Kate Middleton’s appearance at the Earthshot Prize awards ceremony in Boston this past Friday, where she was dressed in a rented statement green evening gown by Solace London, was a clear piece of “pure PR genius,” according to a royal fashion expert.
Miranda Holder, a celebrity stylist and follower of royal fashion, told Newsweek that the dress “fitted perfectly with the ethics of the Earthshot Prize, being a highly sustainable fashion option, and will hopefully influence her many fashion-loving fans to consider trying a rental service themselves.”
The Earthshot Prize is an eco-initiative spearheaded by Prince William that awards funding packages to small businesses to scale up innovative and progressive environmental solutions. The prize was founded in 2020 and had its first awards ceremony in 2021. In line with the ethos of the evening, Kate accompanied her husband to the event re-wearing a 10-year-old Alexander McQueen dress.
Ahead of the 2022 ceremony, held in Boston to honor President John F. Kennedy, whose “moonshot” speech inspired William to start Earthshot, many speculated that Kate would dip into her expansive fashion archive to find something to wear.
To the surprise of many, the new princess of Wales appeared at the MGM Music Hall at Fenway wearing a dress that had not previously been seen. It was later revealed that the graphic pillar cut gown by the label Solace London had been rented by the royal from the British dress agency Hurr.
The “Sabina” dress retails for £350 ($429), but it is available to rent from around $91 through Hurr.
“After playing it fairly safe for the rest of the Boston tour, Kate threw us a clothing curveball with her gown at the prize giving,” Holder said. “Its cleanliness, vivid apple green and clean, linear shape made it one of her most contemporary outfits to date. It was a step away from her usual fit and flare style, and I personally enjoyed the mood change.”
“The Kate effect is still as strong as ever, and there is no doubt that the clothing rental industry has just received a huge boost,” she said. “This has catapulted the concept of garment hire into the consciousness of fashion-loving royal fans all over the world.”
Hurr was founded in 2017 to combat the negative effects that fast fashion has had on the environment, something that Earthshot is concerned about. It was the first time—that we know of—that Kate has worn a rented ensemble for a public event, and royal watchers speculate that we could see more of this in the future.
Owing to the rented nature of the dress, Kate did not wear one of her favorite new pieces of jewelry, a $17,000 brooch worn recently to the South African state banquet at Buckingham Palace. Wearing large brooches can create holes in the fabrics, which could void rental agreements.
Instead, the princess opted for a piece of statement jewelry not worn since the death of Princess Diana in 1997—Queen Mary’s emerald and diamond choker. This necklace dates back to the 1910s and was redesigned by Queen Mary in the 1920s to fit in with the new Art Deco fashion.
Queen Elizabeth II inherited the necklace from her grandmother, Mary, and presented it on lifetime loan to Diana as a wedding present in 1981. The royal famously wore it as a headband on a visit to Australia in 1985 and again in July 1997 on her 36th and last birthday.
“Wearing Queen Mary’s Emerald choker was the perfect finishing touch to such a memorable outfit,” Holder said about Kate wearing the historic necklace.
She continued: “The stunning piece was passed down from Queen Mary to Queen Elizabeth, who never wore it, instead loaning it to Princess Diana. Diana loved the choker, and it was one of the signature pieces in her collection.
“After Diana died, the piece returned to the Palace vaults never to be seen again, until making a comeback in style at the ceremony, which contributed to the overall wow factor of Kate’s look,” Holder said.
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