The Duchess of Cambridge attended the Tusk Conservation Awards in London last night wearing a teal chiffon and lace Jenny Packham gown that she had worn six years ago to a concert marking the countdown to the London Olympics. As headlines praising “thrifty Kate” for also recycling the same accessories – a matching Jenny Packham clutch, Jimmy Choo Vamp sandals and chandelier earrings on loan from the Queen’s collection – began to circulate, one might ask why rewearing a dress is still something to be commended for.
The Duchess originally commissioned Packham to make a bespoke version of her Aspen wedding gown for the May 2012 Olympic celebration. The Swarovski crystal-embellished bodice and belted pleated skirt with crystal and flower adornment were all reworked in brilliant blue-green for impact – a feature that would obviously make the dress easily identifiable should she wear it again.
But, as sustainability slowly starts to become an inescapable conversation, why does red-carpet wear not fit into the forum of rewearing fashion? The Duchess is often photographed sporting the slim-fit Zara jeans and Penelope Chilvers boots that have become her staples, but if she “recycles” a gown it generates numerous column inches. When red-carpet wear is the most labour intensive and least cost effective category, keeping it within the fashion system should be the norm. We need to retrace our footsteps to make it so – and a high profile figure, like the Duchess, is a welcome step in the right direction.