It’s no secret that the Duchess of Cambridge loves tennis. She is Patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, and usually, at this time of year, she’d be sitting in the Royal Box at Wimbledon’s Centre Court, watching the likes of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
So it was only appropriate that she chose a tennis-inspired dress to host a video call in which she surprised children at Bond Primary School in Mitcham with a guest appearance from Sir Andy Murray.
The dress in question was the £695 Maria belted dress by HVN (currently selling out fast at net-a-porter.com), the namesake label founded by British-born, US-based model and DJ Harley Viera-Newton.
Cut from a vibrant green silk crepe de chine with a midaxi hemline, it’s very Kate, though the tennis player print is a more playful - and literal - approach to dressing than we’ve seen from her in the past.
Since launching in 2016 as a capsule collection with British retailer Matchesfashion.com, HVN takes a creative lead from Viera-Newton’s life-long love of printed, vintage dresses.
“My finds have always been great - but never perfect,” she writes on her website. “In high school I would shop in dollar bins, making my selection based on print or fabric over shape or size. If the print caught my eye, I’d adjust the silhouette to fit my body. My collection started to grow, and my closet became a kaleidoscope of eye-catching prints.”
It quickly became a favourite with A-list celebrities, among them Margot Robbie, Selena Gomez, Emma Roberts and Jennifer Garner to name just a few. Fashion insiders Caroline Issa, Natalie Joos and Alexa Chung love it too.
Though the brand has grown over the past four years, Viera-Newton sticks to just a handful of vintage-inspired cuts - the notch collar, as seen on Kate’s dress, is a typical detail. Other classic silhouettes include the puff-sleeved mini Paula dress and the Fifties-inspired Lucy style with delicate straps and a full midi skirt.
Viera-Newton updates those hero styles each season with different colourways and prints: “The prints are inspired by the classic vintage motifs I have always loved and gravitated towards: ginghams, cherry prints, and florals,” she says. “I update and personalise each print by adding an element of my personality, like hiding a subtle 'HVN' in foliage or adding a polka dot here and there.”
HVN Lucy dress, £166 (from £415) and Paula mini dress, £425, both net-a-porter.com
Kate doesn’t add new brands to her wardrobe all that often - she’s a creature of habit and is loyal to her favourite designers - so it’s always noteworthy when she does. Given that this variation on the Maria dress is new season, it’s likely that she purchased it with this engagement in mind.
And there’s no question that it was a winning move - sartorially speaking she nailed it, game, set and match.