The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange reception hosted by The Countess of Wessex & The Duchess of Cambridge

Yesterday, 19th February, The Duchess of Cambridge and the Countess of Wessex hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace on behalf of the Queen during London Fashion Week to celebrate and showcase a new creative initiative – the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange. TRH’s were joined by Princess Beatrice. The reception took place at the Music Room of the Palace. The reception brought together influential people from across the global fashion industry, including designers, manufacturers, textile producers, and craftspeople. On a side note, it was lovely to see The Countess and The Duchess together for a joint engagement.

Launched on February 1st, by the Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange aims to create partnerships between established and emerging talent from across the 52 member countries, in the lead up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London this April. The initiative uses fashion as a common language and platform to help people understand the modern Commonwealth in a different way.
© The Royal Family via Twitter

It celebrates creativity, sustainable production and manufacturing, trade links and ethical supply chains across the fashion industry, from business and design to textile and fabric design and manufacturing, to craft and artisan skills. Over the last six months, major fashion designers such as Stella McCartney (UK), Karen Walker (New Zealand) and Bibi Russell (Bangladesh) have partnered with artisan producers in small nations who exemplify traditional handcraft techniques and trades, with a view to creating a ‘skills exchange’.
© The Royal Family via Twitter

The reception at Buckingham Palace showcased the best of Commonwealth contemporary fashion and creativity with an exhibition of some of the bespoke fashion ‘looks’ which are the result of these exchanges. To learn more about the ‘fashion exchange’ stories & created looks, click here. The Countess of Wessex who is a patron of London College of Fashion, had a chance to chat to artisans and designers at the reception. HRH has a keen interest in London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion – which aims to re-examine business and artistic practices in the fashion industry.
© The Royal Family via Twitter

Sophie has chosen to wear a dress by Burberry, her choice of wardrobe was ‘explained’ by the Telegraph: “the Countess of Wessex nodded to the biggest story of London Fashion Week- the departure of Christopher Bailey from Burberry- by wearing a black cocktail dress from the house. Burberry is one of the design partners representing the UK in the programe which is also supported by Swarovski and The Woolmark Company and has been created ahead of April’s Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting.” I think it was a lovely look, which suited the occasion. The one thing I would have change though, shoes. With this dress I would have seen some more fashion-forward ankle boots.
© The Royal Family via Twitter

According to Rebecca English, who was at the reception, it was “Nice to see Kate and Sophie together today. Kate led the royal party in, by order of precedence, But, interestingly, Sophie was noticeably the more confident, relaxed and assured in front of the cameras.” The Duchess (in Erdem) met artisans from around the Commonwealth and heard stories such as this about a partnership between Karen Walker and a cooperative of women from the Cook Islands, who are expert in the craft of ‘tivaivai’. Princess Beatrice (in Erdem as well) also attended the evening at Buckingham Palace and spent time with designers and artisans finding out all about the Commonwealth.
© The Royal Family via Twitter

A global audience will also have access to view the designs through an online exhibition to be created on the Google Arts and Culture website. This platform will create a new community and network, which includes an evolving directory of artisans and designers from across the Commonwealth countries. As a trivia, the headdresses displayed on each of the mannequins in the State Rooms during the reception, were created using 6,000 pieces of reclaimed paper from the film Fast Furious 6. The plinths were also reclaimed from the set of BBC Doctor Who.
© The Royal Family via Twitter

Guests at the event included: Anna Wintour (editor-in-chief of Vogue since 1988), Edward Enninful (British Vogue editor), Anya Hindmarch, Stella McCartney, Alice Temperley, Naomi Campbell, Jane Taylor, Erin O’Connor and many others. You will read more at the Telegraph, here; Hello Magazine, here; People, here; In Style, here; Mirror, here; and Daily Mail, here.

Outfit & jewellery:
New, Contrast Topstitch Detail Crepe V-neck Dress by Burberry.
Earrings, finally after few years an ID with thanks to Royal Reporters, by Lucia Odescalchi – an Italian brand. Sophie wears version of gold drusy squared earrings.
UFO ‘S’ pendant.
It looks like Sophie also has a  Fitbit Alta™ Fitness Wristband.
Most likely Jimmy Choo Romy 100 velvet pumps in Ballet Pink.

2 thoughts on “The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange reception hosted by The Countess of Wessex & The Duchess of Cambridge

  1. Anonymous

    Was pleased to see our Sophie and Kate on a joint engagement. They seem to get along really well. As for Sophie, she looks (apart from the shiny shoes) lovely. Love the cut and style of the dress, very flattering. Her hair up and styled is worth noting too.
    Wishing Lady Louise a speedy recovery after her skiing accident.


  2. Intrigued By Royals

    Love, love, love Sophie's hair. She looks very elegant and her dress looks great on her! I also would like to wish Lady Louise a speedy recovery!


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