If you think you pack far in advance, consider this: The Duchess of Cambridge is currently sketching out what she will have to pack for her more than 45 different engagements during April’s three week tour of New Zealand and Australia.
That could mean more than 30 different outfits worn to visit at least 13 towns and cities — and that’s not including what she might wear for traveling and the few days off that have been built into the schedule for private family time with Prince William and baby George.
So, has Kate decided which of the Queen’s jewels she’ll be bringing on this trip? While aides tell PEOPLE there are no tiara-wearing events, there are evening receptions with the governor-generals of both countries, when there is the opportunity for major jewelry.
Kate will likely also choose pieces for the daytime much like the Queen’s diamond Maple Leaf brooch she wore during her tour of Canada in 2011. Palace insiders concede that she will be considering similar symbols of respect for the local communities both in jewelry and dresses.
Her private secretary Rebecca Deacon says, “I’m sure she’ll be looking at all the options. I don’t know what she is wearing but I’m sure she will take it into account.”
So what designers might that include? Top British fashion commentator Hilary Alexander tells PEOPLE, “I think the basis of her wardrobe is going to be her favorites like Jenny Packham (above left), [Alexander] McQueen (center) … and Emilia Wickstead (right, during Kate’s pregnancy). Based on what she did in Singapore when she wore Prabal Gurung and in Canada when she wore Erdem — she might well dip into a few Australian and New Zealand designers.” That scores a point for Wickstead, who is based in London but born in New Zealand.
Other Kiwi designers Alexander has an eye on: “Karen Walker, who dresses people like Liv Tyler, Claire Danes and Madonna … [and] Trelise Cooper, although her designs are perhaps a little flamboyant. There is a designer in Auckland called Adrienne Winkelmann who is great.”
In Australia, Alexander predicts Kate “may revisit Collette Dinnigan … there’s also designers like Sass and Bide. She might get a nice top or tunic from them to wear with her jeans if there is a more casual event. Then there’s Carla Zampatti who does quite classic but dramatic evening wear.”
We took a look at the runways to see some options that Kate could choose from, below. From left, Karen Walker has a sophisticated and lightweight day dress that would look good with Kate’s favorite Stuart Weitzman wedges; Collette Dinnigan has created a gown that’s right in Kate’s wheelhouse in terms of draping, color and coverage; and Sass and Bide has some pretty jeweled tops that would look great under a blazer with jeans.
Though Kate’s been rewearing many pieces from her wardrobe lately, Alexander thinks we won’t see many repeats on this tour. “She has so many engagements. Her clothes have been so widely photographed — she might want a completely new look. And it’s going to be April, a new season.”
Though it will be warmer than the U.K. (especially in Uluru, Australia where she may well need a parasol in the extreme heat), temperatures will mostly be mild. “In April it will be the beginning of their autumn so it wont be blazing hot. She will be able to wear dresses with sleeves,” says Alexander.
But that doesn’t mean that we’ll see any attempts from Kate at appearing more deliberately mumsy. “She hasn’t so far has she?” asks Alexander. “Maybe when she is off-duty but when she is on parade on official functions, she is going to stick to the style that works for her.”
What would you like to see Kate wear? Any favorite Australian or NZ designers? Let us know below!
–Monique Jessen and Simon Perry