Last week the future Queen stocked up on honeymoon essentials - but Liz doesn't rate her choices
By Liz Jones
Caribbean getaway or an East African retreat? Jordan, the Great Barrier Reef or, God forbid, a staycation in England or (dooooooooom!) a sporting holiday in Scotland?
The destination for Kate and William’s honeymoon is still a closely guarded secret, but the clothes the new bride has chosen to take with her are out of the bag.
On a last-minute sortie along the King’s Road in London at the end of last week, Kate went into Warehouse, spending a hard-to-believe £255 (how anyone can spend more than a fiver in here is beyond me) and then into Whistles, one of her favourite stores.
Here, she picked up a pair of blue and white spotty, high-waisted trousers, a lemon T-shirt and a cream blouse, before browsing in Nicole Farhi, the Ralph Lauren concession in Peter Jones, and Ted Baker.
It is all so casual. And normal. And (apart from Ralph Lauren, which tempts me to place a bet at William Hill on the honeymoon destination featuring tents and the occasional leopard) staggeringly, mind-bogglingly cheap and disappointingly pedestrian.
The Nicole Farhi collection this summer is dreary (it used to be one of my favourite labels, especially for knitwear, about 20 years ago), full of linen drawstring pants and terrible, naff combats. But there are a few pretty, Kate-worthy pieces, such as a soft pink scoop-neck day dress.
And, while Whistles is a great destination for affordable, feminine, not too scarily fashionable pieces, I haven’t been in Warehouse since the early Eighties, so I cannot really vouch for its suitability to clothe our future Queen.
I like Kate’s down-to-earth attitude to fashion, I really do, but a big part of me wishes she would up the ante.
I’m tired of seeing identikit British women at airports in drawstring linen, FitFlops, sparkly vest tops and white broderie anglaise skirts.
I want Kate to make a splash. To make us gasp at every turn. Yes, in order to do this she is bound to make mistakes along the way, and be roundly criticised (and I truly hope she has not sat for the cover of U.S. Vogue, as is rumoured: I can only imagine the airbrushed, super-honed result).
But at least she won’t be boring, and will inspire more of us to think beyond the uniform of ballet flats, khaki capri pants and denim mini skirt that abounds at this time of year.
Perhaps Kate thinks she will not be snapped on her honeymoon, but in her Smythson diary are a limited number of formal photo calls.
WHAT SHE BOUGHT
Getting it wrong: Kate’s pick from the Nicole Farhi summer collection is an orange and white ‘Anders’ dress with black tie, £160 (left) she also went for navy trousers with tiny polkadots, £125, Whistles
This lace blouse, £55, Warehouse, is one of several garments Kate picked up in her shopping spree (right) and a poppy dress, £60, Warehouse
Remember that awful, ill-fitting tweed suit worn by Diana on the banks of some freezing river, with its long skirt and blouson jacket? I doubt Kate will wear anything as frightful, but let’s hope she puts on something that makes her look reminiscent of Grace Kelly in To Catch A Thief.
My main problem with Kate’s shopping spree last week is not her choice of labels, so much as that she shouldn’t be picking up clothes piecemeal, on a whim or, worse, in a last-minute panic.
The problem is, Kate has yet to appoint a personal stylist or wardrobe mistress. Emily Sheffield, the deputy editor of Vogue and Samantha Cameron’s sister, is most definitely not, contrary to many newspaper reports, acting as Kate’s style adviser.
I’m sure Emily won’t mind if I tell you clothes are not really her thing. And when I bumped into Emily inside No 10 before London Fashion Week earlier this year, she told me she had not been invited to the wedding, as she doesn’t even know Kate.
... AND WHAT SHE SHOULD HAVE BOUGHT
Expert opinion: The floral, retro Erdem collection would suit Kate perfectly. I love this green and cream print hanky dress with a prim neckline, about £500, from Net-a-porter.com (left) and a Kaftan in red and cream, £240, tallulahandhope
Accessories with a difference: An eco-friendly ‘boat’ bag made from palm fibre, £60, from Tallulahandhope.com (left) and platforms, £495, by Stella McCartney, strappy sandals, £350, by Manolo Blahnik