Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Princess Kate and Northwest Territories Style

UPDATED with a runway photo of Isaac Mizrahi's superb totem pole dress.

Today Kate and Will were in Yellowknife, a city in Canada's Northwest Territories.  Her look was understated, a taupe unembellished dress and heels.

But the native people she met provided plenty of sartorial colorful, textural contrast, as in the image to the right. 

The Dene people are well known for beautiful embroidery, using both moose tufts and porcupine quills.  One of their celebrated designers is my hero from the mid-1980s, D'Arcy Moses, who made a glorious totem evening dress that I cannot find an image of, try as I might.

However, other designers have been employing (dare I say appropriating?) the totem motif to beautiful effect.

Perhaps the best known is Isaac Mizrahi's gown, worn by Naomi Campbell in 1991:

on the runway:

and by a humble mannequin:

But there's also Erin Wasson's very cool dress:

as seen on thefujifiles.com
and a similar one by Lindsey Thornburg:

Even Versace makes a totem-inspired frock:

and Copenhagen designers Tine Winther Rysgaard and Trine Maja Kristoffersen  borrow elements as well:

But don't forget the stunning dress worn by Kathy Hartman, Miss Alaska-Universe, in 1971:

It's actually missing and its designer Leah Clemmons-Madonna would like it back.

I would love it if Princess Catherine would purchase some clothing from the Northwest territories--a parka? an embroidered pair of moccasins?  a moose-tufted barrette (like I did) and wear it at home.  Or wouldn't it be smashing if she wore a totem evening gown?


The Mighty J said...

A bright and bold totem evening gown would be a very welcome feature in her otherwise dowdy wardrobe. Sorry she dresses well (hey she isn't flashing her unmentionables unlike other famous people THANK GOD), but I wish she would occasionally wear something bold, colourful and youthful instead of looking like a washed out old maid.

WendyB said...

OMG, love the Mizrahi. I tried on the Versace the other day! I preferred a white sleeveless one to the tan one with short sleeves, but they didn't have my size. Too bad, because it was on deep sale!

Miss Cavendish said...

J -- maybe Kate will step it up for LA!

WB -- the Mizrahi is completely embroidered, to boot!

aracne said...

I love this post, didn't know about the totem motif inspired dresses. Didn't know about the Dene people emboidery and I wonder what 'moose tufts' might be.
The Mizrahi's gown is amazing.