Sunday, March 27, 2011

Two Cakes for Kate & Wills

The couple have announced they decided on a "multi-tiered traditional fruit cake" with a floral design, followed by a chocolate biscuit cake that was one of William's childhood favourites to be served at their wedding breakfast following their marriage at Westminster Abbey on April 29.

The main cake, which will take centre stage at the Buckingham Palace reception on April 29, will be made by celebrity cake maker Fiona Cairns who counts former Beatle Paul McCartney and rockers Pink Floyd among her clients.

Cairns said Kate had played a key role in designing the cake.

"She has guided us right from the beginning and has quite strong ideas," said Cairns, who started her business at her kitchen table a quarter of a century ago in Leicestershire, central England.

The cake will be decorated using cream and white icing with a "strong British floral theme" employing the Joseph Lambeth technique, a traditional English style that uses three-dimensional scroll work.

It will contain dried fruits such as raisins and sultanas to walnuts, cherries, grated oranges and lemon, French brandy and free range eggs and flour.

Each tier will be made unique by delicate, handmade decorations that have been personally requested by Kate. The ornate features of Buckingham Palace will be reflected on the cake,but most of the decorations will be floral, and each has a meaning.

"I've been very much learning from her. But she has selected these flowers," said Cairns. "For example, the bridal rose symbolizes happiness, the oak and the acorn symbolize endurance ... and we have a long list. We haven't made Sweet William yet but we will."

The decorations will also feature William and Kate's new cipher, thought to feature the couple's entwined initials, which will be officially released on their wedding day.

But the second, less formal cake will have a special resonance for William. The prince asked British biscuit maker McVitie's to create it according to a special recipe from the kitchens at Buckingham Palace.

"It has a couple of secret ingredients we can't tell you about but it will have dark chocolate, to give it a really nice flavour, and use rich tea biscuits that will be broken up."

McVitie's have made wedding cakes for the royals for decades, including for the diamond wedding anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in 2007.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Where does Kate Middleton Shop?

Although Kate lives with her fiancée in a rented farmhouse in North Wales, she spends a lot of time in London — mostly in the swish neighborhoods of South Kensington, Chelsea, Knightsbridge and Mayfair.

Kate has been called "the high street princess," and by high street, we are referring to mainstream chain stores you'd find in the mall. There are lots of high streets in London, but Kate’s shopping strip of choice is King's Road, is a who's who of contemporary British fashion boutiques, beginning at the Sloane Square end with Duke of York Square, and heading west all the way to the Bluebird Cafe.

Starting with Whistles, where she bought the scalloped-edge ivory blouse she wore in some of the engagement photos, which is located in the outdoor mall at Duke of York Square, fronting King's Road. The brand is a bit like Madewell, not sexy but sweet. For spring, that means a smart-looking fluorescent pink knife-pleat skirt ($154), a black tie-shoulder jumpsuit ($406) and a lucky horse print blouse ($138).

Next door is L.K. Bennett, is where Kate goes for her sensible kitten heels and signature boots. The round-toe, 21/2 -inch Sabira heels resemble Christian Louboutin's Simple pumps but at a fraction of the price, just $147. L.K. Bennett is reminiscent of Ann Taylor pre-makeover — lots of office-appropriate pencil skirts and feminine polka dot blouses (both $203), along with conservative silk jersey dresses ($300) and diamante clutch purses ($276).

Jigsaw London, at the west end of Duke of York Square, is where Middleton worked as an accessories buyer in 2007. It has the prettiness of J. Crew and the bohemian appeal of Anthropologie. For spring, that means $57 Breton stripe shirts, $80 T-shirts with silk rose appliqués, along with fluttery metallic floral dresses ($317) and some very cool-looking Hunter wellies with a distressed finish.

Across the street is Reiss, where Kate scored the sleek cream dress she wore in her engagement photos. Reiss is similar to Club Monaco, with super-chic, modern clothes in the style of Celine and Jil Sander such as a fuchsia silk top with a fluid sleeve ($185), an A-line suede skirt ($365), royal blue silk trousers ($195) and asymmetrical cutout wedge sandals ($295).

Back down King's Road at Sloane Square, Peter Jones is the Middleton family's go-to department store. The store, which feels like a Macy's or Bloomingdale's equivalent, features some of the same brands found on the high street, along with selected designers, including British accessories brand Mulberry.

The hat department at Peter Jones, which stocks feathered and flowered styles by one of Middleton's favorite milliners, Whiteley Fischer (about $290) is a big attraction.

Another source for Middleton's extensive hat wardrobe is Philip Treacy. His salon is east of Sloane Square on Elizabeth Street, along a stretch of retail that could cater to a princess bride's every need — Jenny Packham for dresses, Peggy Porschen for cakes, and Allegra Hicks for honeymoon beach cover-ups. At Treacy's shop, floral headbands go from $487 to $1,300 and couture creations, such as the silver starburst hat in the window that was made for Grace Jones, can run well into the thousands.

A short walk north on Sloane Street toward Knightsbridge, and you'll pass stationery and leather goods store Smythson, the source of Middleton's leather-bound wedding diary, and upscale department store Harvey Nichols, where she has picked up those famously smoking-hot silk jersey plunge-front gowns by BCBG and Issa.

Beauchamp Place, a swanky street that's just a few blocks down Brompton Road past Harrods, was one of Princess Diana's stamping grounds and is a Kate Middleton hangout as well.

Kate loves a bargain, and on Kensington High Street just a few blocks away from Kensington Palace is TK Maxx, the British version of TJ Maxx. She reportedly enjoys riffling through the racks of last season's mirrored Lanvin sandals ($291 down from $991), Valentino tops ($242 from $731) and Alexander McQueen dresses ($761 from $2,567).

Monday, March 21, 2011

Wedding Day Transportation Announced!

Kate Middleton and her husband-to-be will follow in the foot-steps Prince Charles and Diana. The palace has announced that they will be taken from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham palace in the lavish horse-drawn 1902 State Landau. This was the same carriage that carried her father-in-law and late mother-in-law to Buckingham Palace after their nuptuals. The open-topped carriage was originally built for King Edward VII.

William and Kate's landau will lead a procession of five coaches carrying the Maid of Honor (Kate's sister, Pippa), Best Man Prince Harry and the young pages and bridesmaids. One coach will carry Kate's parents, Carole and Michael, and Prince Charles and Camilla, and another will seat the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh.

If rain fills the London skies, the couple will instead get to ride in the famous glass Coach, which was used by Princess Diana on her wedding day 30 years ago.
The Glass Coach was built for the Lord Mayor of London in 1881. It was purchased for the use of the Royal Family in 1911, at the time of the coronation of King George V.

The car chosen to bring Kate and her father Michael Middleton to the Abbey is the same 1977 Rolls Royce Phantom VI that was attacked by rioters when it was carrying Charles and his wife Camilla, to an event in December.

The luxury car was a present to the monarch from the famous car manufacturer to mark her Silver Jubilee in 1977.

The distinctive claret and black car was splattered with white paint and had a rear passenger window badly cracked by the group campaigning against increases to student fees. However, it will be repaired before the April 29th wedding.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Escaping a Parking Ticket in Style

Kate Middleton was able to escape getting a parking ticket with the help of her security people when she parked in Chelsea. She made a speedy 15 minute trip into a Peter Jones Store.

She wore stylish skinny jeans, her signature flat black boots and a pale green fitted jacket. A cream scarf was knotted artfully around her neck and in her hand she held her Prada 'Bowler' bag.

Update 3/16/2013

Kate's jacket has been ID'd. It is by Ralph Lauren (thanks to 'My Small Obsessions' on FB).

'Ralph Lauren Blue Label
Style code: 1463168JECR
Style name: Estate Custom Riding Jacket
Color: 'Patterned - Blue (actually olive green with flecks of brown and seafoam blue)
100% wool


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Do You Want Your Own Burberry Trench Coat?

Selling like hot cakes and sold out in sizes 2R-10R in the beautiful nude color that Kate Middleton wore in Northern Ireland yesterday-you can buy yours too! For a mere $995 not including taxes, shipping and handling you can have one too.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Kate is Chic for Spring!

Prince William and fiancee Kate Middleton made a surprise visit to Northern Ireland today, March 8, 2011.

The princess-to-be wore a flattering ivory-colored, belted cashmere and wool trench. There was a beautiful ruffle detail at the hem and the trench sported double-row, bold black buttons. The designer has been identified as Burberry and can be purchased for £650 ($995). She accessorized with dark hosiery, black high-heeled shoes and a slim black clutch.

Red Suit Designer has been ID'ed!

On Kate Middleton's visit to St. Andrew's last month, she wore a striking red suit. The designer has remained a mystery up until now! The designer has been identified as the little known Italian label of Luisa Spagnoli. The wool suit was purchased from a the Hollie de Keyser boutique in London.

The label is considered to be a "hidden nugget" in the fashion industry and is known for their classy day wear and knits. It is a family run business that dates back to 1928.

The label is not available in the US but they are currently considering distribution.

Update 9/26/2011

We have learned that the red Luisa Spagnoli suit is now back in production due to an overwhelming demand.