This morning Kate Middleton and Prince William were ten minutes late to their first official public appearance since getting engaged at Trearddur Bay Lifeboat Station at Anglesey, where the couple will live and where William currently serves as a search-and-rescue pilot. (Just on Monday, he tried to help paramedics save a woman who had fallen off a cliff.) Today's mission was not just for Kate to be out in an outfit among her fans, but for the couple to launch — and name — a lifeboat. Kate knew just the thing to wear: feathers on her head and a camel coat.
As Kate opens Champagne on that boat today, her wedding dress designer remains very much a mystery. "I think she's got someone she's discovered, like her own secret discovery, and it'll be made in absolutely top secret conditions and we won't know until on the day but I suspect it'll be something beautiful," Telegraph fashion critic Hilary Alexander told Reuters. Apparently names floating about in the pool of potentials include Phillipa Lepley, Matthew Williamson, and Victoria Beckham. Kate's never been a big pattern person so we can't see her going for Williamson, but is Beckham really a possibility? Her dresses are elegant and simple, so you never know, even though it's not like Beckham needs the money (or exposure). However, she might be too hip for Kate, who, Vivienne Westwood notes, isn't a big fashion freak. "I would have loved to have dressed Kate Middleton," says Westwood, who unsurprisingly admits she is not designing The Dress. "But I have to wait until she kind of catches up a bit somewhere with style."
But whoever is designing her gown is certainly not going to show it. Diana's wedding dress designer went through a big charade to hide what she was up to:
Elizabeth Emanuel said she had had to bring in security guards and put Diana's dress in a safe every night to fend off reporters who camped out on the doorstep, gawped through the windows and rummaged through the rubbish bins looking for clues.
"We used to leave bits of different colored threads and things to put them on the wrong track and we had to put blinds up so that people couldn't peer through the windows," she said.
So designers looking for publicity in the U.K. now know a good strategy might involve putting a bunch of white thread in the garbage.
Now, watch Kate at the raft launch today!