It’s been just over 31 years, but some things never change.
Less than 24 hours following the birth of the royal baby, Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, showed off her newborn son Tuesday on the stairs of the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital in London, with Prince William at her side.
Wearing a blue and white polka dot dress by British designer Jenny Packham, Middleton sported long locks and looked radiant while holding her new son, smiling and waving to the crowd. While the unveiling of the child itself is a significant historical event of this decade, the blue polka dot dress has even more history.
In 1982, on the very same stairs of St. Mary’s Hospital, the late Princess Diana, then 20-years-old, wore nearly the same dress to show off her son, Prince William. Diana’s dress, by contrast, was more of a teal color and, of course, on par with 1980’s style. The dress, which was very fashion forward for its time, had blousy, puffy sleeves and a white collar with a bow. Diana, who is still considered a sartorial icon today, even acted fashionably during her son’s debut; When the public asked why she left the hospital in less than 24 hours after giving birth to Will, her Palace spokesperson said, “It is the fashionable thing to do.”
Meanwhile, Middleton chose a lighter colored, cornflower blue cap-sleeved dress that hit right above her knee. The dress also showed off her mini baby bump, while Diana hid hers in a more flowy silhouette. While the styles, colors and cuts were very different, – after all, fashion over three decades inevitably will change – both Kate and Diana opted to wear blue polka dot dresses. Coincidence? I think not.
Either way, Middeton fans seem to love the blue polka dot dress trend. According to The Daily Mail, a similar blue polka dot dress, not designed by Packham, sold out on George.com within five minutes. George at Asda also reported increased sales in polka-dotted shorts, chiffon shirts, skirts, vests, bikinis, tops and ballet pumps. George.com told The Mail “polka dot” was the number one most-searched term on the clothing retailer’s website.
As for the authentic dress designed by Packham, who has made countless outfits for Middleton before, has not released a statement other than an email blast about the Duchess’ wares. But, one has to wonder, since Packham made this dress especially for the day (the press released described the dress as “bespoke” which, in the fashion world, means custom-made) did the British designer – and Middleton, who denied to knowing the gender of the baby all along during her pregnancy – know the sex of the baby? If the royal baby turned out to be a girl, would she have worn a separate pink dress? Or was the blue polka dot ensemble planned all along to pay homage to the late Princess Diana, a notion separate from the baby’s gender?
Either way, we’ll rule this “Who Wore It Better?” battle as a tie.