Islamabad Model College for Girls October 15. 

More from Ms. Holt’s Telegraph piece. 

On almost every engagement, the duchess has paid tribute to Pakistani dress, wearing different variations of traditional outfits and incorporating clever national symbols. I love that she didn’t simply wear a token shalwar kameez before reverting to her safe ground but has explored the variations in all their intricacies for the different levels of formality during the week.

Meanwhile, the duke and duchess’s team had visited Chelsea boutique O’nitaa to source more upscale looks by Maheen Khan, one of Pakistan’s leading designers and an embroiderer who once worked with Catherine Walker and Co. 

Kate wore two beautiful shalwar kameez looks by Khan during the trip, one in cornflower blue for a visit to a girl’s school and another embroidered teal style to visit Badshahi Mosque (where she draped the dupatta over her head) and the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital.

The cornflower blue outfit is shown above. Below, the teal Maheen Khan worn to the mosque and hospital. 

And from a Hello! column, talking about the teal and gold ensemble seen above:

That outfit in particular caused a run on sales, Maheen recently told BBC Asian Network while she was in London. According to UAE-based website Masala!, the designer said clients came to her asking for the exact same look. But given she had specially created it for the duchess, she didn’t replicate it exactly and made some changes to similar looks she created for those who had seen Kate wearing it.

The Duchess in a Jenny Packham gown at a reception on Day Two of the tour.  

More from Ms. Holt’s column for The Telegraph

The impact of Kate’s tourdrobe has been quite incredible. On social media, Pakistani women have been sending adoring messages telling of the thrill of seeing one of the world’s most famous women wearing similar clothes to those they wear each day. “We loved the way you both respected the culture of Pakistan,” said one social media user, alluding to William’s decision to abandon a suit in favour of a fabulous sherwani for Tuesday’s evening glitzy reception. “Thanks for promoting the the real and positive image of Pakistan,” said another….

Prince William and the Duchess at the reception.

And from a CNN story on the wardrobe: 

Laaleen Sukhera, a Pakistani writer and fashion critic based in Lahore, said in a phone interview that Catherine dressed like “a contemporary, urbane Pakistani woman, classic rather than trendy.”

Below, the Duchess at the National Cricket Academy on the fourth day of the tour in an ensemble that was also worn for the first visit to SOS Children’s Village. 

This comes from a Good Morning America story: 

“Pakistani people are head over heels in love with Kate Middleton’s style since the moment she stepped out of the plane in a light blue Pakistani dress,” Anika Moiz, a marketing strategist, fashion influencer and founder of Boss Women Pakistan, said in an interview with “GMA.”

“The shalwar kameez with dupatta is not currently the most fashionable choice as per current Pakistani fashion trends,” said Moiz.

“While some people are debating that she could have worn more updated styles, I personally think her dresses seem timeless, which is important considering these pictures will be used and referred to even after decades, just like Diana’s style is right now being compared to Kate’s,” she explained.

Below, Kate wearing Elan for the second visit to SOS Children’s Village. 

Also from the GMA story: 

“I liked that she dressed in traditional Pakistani clothes, but still stayed true to her personal sense of style by keeping the looks minimalist and choosing modern cuts,” Ania Fawad, celebrity fashion stylist to some of Pakistan’s biggest stars, told “GMA.” “The outfits were effortlessly chic, nothing looked forced, or like she was trying too hard.”

Here is one more photo of the teal/gold Maheen Khan so we can see the Duchess in her special tiara at the hospital tea party hosted by 7-year-old Wafia Rehmani.

Now for our poll. It’s been so long since the tour, here is a refresher showing the different outfits, starting with the Catherine Walker ensemble worn the first day of the tour.  

Next, the Maheen Khan design from Day Two’s morning engagements.   

Here is the Catherine Walker/Maheen Khan outfit seen at Day Two’s midday functions.  

The Jenny Packham gown the Duchess selected for the Pakistan Monument reception that wrapped up Day Two.

For Day Three’s engagements focused on the environment, the Duchess wore a mix of pieces.

On Day Four, we saw a Gul Ahmed look at SOS Children’s Village and at the National Cricket Academy.

Also seen Day Four, the teal and gold Maheen Khan ensemble worn to the mosque and hospital.

On Day Five, there was an unexpected return to SOS Children’s Village and an ensemble featuring a traditional silk kurta in ivory with black trim by Elan. 

For Day Five’s second engagement at a canine training center, the final event of the tour, the Duchess wore an outfit anchored by a Beulah London coat.  

Many thanks to Susan Courter, my partner on the What Meghan Wore site, for her outstanding graphics and all of her help while I was ill and out of the picture during the tour. 

Here is the poll!   

Take Our Poll
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I’ll see you Tuesday when Kate and William attend a special performance of Dear Evan Hansen at the Noël Coward Theatre in London. (More info here.)

VIDEOS: Here are some of the compilation videos put together during/after the tour.

The Royal Family Channel’s overview of the ‘best tour moments’ runs about 4 minutes.

 

The Royal Family posted a minute of highlights. 

Monique Jessen of People paid a visit to O’NITAA, the boutique where so many of the outfits were sourced. 

The Pakistan Cricket Academy shared a 2-minute video of the couple’s visit. 

LINKAGE

  • Vanessa Friedman’s NY Times piece is here; Bethan Holt’s Daily Telegraph column is here; the Hello! story is here; CNN’s article is here; the GMA piece is here
  • a Vanity Fair overview of the tour is here; a Glamour gallery of all the outfits is here; Town and Country’s gallery has 40+ of the ‘best photos’ here; Hello! has a gallery here with more than 100 of ‘the best’ photos from the tour; RFE’s gallery of oversize photos is here 

 

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