June 7, 2012

Does Kate Middleton only own ONE pair of shoes? (13 PICS)

She wore them to the Epsom Derby last June. To Prince Philip’s 90th birthday at Windsor. To attend Zara Phillips’s wedding, and on a visit to the Royal Marsden Hospital, London.

On tour in Canada and the U.S., she was seen in them six times. On Sunday, she chose them for the Royal Barge. And on Tuesday she put them on to attend the service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s cathedral.

Just what is it about Kate and her £185 pair of LK Bennett nude patent courts? Perhaps she bought a dozen pairs of the Sledge Court Shoe, first produced in 2009, as she loved them so much? Perhaps they are such good value and never scuff.

Despite their four-inch heel, they must be comfy, given they have been worn in so wonderfully (the Queen asks her dresser, Angela Kelly, to break in shoes for her. Kate clearly has no need of such a service). 

What’s more, at St Paul’s, Samantha Cameron wore the same pair, only in black. For after they became such a success, LK  Bennett brought out a Sledge 2: identical, but in a patent leather rather than a high-shine leather.

June 4, 2011: Derby Day at Epsom racecourse, left. June 12, 2011: Philip’s 90th birthday in Windsor

In the more recent photos, Kate is wearing the patent version — which means she definitely has at least a pair to wear and a pair to air.

So what is wrong with Kate endlessly showcasing a High Street shoe? Well, my feeling is it’s her job to surprise us, and showcase up-and-coming British talent.

The ‘safe’ nude shoe is very much a 2011 trend, as is the slim platform; seen endlessly on the High Street.

I understand Kate’s need for a platform, given it makes a high heel more comfortable, as the foot is at a less acute angle. But, surely,  if the Queen can eschew a platform, so can the Duchess.

July 2, 2011: In Ottawa on her Canadian tour, left. July 3, 2011: Stepping out in Quebec

Kate has occasionally patronised other shoe brands: Jimmy Choo twice, Pied a Terre once, and an Aquatalia Rumba boot — an awful suede affair. And wedge espadrilles, too. All pretty ghastly.
But what should Kate be putting on those size seven feet?

Kate should patronise Aruna Seth, a 30-year-old British-born designer who makes wonderful shoes that hover around the £600 to £800 mark. I love her Lynn strappy sandals in silver, £625, worn by sister Pippa.

Or show courtier Georgina Goodman, who sadly went into liquidation in May, but she still hopes to make bespoke commissions.

July 30, 2011: At Zara Phillips’s wedding, left. September 29, 2011: At the Royal Marsden

Or how about patronising the new generation of shoe couturiers, such as Rupert Sanderson, Charlotte Dellal, Camilla Skovgaard and Tracey Neuls?

I’ve heard the predictable argument that, in a recession, Kate should not splash the cash. This is wrong. This nation will only become great again if we buy British, and Kate’s job is to inspire and ignite our passion for fashion (remember retail is the UK’s biggest employer), not bore us with Bennetts.

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