Duchess Kate and Sophie Wessex step out in style for a fashionable event

By Laura Sutcliffe

The Duchess of Cambridge and fellow stylish royal Sophie, Countess of Wessex joined forces on Monday evening (Feb. 19) for a very fashionable cause. Opening the doors of Buckingham Palace as hosts on behalf of the Queen, the pair celebrated and showcased a new fashion initiative called the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange. It uses fashion to help people understand the modern Commonwealth in new and different ways, creating a more relatable common language and platform, and included a number of Canadian designers in its roster.

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Looking fresh and poised in a number of photographs, Kate donned a patterned dress by Canadian-born designer Erdem and elegant high heel shoes, accessorizing with a simple clutch bag and earrings by Anita Dongre. The glowing royal wore her beautiful rich locks in her trademark voluminous style, which was preened to perfection.

The Duchess of Cambridge and Sophie, Countess of Wessex stunned in their designer dresses. Photo: PA

Sophie, 53, also looked incredible, wowing guests in a black Burberry V-neck dress, which hugged her slim frame and gave her super-polished look. Her blonde locks topped it off styled in a sophisticated updo. The wife of Prince Edward always looks fashion-forward, favouring an abundance of high-end designers including Valentino and Erdem - which was also the designer of choice for Princess Beatrice, who stepped out with her royal relatives to the high-profile fashion event.

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Renowned for their fashion sense and classic sense of style - plus a smattering of statement pieces - all eyes were on the royal women's outfits. Pregnant Kate, 36, has had a busy few days, having stunned on the red carpet on Sunday evening at the BAFTAs, showcasing her growing baby bump in a green gown by Jenny Packham.

Kate and Sophie with fashion designer Stella McCartney. Photo: PA

The event is one of huge importance in the fashion world; over the past six months, major fashion designers such as Stella McCartney and Bibi Russell have partnered with artisan producers in small nations with the intention of creating a skills exchange. The palace reception showcased the best of Commonwealth contemporary fashion and creativity with an exhibition of some of the bespoke fashion looks.

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Canada's Lucian Matis, whose glitzy designs have been worn by Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, and sustainable denim brand Triarchy represented the Great White North at the event, mingling with high-profile fashionistas that include Livia Firth, Dame Anna Wintour, Stella McCartney, Anya Hindmarch, and supermodels Naomi Campbell and Adwoa Aboah. Canadian Fashion Council board member Robin Kay and Hudson’s Bay President Alison Coville were also in attendance.

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