There was one thing totally different about Kate Middleton at this weekend’s BAFTA awards. The white costume, the black gloves, the air of mischief.

Strolling the purple carpet at what has been known as Britain’s reply to the Oscars on Sunday, the Princess of Wales had the giddy smile of somebody who’d received a radio contest to fulfill their favorite celeb. (And because the dad or mum of three babies, a elaborate evening out most likely did really feel as thrilling as a meet-n-greet with Harry Kinds.)

Beaming, Kate strutted previous the banks of photographers, seeming to luxuriate of their consideration, laughing and joking with folks round her. At one second, she held fingers with William, wanting modern in a black Tom Ford tux; at one other, she was noticed giving him a saucy pat on the bum.

Briefly, Kate was feeling herself, and this new-found confidence was additionally clearly expressed with what she was sporting. She felt good within the look, clearly, however there’s extra to it than that. That BAFTA costume and its fastidiously chosen equipment learn like a manifesto, a press release of function that’s speaking precisely what Kate desires us to find out about her on this second.

Let’s dissect.

1. Kate’s divisive black gloves

Kate Middleton’s BAFTAs costume was the last word vogue assertion

The jury is out on whether or not Kate’s armpit-grazing black opera gloves landed, sartorially talking. For each comparability to Audrey Hepburn within the feedback sections, we noticed a reference to a vet suiting as much as ship a recalcitrant foal.

That she took this threat in any respect, nonetheless, reveals a stage of playfulness that we haven’t seen a lot in Kate’s latest period of tailor-made trousers, matching coats and monochromatic company girlie minimalism. The gloves are possible a tribute to the late Queen, who liked an opera glove along with her black tie, however they’re additionally a nod to what’s occurring in vogue proper now, reminding us that Kate continues to be, in actual fact, a younger girl who most likely pinned Beyoncé’s 2023 Grammys look (full with elbow-length gloves) to her Pinterest inspo board too.

To research it one layer additional, nothing says “princess” greater than a pair of lengthy, silken gloves. Kate has spent the final short time attempting to downplay that facet of her function — evidenced by the latest transfer to maintain her clothes intentionally practical and never sharing the small print of her appears to be like, to direct protection to concentrate on her causes — so it’s fascinating to see her embracing it actually on the first formal event she will get. Getting the steadiness proper is hard — too “princess-y” and also you’re a caricature; not “princess-y” sufficient and also you don’t ship the magic mud monarchy thrives off. (To not point out, in some quarters something too Ye Olde Monarchy capabilities as catnip to these with republican sentiments.) For Kate, it’s made doubly troublesome due to the advantageous line of veneration vs competitors she has to stroll with the legacy of Diana, former Princess of Wales.

Tossing on a pair of Cinderella-style gloves looks like an act of lightness — which we like to see, given how closely this function should weigh — however it might be rather more thought of than you’d suppose.

2. The recycled costume

If Kate’s BAFTA costume regarded acquainted, you’re not imagining issues: It’s the identical Alexander McQueen costume she wore to these exact same awards again in 2019, simply with a reworked neckline that changed fluttery cloth flowers with a flowy shoulder tie.

Kate isn’t any stranger to a rewear, however there’s one thing in regards to the specificity of this selection that begs evaluation. That costume — floaty, frilly, girly, slightly bridal — embodies Kate’s outdated model, again earlier than she began experimenting with power-shoulder capes just like the Jenny Packham she wore to the State Banquet final yr or the extreme minimalism of the off-the-shoulder Roland Mouret costume we noticed on the High Gun premiere. It’s additionally harking back to what she wore on that ill-fated Caribbean tour earlier final yr, when her extravagant robes added another bitter word to a symphony of fake pas.

So why’s she bringing the floaty look again now? Maybe the swerve the opposite method was an overcorrection, an experiment within the extra streamlined “fashionable” model favoured by Meghan Markle. Perhaps Kate tried it out, and he or she simply wasn’t feeling like herself, so she made a press release by bringing again the “outdated Kate,” with simply sufficient of a modification to indicate there’s been an evolution alongside the best way. Being a royal has felt like such a severe enterprise currently (and, to be clear, it’s) however it looks like Kate’s reminding us and herself of the great bits too.

Additionally: Rewearing the identical costume to the identical event is an environmental and monetary sustainability flex.

3. The dangly Zara earrings

The princess chose a sparkly pair of earrings by high-street brand Zara.

Whereas they’re undoubtedly not sustainable, Kate’s selection of high-street sparklers was one other nod to Britain’s present nationwide temper, the place the price of dwelling disaster makes $30 for a brand new pair of earrings really feel like a splurge for a lot of. Not breaking out some gargantuan royal bling was a thought of selection right here, according to Camilla’s latest announcement that she’s going to re-wear an outdated crown for her coronation, and swap out its controversial diamonds whereas she’s at it.

All of this didn’t cease the earrings from being gloriously OTT, nonetheless, which, additionally looks like a glimpse right into a model of Kate we haven’t seen shortly: Joyful, assured sufficient to perhaps get it mistaken, and having enjoyable with the very bizarre life that’s being a royal.

Sarah Laing is a Toronto-based freelance contributor for The Equipment and the Star, writing about celeb and tradition. Comply with her on Twitter: @sarahjanelaing


Conversations are opinions of our readers and are topic to the Code of Conduct. The Star
doesn’t endorse these opinions.