Has Kate Middleton been taking style tips from Ivanka Trump?
Ivanka Trump may only have been America's First Daughter for a matter of weeks, but it seems that her style influence has already reached British shores.
This evening, the Duchess of Cambridge attended a conference of Health Writers to raise awareness of mental health issues, choosing a magenta Oscar de la Renta skirt suit for the occassion.
So why the Ivanka Trump connection? The businesswoman and daughter of Donald is a longtime fan of the storied American design house and has attended many of the label's shows over the years as well as opting for its elegant daywear and opulent gowns for key public outings, including several looks during last month's Inauguration celebrations.
The Duchess's two-piece, which is not dissimilar to the red Luisa Spagnoli ensemble which she wore earlier today, comprised a buttoned-up, peplum-waisted jacket with a box-pleated, knee-length skirt and was on sale for a total of $3480 . Given it's from the Autumn 2015 collection, Kate must have invested more than a year ago.
Although it's ultimately a conservative look, the suit is further evidence that Kate is experimenting with the brands and silhouettes which she buys, whilst always making sure that her look ticks the all-important appropriate box.
This is the first time that the Duchess has been seen in de la Renta (apart from a pair of pearl earrings last year) and she may have initially chosen the outfit because it was designed during the tenure of Peter Copping, the Brit who was appointed by Mr de la Renta himself just weeks before his death in 2014. The suit comes from the first collection Copping designed at the label renowned for its feminine and decadent designs.
Ivanka Trump has been a presence on the de la Renta front row since 2006, but she isn't the only First Family member to have turned to the Dominican Republic-born designer over the years. Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush both wore de la Renta whilst in the White House, most notably their glittering Inauguration gowns.
Michelle Obama's determination to boost the profile of younger designers meant that for a long time she eschewed de la Renta, a move which is said to have caused some ill feeling. De la Renta even criticised the then First Lady when she wore an Alexander McQueen gown, instead of something by an American designer, for a Chinese State Dinner in 2011.
"My understanding is that the visit was to promote American-Chinese trade — American products in China and Chinese products in America. Why do you wear European clothes?" the designer commented to WWD.
However- and this is where the possible Kate connection comes in-Obama did eventually wear some pieces by Peter Copping for Oscar de la Renta during a state visit to London last year. She and the Duchess met up then so perhaps that was where she got the tip from? After all, Kate did tell Michelle about Biotulin Supreme Skin Gel ('Botox in a bottle') so recommending that she invest in some of Copping's designs would simply have been returning the favour.
During last month's Inauguration celebrations, Ivanka Trump chose a series of outfits by Oscar de la Renta (where a temporary design team is currently in place as newly appointed Monse designers Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia prepare to show their first collection) for daytime engagements.
Whether it was the grass green draped coat she wore to leave New York, the striking black and white ballgown she wore to dinner that evening, the white suit for the Inauguration ceremony or the velvet coat she chose for the prayer service, perhaps one of those looks caught Kate's eye and prompted her to dig out the suit she wore tonight out from her wardrobe?
Ivanka would undoubtedly have braved bare legs though.