Duchess Kate’s style slammed by UK shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood

The Daily Beast has a new, lengthy interview with British shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood. I’ve never heard of him, but then again, I’m not a shoe person, and the only names I really pay attention to are Jimmy Choo and Christian Louboutin. Anyway, this dude, Nicholas Kirkwood, is a popular high-end shoe designer in the UK, and he has a list of accomplishments that include several design awards, placement in 130 stores worldwide (including Barneys and Saks), and he’s just opened a new store in NYC. He’s also been asked to design a shoe in honor of Queen Elizabeth for her Golden Jubilee, and the shoe will be put on display at Selfridges. You can see some of his shoes here. Most of them look like torture devices, but once again, I am not a shoe person. Incidentally, I don’t think the Duchess of Cambridge is much of a shoe person either – CB and I were just debating it – CB says Kate’s style overall is simply conservative. I say “dated” and too matchy-matchy (and button-y). This Kirkwood guy also has some criticisms of Kate, and I’m sure he’ll be slammed for it too:

Because of Kirkwood’s penchant for the avant-garde (and distaste for plain pumps), the Duchess of Cambridge would not appear to be the ideal client.

“It’d be great if she did wear the shoes,” he says of Kate Middleton. “She just wears too much High Street stuff. I know she’s trying to be democratic, but I don’t know how many pairs of LK Bennett you can wear. She does occasionally come out and is wearing McQueen or something like that. It’s like, ‘Do that more! You’re meant to be a princess-y type of person, so act like one!’”

(The one person Kirkwood says he would love to dress is, unsurprisingly, Tilda Swinton.)

[From The Daily Beast]

Is it fair to judge Kate by the standards of someone who would love to dress Tilda Swinton? It’s like apples and alien oranges. I think one of Kate’s strengths as a “fashion icon” (which everyone claims she is, but I don’t really think she is quite yet) is that she shops where a lot of girls shop, and she wears some clothes that some people can afford, and people look at her and say, “Oh, that’s cute. I bet that would look cute on me too.” Duchess Kate’s style and vibe isn’t aspirational, in my opinion. Meaning she’s not all high-fashion and Vogue and “You too should want to wear a $4000 sweater!” I also think this is a conscious choice by Kate – her stab at accessibility and being “down with the people.” It’s much easier for her to wear High Street clothes as a way to relate to people than, you know, actually going out and relating to people.

So, my verdict: Kate doesn’t have to wear crazy bondage shoes just to please the high-fashion tastemakers. But it wouldn’t hurt for her to stop wearing button-smothered ensembles with built-in shoulder pads. Find a balance, Kate!

Photos courtesy of WENN.


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86 Responses to “Duchess Kate’s style slammed by UK shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood”

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  1. Dani says:

    You would think that someone would have thought to clean the award that he is holding and posing with. Yuck!

  2. Jackson says:

    Meh. She’s the future Queen of England. She needs to dress in classic, timeless pieces, including shoes. And I agree, I think that IS her style – simple, classic, conservative. Nothing wrong with that.

    • Jackie Brown says:

      Why does she? This is Britain 2012 not 1942! London is one of the fashion capitals of the world, we can rock just as good as anywhere else and whether shes likes it or we like it she will be looked at, bitch may as well look good doing it!

    • Raven says:

      She also benefits the British fashion industry. Every time she puts on a reasonably-priced dress, it sells out almost immediately.

      • LAK says:

        that is untrue.

        She wears clothing from several seasons prior meaning that when people go to the website/shops to buy the clothes, they are usually out of stock or sold out when they were stocked. It is spun to say she’s the reason items have sold out when infact the items can not be found in the store anymore.

        Any current pieces she wears might sell out on the websites, but there are plenty of them instore.

      • eva says:

        In that case she could also support the British fashion industry by buying pieces from aspiring British designers, not moderately-priced crap made in Chinese sweatshops.

        Just an idea, Kate.

      • J says:

        Buying “High Street” is not supporting the British economy. Chain stores are all part of big multi-national conglomerates that manufacture in sweatshops. Why do we never see her promoting British-made products? Because part of her job (notpublicallydisclosed) is to keep the people distracted by her friggin hair, and continue to promote materialistic stupidity, so that folks won’t bay as much attention to how Britain is being systematically destroyed by outsourcing, among other dirty dealings, just as has been done in America. Tsk, Katie, you black hearted traitor, you, pretending to be common, when fact is, you married your cousin…*tee hee* *flutters off*

  3. Michelle says:

    I don’t think I could ever afford those shoes without selling a body part, but I love a lot of the designs.

  4. Holden says:

    Ohhh, he said she was conservative with her shoes and this is a thing? Meh.

  5. Nina says:

    Such a pretty girl. Such ugly clothes.

  6. Ally says:

    Pardon me, but what is ‘High Street’?

  7. Chatcat says:

    Never heard of him either and I am not a shoe person…but I do have a boot and flip flop problem! I am thinking “insert foot into mouth” will probably cost him dearly…and I also I think to myself he wants to dress Tilda Swinton! After that statement I didn’t bother looking at the pics of his shoes because if he says that I know I won’t be endeared to any of his designs…ewww
    Anywhose…I like Kate’s conservative style for her. Why not? Why does she have to do it differntly? She is always dressed in a well presented style that fits her body type, life style and personality…isn’t that what personal style is about?

  8. marie says:

    @Jackson…Agreed. Maybe the shoe designer doesnt clearly understand the pressure she is under for many (MANY)years to come to have palace approval and be a good student under the current Queen and her other in-laws. Give her a break…I would not trade places.

  9. TheEntrepreneursWife says:

    Does Kate have something in her teeth in that first photo?

  10. Addison says:

    Kate dresses just fine for a future Queen. As far is this man, I clicked on the link. I found his shoes to look like rejected pieces for a Sci-Fi movie. They also look uncomfortable and probably make women’s feet deformed.

    See link (but be warned it is disgusting):


  11. Stacia says:

    Looking at his shoes and her style, I can say that she probably would not be interested in his shoes. I like her style. Her personality and image reflect the types of clothing/shoes that she’ll will wear.

    His shoes seemed to aim towards a Lady Ga-Ga or Tilda Swinton type.

  12. Hautie says:

    Considering Kate is having to do a lot of walking, in her shoes at public events. I suspect she wears heels that don’t kill her feet.

    And he is just mad cause she has not worn any of his shoes.

    Which would bring in big money for him, if Kate did wear one of his ugly shoes out to a event. Everything she wears sells out there. He is just looking to hop on the money train.

  13. Anon says:

    Does the fool think this will get Kate to buy his shoes? Poor whiny baby.

  14. Kamille says:

    She has no personal style. She looks like middle aged woman.

  15. kg says:

    Kate in addition to a play with her hair and button problem with pointing. She is always pointing at stuff.

    • kobielauren says:

      i noticed that too!!! there was a picture of her when they were in Canada and she was pointing right at this toddler… like RIGHT in her face :/ if i was that girl, i would be a little scared… she was wearing that white sleeveless joseph dress if anyone is wondering

    • Nancy Blue says:

      Pointing and excessive hand gestures – very common and downmarket. As previously said ‘ you can take the girl out of Buckleberry but not Buckleberry out of the girl’.

      Hopefully eradicated by now with her Princess training courses.

      BTW she is not HRH as it is said this was not bestowed on her after the wedding.

  16. Linney says:

    Blah blah blah. He makes shoes. Next.

  17. Snowangel says:

    Kate has to wear closed toe shoes and pantyhose while on duty in Commonwealth countries. She still could funk it up a bit, I think she is trying really hard not to be Diana.

  18. Randi says:

    I don’t think he’s “slamming” Kate. Yes, she is conservative, but I honestly think there’s a reason. She is still new at this royalty thing, and she is finding her way.

    I remember seeing pictures of Diana, and when she was a new bride, even up until Harry was born, she was wearing silly, matronly,conservative stuff and trying hard to be “fashionable” in a way only a member of the British Royal family can.

    Diana looked like a frunp. Kate isn’t that bad. She is pleasant and presentable. I say giver her time. She has several years yet to “emerge” as a true fashion icon. Whatever her taste is, she has beena success at selling clothes in the UK and that’s always good.

  19. Teri from Canada says:

    I think Kates style is very boring…She dresses like she 40 looks it too…Im sick of the royal family…They have no purpose except for waving at crowds

  20. Luise says:

    She will never wear his shoes.

  21. Jenn72 says:

    I love her style.. I think for a future Queen she is very polished in a boringly sleek way. It’s clothes I would wear to work.
    I give her a few years and let her find her way.. THEN we can give her an icon mantle.
    Kuddos for her shopping the High Street. The people can go out and buy it because it is affordable… more so than designer. It appeals to the masses and their pockets.

  22. Eye Makeup says:

    How did you miss the change we all hoped for in her eye makeup?
    It looks great. Def worth noting, since I have read (and agreed with) many previously expressed negative but hopeful sentiments about her eyeliner.

  23. Jessica says:

    Haha… He’s so mad she doesn’t wear his ugly shoes !! Her style is very “appropriate”…. SHe would look ridiculous in those shoes with her classic, conservative style. Maybe he should try to meet halfway… Boost up the classic pump a tad so it’s still wearable and works with her wardrobe. Such a big ego …

  24. Gabrielle says:

    I think the reason people say Kate is a fashion icon, is because she is so accessable. Not only is her price range of many of her outfits reasonable, but all of her outfits are not ridiculous looking aka Lady Gaga. She may not be making a huge artistic statement but any woman would be safe in one of her outfits at a job interview or something.

    • LAK says:

      I don’t think her clothing is reasonably priced. She’s at the pricier end of High Street. LK Bennett shoes are £185-£400. Reiss prices are £100-£400. The discounted designer stores she frequents are only about 10-20% off discount.

      She has many things from Prada. Ralph Lauren, Burberry, DVF, J Brand etc which she dresses up or down just like we would do.

      And she used to get free clothing from ISSA. Pippa is getting many freebies from brands like Modula, and allegedly Project D.

      I will really believe she is one of us when she is photographed in M&S, GAP, H&M, Clark’s or even Primark.

      That said, isn’t it interesting that she has never been photographed in Jigsaw?;)

      • Henry says:

        Exactly. I find her clothing to be on the rather pricey end. The day I will call her clothing choices “normal-looking” and “accessible” is only when she buys frequently from the places Lak has mentioned.

        I find it really amusing and hypocritical of her and the palace PR to announce sometime last year that she wouldn’t be spending too much on clothing as she didn’t want to be known as a “clothes-horse”. but guess what? the woman has done absolutely nothing of significance that she has become just that now – a clotheshorse. and a very boring one at that. another issue of hypocrisy is when she says she will recycle her clothing. well how many exactly has she recycled? save for a random piece or two, absolutely none. she wears expensive clothing to children’s homes and all that, something i find rather inappropriate too actually. though i’m sure she has a personal stylist or dresser right now. she seems more “put together”. before her wedding, her style was just atrocious. except for a few nice pieces, she tended to go with weird color combinations and ugly printed dresses and was generally really frumpy and dated. her sister is no different.

        and i also find it really annoying that she has to totter around on these 4-5 inch heels everywhere she goes. is that really necessary given her height already? p

        while i’m sure she’s following royal protocol and dress codes, i wouldn’t wear ANY of the things she wears. they look like stuff my grandma would wear, seriously. one princess’s style i like is Princess MAry of of Denmark. she dresses her age, but manages to look fashionable at the same time, she also has rather nice shoes.

        and yes her shoes are really boring as well. a lot of people here don’t seem to like Kirkwood’s creations, and yeah i admit they do look uncomfortable, but i have to say they are so artsy and gorgeous. If only i could pull them off!

  25. Andrea says:

    The reason Kate is high street is because she basically lives off the generosity of the British people. The women has no job and no income. Everything she has is given to her. If my taxes went to support a women outfitted in the most expensive clothing I’d be pissed. She’s basically a high end welfare and food stamp recipient.

    • LAK says:

      it makes you wonder just how wealthy she [the Middletons] really are.

      She shops all the time, and yet she only buys mostly high street. Ditto Pippa, and her mother.

      This before the wedding.

      And yet, William only wears bespoke saville row. He is literally standing there in a £2000 suit next to his high street wife!!!SMH

      • jenna says:

        Well that’s probably what William grew up with as the standard. You think Prince Philip or Prince Charles get their suits off the rack? Also, I’m guessing he has far fewer suits than Kate does outfits–despite his clothing being more $$ per piece, I am betting her clothing expenditures are greater. I suspect he has a handful of suits, at most. Kate, on the other hand, clearly has dozens of outfits, even with her penchant for “recycling”. Sadly, it’s not really acceptable for women to show up everywhere wearing the same navy/black/grey suit like it is for men.

        As far as “how rich are the Middletons, really?” I don’t think they are part of the ultra-rich that can afford designer labels as part of their everyday wardrobe, particularly with the number of clothes they seem to go through. Look at their website sometime. Everything on it is very cheap–they would have to be moving mountains and mountains of merchandise to be bringing in an income that permits shopping at Prada or McQueen on a regular basis. I can (barely) buy that they might be “multimillionaires” but I am guessing their assets are probably still <$10 million, unless they are also acting as a money laundering front for Uncle Gary's less savory business transactions.

      • maemay says:

        William can wear the same suit and shoes but when Kate repeats it’s a scandal.

    • maemay says:

      yep she should spend MORE tax payer money!

    • TruthTella says:

      WRONG the only members of the Royal family funded by the tax payers are the Queen and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh. Prince Charles gets his money from the Duchy of Cornwall estates (set up like 1000 years ago to fund the heir) which he has turned into a big money maker from which he supports himself, Camilla, Harry, William and Kate… Also William and Harry have inheritances from Diana and the Queen mother.
      Plus in a couple of years the way the monarchy is funded is set to change so that instead of receiving money from the tax payers the Queen will reciever 30% of the Crown Estate profits instead so that will mean nothing from tax payers.

  26. maemay says:

    She has a high/low style similar to Michelle Obama. She mixes her wardrobe to make her money last longer. If she only wore Vercace she would be crucified also she is not on the same level as Diana, she is not a full time royal. Camilla is Diana, not Kate.

    This is a a case of people who hate Kate and no matter what she does it is wrong and not right.

    • LAK says:

      May i suggest you google Samantha Cameron.

      Our PM’s wife. She’s a millionaire daughter just like Kate who dresses high/low in a very conservative style.

      To me pricey conservative with flair is Carla Bruni, who is mainly dressed by Dior.

      At this point in time, Kate’s clothing budget is covered by either her parents, hubby or FIL. Not the public purse. So as her benefactors are all millionaires, i think she can afford to splurge.

      • maemay says:

        I saw SamCam’s style when she visited DC and also when the Obama’s visited England. I like her, Michelle and Kate’s modern style which is a far cry from the old political styles of the 90′s. I also like Bruni’s but she seems to have fallen off.

    • Alexis says:

      ITA. I really like Kate’s style. They’re classic, accessible pieces. Even when it’s expensive, you get the feeling you could get something that looks similar, yes, at the mall. I think it’s calculated and smart (although she might not be doing the calculating lol)

      Interestingly, I bet a lot of the same people who bash Kate’s style praise Michelle’s, even though their style is pretty much exactly the same.

  27. HoustonGrl says:

    Um, maybe I sound like a grandma…but I don’t think kate’s shoe choices are ultra-conservative, nor are they in the interest of “comfort.”

    Girl’s been wearing like 4 inch+ heels at almost every event. Those black Jimmy Choo pumps she wears all the time are almost 5 inches! For a girl that already towers over everyone, wearing a 5 inch heel is not understated. It’s the opposite. And the nearly $700 price tag is not “democratic.” Flats, kitten heels, or easy spirits are my idea of “conservative.”

    Anyway…one thing’s for sure, she won’t be wearing Kirkwood shoes anytime soon.

  28. JulieM says:

    Waity’s shoes are like everything else about her; dull and boring.

    However, I think Kirkwood’s shoe are UGLY! Most of his stuff has 3″ platforms. And Waity really doesn’t need the extra inches. She’s tall already.

    He does a lot of shoes for the Rodarte sisters.

  29. MizzVJJ says:

    I love shopping at the High Streets. H&M and Super Dry are my faves. I can’t wait to be back in England. And I love Kates style. Call it boring but if she dressed an inch past boring, everyone on here would be griping about her “diva style” and super-expensive clothes.

  30. Shoe_lover says:

    I am a shoe person and in my opinion Kirkwood is so over rated.

  31. Sachi says:


    Her shoes are boring, sure, but that’s just how she really is: very vanilla.

    Even when she’s wearing shoes from Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, and Jimmy Choo among other expensive brands, her shoes are still bland and boring. Always the same basic model for pumps and shoes.

    The bad thing is when she wears 4-5 inch heels that make her poor posture even worse. She cannot walk in high heels, either. Her gait is just so inelegant and ungraceful.

    And then she cranes her neck downward to talk to other people while teetering in 4-inch heels. She always looks so awkward trying to hear what other people are saying when she’s looking down on them.

    • Susannah says:

      Especially the poor kids. Instead of gracefully bending downward at the knee, she bends over at the hip. Her dress rides up in the back, showing thigh or more and the kids look up to see a giant toothpick princess with a wild-eyed grin!

      Kate, just wear some lower heels so you can see eye to eye with your subjects (?)

      • Violet says:

        Showing her thighs IS her modus operandi, and not so much being cordial with kids. There is a reason royal women avoid wearing “vertiginous” heels and above-the-knee skirts: it is exactly to avoid this kind of mishap when bending over towards the little ones, something the new Duchess does not seem to naturally resonate unless it depicts her in a favorable light.

  32. Stella says:

    I never really liked the look of Nicholas Kirkwood shoes. They are funky, some might be fun if you do not need to go places in them, but if you like classic elegance AND comfort, LK Bennet is the way to go. There are other great brands too, but Kirkwoods are not amongst them.

  33. erin says:

    LOVE his shoes, but for me, not for Kate. They’re just to avante-guard for her, IMO. She has classic style and should stick to it.

  34. Shane says:

    Of course she is conservative in her dress. She’s the future Queen of England. Welcome to the monarchy.

  35. Lorrie says:

    His shoes are some of the UGLIEST I have ever seen. What normal person would wear those? I’m not a fan of Duchess Do Little, but if I were her, I wouldn’t wear them either.

  36. Simon says:

    Pfft. They’re shoes, get over yourself. He’s not important to the majority, it’s like modern art, at the end of the day he designs shoes, he’s not working on world peace or saving lives, he gets paid a ton of money for designing shoes which are made out of the same shit the cheap shoes are made out of. Who cares what he thinks, it’s not like he is dressed particularly well anyway, and his hair looks like shit.

  37. Jax says:

    What a pretentious tw*t!!! I’ve seen some of his designs – especially the “Pearly Queen” shoe which basically looks like he’s bought a black shoe and stuck buttons on it. Kate is etheral and could make a potato sack look fabulous. Who cares where she gets her shoes from. I wish this guy would stuff a pair of his rubbish creations down his pie hole!

    • LAK says:

      you know, just because he is mostly avant garde does not mean he can not design basic courts or that his point ie her clothes are boring, is not valid.

      I remember this same discussion when Mcqueen was rumoured to be the wedding dress designer.

      Everyone simply looked up his more extreme catwalk creations rather than the ready to wear.

      And now every one loves McQueen.

      For the record, Prada and Jimmy Choo do avant garde shoes. Kate wears those brands but not the more avant garde designs in the collection

  38. TruthTella says:

    I actually agree with him… Overall I like how Kate mixes high end and high street but her shoe choices are SO boring… I wish she’d put a pair of amazing shoes on once in a while.

  39. Valerie says:

    Um…has it ever occurred to anybody that she chooses her clothes because they’re comfortable? Especially the shoes. If I had to spend that much time standing around looking pleasant, I’d want comfy shoes too!

  40. Laura says:

    Actually you do find Louis Vuitton on the high street on Oxford Street, almost exactly opposite Primark, couldn’t get too more opposite ends of the spectrum!

    As for Kate, I’ve never seen anything she’s worn on the high street. I think I’d cry if the high street looked like that. Seriously, who under the age of about 70 wants to look like that?! There are much better ways to dress conservatively but remain stylish and accessible.

  41. carrie says:

    Her style is indeed matronly and not fit for a young woman. You can imagine her clothes on someone’s grandmother. Even her hairstyle is very boring. It just shows a lack of imagination. After all, she is in a position to select from a lot of different designs. Does she imitate the Queen’s outfits? It looks more like her style minus the hats.

  42. snownicy says:

    Everyone has a own style of dress, some people like to insist on rigid, but I think sometimes appropriate to make some changes, or is good, she is a pretty great temperament, a woman, but sheusually wear shoes with good short, if she put on cl shoes, this will show her unique charm.