Friday 18 October 2019

Caitlin McBride: 'Why Poland's first lady Agata Duda should be added to your must-follow style list'

(L) President of Poland Andrzej Duda and the first Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda during an official visit by the Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge on July 17, 2017 in Warsaw, Poland. (Photo by Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images)
(L) President of Poland Andrzej Duda and the first Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda during an official visit by the Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge on July 17, 2017 in Warsaw, Poland. (Photo by Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images)
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (L) with the first Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda (R) walk on the red carpet during an official visit by the Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge on July 17, 2017 in Warsaw, Poland. (Photo by Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images)
President of Poland Andrzej Duda and his wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda arrive for the state dinner at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, on October 24, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Lehtikuva / Martti Kainulainen
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump greet Poland's President Andrzej Duda and his wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda at the South Portico of the White House in Washington, DC on June 12, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)
Fumihito, Crown Prince Akishino of Japan (2nd L), and his wife Crown Princess Kiko of Japan (L), attend a welcoming ceremony with Polish President Andrzej Duda and his wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda (R) in Warsaw on June 28, 2019
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump welcome Polish President Andrzej Duda(R) and his wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda(L) upon arrival to the White House on September 18, 2018 in Washington,DC. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP)
Queen Mathilde of Belgium and Polish First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda attend the welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace as part of official Royal visit in Poland on October 13, 2015 in Warsaw, Poland. (Photo by Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images)
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda during a visit with Prince William; Duke of Cambridge to the Presidential Palace on day 1 of their official visit to Poland on July 17, 2017 in Warsaw, Poland. (Photo by Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

Fashion reporting has taken an interesting turn in recent years.

In days gone by, it was reserved for just a handful of writers and editors who dictated trends and gave glimpses into the glamour of life behind the velvet rope through their reporting in magazines and newspapers; but now, in the social media era, everyone is a critic. This widespread assessment has its downsides, but it also means that the more voices heard, the wider net we can cast in appreciating more women's inspiring style.

Poland's first lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda is one of those women.

She first hit headlines in 2018 when a clip featuring her and husband President Andrzej Duda meeting the Trumps in what purported to be her refusing to shake US president Donald Trump's hand. It was misleading as she already had shaken his hand, but it was enough to elevate her to icon status among women disputing Trump's misogynistic rhetoric.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda during a visit with Prince William; Duke of Cambridge to the Presidential Palace on day 1 of their official visit to Poland on July 17, 2017 in Warsaw, Poland. (Photo by Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda during a visit with Prince William; Duke of Cambridge to the Presidential Palace on day 1 of their official visit to Poland on July 17, 2017 in Warsaw, Poland. (Photo by Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Duda, a former secondary school German teacher, prefers the type of conservative clean lines and flattering silhouettes that will be remembered as timeless. She doesn't overly fuss with her attire; but every stylist knows how much work goes into putting together an effortless look.

Last month, she met with Crown Prince Akishino and his wife Crown Princess Kiko of Japan in Warsaw, wearing a raspberry midi dress and dedicate matching fascinator. She doesn't indulge prints or fabrics, embracing either solid primary colours or muted tones.

She, like French first lady Brigitte Macron, is also one of the handful of public figures who seems to have built even a foundation of a friendship with US first lady Melania, with whom she has met more than twice; even prompting Melania to make an off the cuff comment in the Oval Office about their time together.

In their most recent meeting, while Melania stood in a baby pink Calvin Klein power suit, Agata stood out all her own in an asymmetric monochrome midi dress. In her capacity as first lady, she has nailed the complicated formula of professional-formwalwear required.

One of her first appearances - alongside Belgian Queen Mathilde - her lilac coat dress and fascinator was the epitome of understated elegance.

Few can hold their own against a Melania-type figure, or even Kate Middleton, whom she hosted in Warsaw during her and Prince William's tour of Poland, Noway and Sweden in 2017.

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump greet Poland's President Andrzej Duda and his wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda at the South Portico of the White House in Washington, DC on June 12, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump greet Poland's President Andrzej Duda and his wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda at the South Portico of the White House in Washington, DC on June 12, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)

Britain's Duchess of Cambridge shone in a white structured peplum dress, but there was no attempt to outshine her guest with bright colours, prints or patterns - she was unashamedly herself, a lesson from which everyone can learn.

It takes a lot to hold your own against one of the most photographed women in the world, but during the Cambridges' Polish visit, Agata - then two years in her position - approached each appearance with a sense of quiet confidence that made her mark on the global  fashion icon map.

Online Editors

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