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Rediff.com  » Getahead » IMAGES: Queen of Style: Kate's first year

IMAGES: Queen of Style: Kate's first year

Last updated on: April 30, 2012 18:32 IST

IMAGES: Queen of Style: Kate's first year

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Prince William and Kate Middleton celebrated their first wedding anniversary yesterday. We take a look at how the Duchess of Cambridge's fashion sense has evolved over the past year, ever since she stepped into royal shoes!

It's been 12 months since the they tied the knot on April 29, 2011, but the hoopla surrounding them continues to build.

Although the royal couple decided to celebrate their first anniversary in a rather low-key manner which didn't involve any public appearances, hardly a week goes by without capturing them on camera; particularly Kate, who has won hearts the world over ever since she married her Prince Charming.

And more than her gracious demeanour and lovely smile, it's the erstwhile Miss Middleton's fashion statements that attract all the attention -- whatever she wears today is tomorrow's rage!

Nominated to several best-dressed lists over the years (even before she was married), she's particularly endeared herself to female fans by stepping out in affordable, high-street designs and even mixing them with high-end couture despite her royal status.

Stores sell out any design Kate is seen in within hours and her style picks are constantly under intense scrutiny, with a usually favourable outcome -- like the lilac gown seen here, an Alexander McQueen creation that she wore to the BAFTA Brits To Watch event in Los Angeles, California, last June. She completed the look with a Jimmy Choo clutch, Vamp platform sandals and earrings borrowed from the Queen.

In the following pages, we bring you the Duchess of Cambridge's celebrated wardrobe in pictures from her first year as royalty -- take a look!


Image: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrives at the BAFTA Brits To Watch event held at the Belasco Theatre on July 9, 2011 in Los Angeles, California
Photographs: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

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Affordable elegance

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For their first official engagement as a royal couple, Wills and Kate received the Obamas at Buckingham Palace in May last year and it was the first sign of Kate-mania following their wedding.

The beautiful brunette gave haute couture a miss in favour of a bandage-style beige dress by UK high street retailer Reiss that cost 175 pounds. Not only did she show up first ladies Michelle Obama and Samantha Cameron (both fashionistas in their own right who were decked up in ensembles costing thousands), but her choice of outfit caused the retailer's website to crash.

Reiss shops across the UK began selling out and an employee from one of their stores told the Daily Mail that 20 copies of the dress were sold online within two minutes of her photographs being published.


Image: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge in conversation with First Lady Michelle Obama at Buckingham Palace on May 24, 2011 in London, England
Photographs: Toby Melville - WPA Pool/Getty Images

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Working the red carpet

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That isn't to say of course, that the Duchess doesn't dress up to the nines when the occasion demands it.

Here she is seen at the ARK 10th Anniversary Gala Dinner on June 9, 2011 in London wearing a stunning Swarovski-embellished Jenny Packham gown in pale pink. The cost of the design by this high-end couturier was an eye-watering $5,015!


Image: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attends the ARK 10th Anniversary Gala Dinner at Perk's Field on June 9, 2011 in London, England
Photographs: Arthur Edwards - WPA/Getty Images

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Military chic

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Later that month, the prince and his new wife headed off to the Victoria Barracks in Windsor, to present service medals to members of the Irish Guards.

As befitted a military event, Kate wore an Alexander McQueen coat dress embellished with gold buttons and epaulettes. A hair fascinator, high-heeled pumps and a gold brooch in the shape of a shamrock (the emblem of the Irish Guards) set off the outfit.


Image: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrives at the Victoria Barracks on June 25, 2011 in Windsor, England
Photographs: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

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Lace looker

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The royal couple then hopped across the pond in July for their first official tour together, visiting Canada and the US.

Kate generated as much of a buzz in the press abroad, with each outfit she stepped out in described and commented upon in detail.

Here she is seen wearing a blue lace-trimmed Erdem day dress and L K Bennett shoes as she attends a morning service onboard the HMCS Montreal in Champlain Harbour, Quebec.


Image: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attends a morning service onboard the HMCS Montreal in Champlain Harbour on July 3, 2011 in Quebec, Canada
Photographs: Mark Large-Pool/Getty Images

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Casual cool

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Of course, an official tour doesn't mean you have to step out all decked up all the time!

The Duchess showed off her casual side while on her Canadian tour too, donning J Brand skinny jeans that cost only $170 and showed off her pins to perfection. A fitted grey shirt and flats added just the right touch.


Image: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrives to board a seaplane bound for Blachford Lake at the Old Town Float Base on July 5, 2011 in Yellowknife, Canada
Photographs: Chris Jackson/Getty Images
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Cowgirl class

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Kate even got into the spirit of things as she attended the Calgary Stampede (one of Canada's biggest annual rodeos), donning bootcut denims by Goldsign (285 pounds), a white Temperley London blouse and traditional 10-gallon hat for the festivities.


Image: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge arrive at the lauch of the Calgary Stampede on July 8, 2011 in Calgary, Canada
Photographs: Phil Noble - Pool/Getty Images

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Winter wardrobe

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In November 2011, the prince and duchess headed off to Copenhagen in Denmark for a royal visit to the UNICEF Emergency Supply Centre.

Here Kate rocked a retro-inspired L. K. Bennett coat and belt with black suede knee-high boots.


Image: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (R) and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark arrive for a visit to the UNICEF Emergency Supply Centre on November 2, 2011 in Copenhagen, Denmark
Photographs: Phil Noble - WPA Pool/Getty Images

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Mix and match

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It mustn't have been quite as nippy in London last December, however; a charity music concert by Gary Barlow saw Kate put her fabulous legs on display once more in black stockings and a rather mini (at least by her standards!) number.

Not surprisingly, it was from Spanish high-street brand Zara and cost only 69.99 pounds, although her fashionable Ralph Lauren jacket must have cost considerably more!


Image: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrives for a Gary Barlow concert at the Royal Albert Hall on December 6, 2011 in London, England
Photographs: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

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Black velvet

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She was even more bold and that much more beautiful at The Sun Military Awards later that month, when she shone in a strapless black velvet gown with a frill trim at the bustline and a fishtail skirt.

Again, the designer of choice was Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen, who also created the Duchess' wedding dress. And for those who want to know, it cost 4,000 pounds!


Image: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attends The Sun Military Awards at Imperial War Museum on December 19, 2011 in London, England
Photographs: John Stillwell- WPA Pool/Getty Images

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Sober style

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A week later, Kate embraced a more sober style as she visited a homeless shelter along with her husband.

Her Ralph Lauren olive-green jersey dress cost 350 pounds (it sold out online within hours, as usual) and she teamed it with a thick belt that accentuated her tiny waist and a sexy pair of knee-length suede boots.


Image: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visits homeless charity 'Centrepoint' in Camberwell on December 21, 2011 in London, England
Photographs: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

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Racy in lace

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It was time to stun again, though, at a movie premiere this January when she opted for a floor-sweeping lace dress from Temperley London -- custom couture, costing thousands, no doubt!


Image: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attends the UK premiere of War Horse at Odeon Leicester Square on January 8, 2012 in London, England
Photographs: Tim Whitby/Getty Images

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Grecian glimpse

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It's worth noting that while her daywear is fairly uniform in terms of taste, Kate is a chameleon on the red carpet.

Another noteworthy look she executed was in this Grecian gown at a dinner hosted in aid of the National Memorial Arboretum Appeal in London last November. Silvery and draped over one shoulder, the Jenny Packham design added softness to her athletic frame and is believed to have cost upward of $2,000.


Image: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (L) talks to people at a reception in aid of the National Memorial Arboretum Appeal at St James's Palace on November 10, 2011 in London, England
Photographs: Lefteris Pitarakis - WPA Pool/Getty Images

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Coat couture

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On a visit to a luxury department store along with her mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law last month, Kate was quite befittingly the demure royal, looking striking in a coat from Italian giant M by Missoni and teal suede pumps costing 375 pounds from Rupert Sanderson.


Image: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall depart after visiting the Fortnum And Mason Store on March 1, 2012 in London, England
Photographs: Ian Gavan/Getty Images

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Sporty fun

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A few days later, she let her hair down once more playing hockey with the GB hockey teams at the Olympic Park in London.

Wearing a pair of skinny jeans from Zara (note the on-trend coral colour!), an official GB jacket and Adidas trainers, she got in some action at the arena.


Image: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge plays hockey with the GB hockey teams at the Riverside Arena in the Olympic Park on March 15, 2012 in London, England
Photographs: Chris Jackson - WPA Pool /Getty Images
Tags: Zara , London

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Like a princess

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And here are Wills and his ladylove pictured last week at another movie premiere in the UK.

As the prince gallantly shielded her from the rain, Kate dazzled in a grey Matthew Williamson peplum dress with green, yellow and gold stone embellishments both on the sleeves and the neckline.

With this latest photograph, Kate's first year as a royal and fashion icon comes to a close. Let's wait and watch for what comes next!


Image: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend the UK Premiere of 'African Cats' in aid of Tusk at BFI Southbank on April 25, 2012 in London, England
Photographs: Chris Jackson - WPA Pool /Getty Images

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