The Duchess of Cambridge showed us another side this week in a casual countryside photoshoot with Vogue. The images mark the first time that Kate had posed for a magazine – and the understated and relaxed nature of the images made quite an impression on fashion fans and royal watchers alike.
Kate had stated that she wanted the pictures to reflect a rarely-seen element of her private life, and the no-frills snapshots show the mum-of-two in her off-duty clothing of choice, including jeans, shirts and T-shirts.
The Vogue images are on display at the National Portrait Gallery in the Vogue 100: A Century of Style exhibit – and in celebration we take a look behind the scenes at Kate's big shoot.
The top secret photoshoot took place in a late January morning in the Norfolk countryside. It's an area close to Kate's heart; she and Prince William reside in a nearby large country house called Anmer Hall when they're not at Kensington Palace. The 10-bedroom home was gifted to the couple by the Queen, and was where they retreated after Princess Charlotte's birth, last year.
Kate had requested that the Voguecommission was given to a British photographer "for whom this would be a new opportunity", and after some discussion London-born Josh Olins was chosen for the job. The 35-year-old has worked for a number of publications, including Vogue and Interview magazine, and is known for the "quiet elegance of his work and his 'woman' who has polish but also a degree of understatement".
"This was the Duchess' first sitting for a magazine and she was a joy to work with, a natural," Josh said in a press release. "I am incredibly grateful to (editor) Alexandra Shulman for placing her faith in me for such an important and historic assignment."
Kate really set the tone for the day when she arrived for the photoshoot in jeans and a parka jacket, her hair in big rollers. Vogue fashion director Lucinda Chambers had gathered together 10 suitcases of potential outfits for the Duchess, and, once Kate had sifted through the clothes of the rails, told Lucinda she could put her in "whatever she wanted".
In the cover photo, Kate can seen wearing a charcoal brown double-breasted suede coat and shirt by Burberry, and a wide-brimmed hat from London vintage shop Beyond Retro.
In a second image, Kate showcases a simple striped T-shirt from French store Petit Bateau and navy trousers by Burberry.
The hair and make-up
Kate arrived at the country cottage location with her entrusted hairdresser Amanda Tucker, who was dragging a case of products behind her. Amanda has been by Kate's side on many a momentous occasion – at the hospital after the births of Prince George and Princess Charlotte and most recently accompanying her on the royal tour to India and Bhutan – and so it was understandable that she was called upon to create Kate's famous blowout for the outdoor shoot.
Kate's make-up was done on the day by Sally Branka, and was in keeping with the relaxed tone of the shoot. The look was both simple and fresh, her eyes lightly lined in brown and a natural colour on her lips.
Kate drove herself to the photoshoot in a Land Rover Defender; after arriving she joked about how she must have looked to anyone who saw her driving around in rollers. The vehicle, which appears in the background of one of the shots, stopped being produced in the UK in late January of this year. It's not surprising that William and Kate own the British SUV – the royal family have long been customers of Land Rover, with the Queen often pictured driving around in her Defender.