The Duchess Of Cambridge Sets A Diplomatic Fashion Agenda in Pakistan
The Duchess of Cambridge touched down at Nur Khan Airbase in Islamabad on the evening of October 14 wearing custom Catherine Walker separates that set the tone for the diplomatic fashion she would be deploying on the royal tour ahead.
Media outlets were quick to suggest that Kate’s aquamarine ombré dress and trousers bore resemblance to the conservative two-piece Diana, Princess of Wales, wore during her Pakistan tour in 1996. Whether it was an intentional nod to the path her mother-in-law trod over a decade before her or not, respect was clearly at the forefront of the Duchess’s mind when planning her opening look. The Catherine Walker design was akin to the silhouette of a shalwar kameez – a traditional combination dress worn by women, and in some regions by men, in Asia – which Kate chose one of her trusted designers to create for her.
This thoughtful tribute to Pakistani symbols and sartorial traditions continued on the first full day of the five-day visit. The Duchess took a tour of the Islamabad Model College for Girls wearing a blue kurta and scarf by local designer Maheen Khan, whose work also spans film costumes. She completed the loose-fitting collarless shirt with detailed embroidery, as she had done on day one, with a variation of her fail-safe nude pumps. The first engagement was to show the weight the Cambridges put on education and, in particular, to highlight the importance of higher studies for girls.
As the tour, which Kensington Palace has declared is the couple’s “most complex” to date, continues, it will be interesting to see how the Duchess continues to be mindful of the culture that is welcoming her, while also bringing in concerns shaping the British fashion landscape, such as sustainability, and waving the flag for homegrown UK designers, as she has done on previous state visits. All the while creating history-book worthy moments of the royal family’s mission to strengthen ties between the two countries.