It was only when I saw Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, in this dress that I realised she was a woman of style. Up until this moment (and I have met her in the flesh) I saw this lady as a slightly dumpy older woman dressed in middle of the road country clothes. Windsmore. Or Vyella.
Of course most women make a special effort on their wedding day, getting their hair and make up done specially. And of course many of us are supremely happy when we marry our true love, the centre of attention and affection for a whole day, surrounded by our dearest family and friends. Even so, she looks amazing. There is more to her look than just the cat that got the King. The outfit really, really works for her. Again, I have seen this outfit in the flesh, and it is very pretty with hand painted gold decoration on the coat and a nice, subtle mismatch between the bluer dress and the greener coat. And the hat really is fabulous, composed of feathers covered in gold leaf.
The designer is Anna Valentine, with the hat by Philip Treacy. West London designer Valentine has produced some excellent dresses for Camilla who is not the easiest shape to dress – and she will never look like Princess Diana. With her broad shoulders, high hips, large low bust and minimal waist shaping her slim legs and ankles are her best feature. Her colouring is rather light and generally she wears her hair in an unflattering style, with a centre parting and flick ups. The golden colour can look good, although sometimes it looks a bit brassy, in my view. Anna Valentine has chosen to dress her in light colours, in luxurious fabrics and simple striking lines. But the best thing about these outfits are the stylish hats – rather original and flattering. I especially like the loose turquoise flower selection, and I so much prefer the cooler colour she has got on her hair which I think is truer to her light-cool colouring and bright blue eyes.
Prince Charles looks amazing in the same photograph in his steel grey morning suit. If any gentlemen have read this far, please note that he actually looks much better in this colour scheme than the black tail coat. Black is not for everyone.
I am not saying I would want to wear these outfits, although I would give the middle hat a go. But I think they really work well on the Duchess of Cornwall combining suitability for the event, a great shape and length for the wearer, with just a little bit of English eccentricity. And Kudos to Anna Valentine and Philip Treacy – Great British designers.