The V&A Exhibition Road Quarter is the V&A’s largest architectural project in the last 100 years, designed by British architect Amanda Levete. The project has created new public areas and gallery space for London, transforming the experience of the V&A for visitors, and revealing the historic facades of the Museum's existing Grade I buildings for the first time. A new public entrance to the V&A has been created on Exhibition Road, reconnecting the V&A with its neighbouring museums and institutions founded on the vision of Albertopolis, following the Great Exhibition of 1851.
Kate chatting with director Tristram Hunt.
The Duchess received a beautiful posy from Tristram Hunt's six-year-old daughter Lydia.
Apart from the excitement surrounding the opening as director, Mr. Hunt was also a very proud father today.
A smiling Kate met staff before entering the museum.
The project has been in the works for some time and there's been enormous excitement ahead of the unveiling.
The new entrance leads visitors through the historic Aston Webb Screen into the world’s first porcelain tiled courtyard, which floats above a new column-free gallery that will host the V&A’s world-class exhibition programme.
The Guardian describes the £55 million new courtyard "Like a Marbella beach airlifted to South Ken". The article continues "A blinding sheet of white light bursts through the stone colonnade of the V&A, casting a glow across the grey paving stones of Exhibition Road. Catching the sunlight on its 11,000 handmade porcelain tiles, the museum’s new courtyard seems to burn with a molten luminosity, signalling the climax of its most ambitious building project in a century."
A peek inside...
A hidden gem comes in the form of a gaping 1,100 square metre gallery.
Take a look at the project from infancy to completion in this video spanning four years.
Kate toured the V&A Exhibition Road Quarter's new spaces, and heard about the design and unique features of the building.
Kate visited The Sainsbury Gallery which will host temporary site-specific installations for the opening, including immersive sound and light works by artist Simon Heijdens and viol player Liam Byrne, as well as industrial designer Jonathan Olivares’ Aluminium Bench, a twelve-metre long bench which curves throughout the space.
Mingling with guests.
Kate signed the guest book.
Kate unveiled a commemorative plaque in The Sackler Courtyard to officially mark the opening. The Sackler is the world’s first porcelain tiled public courtyard.
Kate's visit precedes REVEAL, a free, week-long public festival running from tomorrow celebrating the opening of the new entrance. To celebrate these new spaces, the V&A will be inviting the public to explore the V&A Exhibition Road Quarter’s unique combination of heritage, modernity and technology with a series of events that bring the architecture and collections to life.
The V&A holds the national collection of fashion, one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of dress in the world. Their holdings include beautiful garments worn by 20th-century royalty such as Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret, Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and Queen Mary. The museum praised Kate's style crediting today's Gucci dress with demonstrating "the continuing influence of the 1960s." They shared a photo of Kate beside the dress shown below by André Courrèges which epitomises the clean lines and straight cut of the period, and is currently in display in Gallery 40.
More from the V & A:
"The Duchess of Cambridge’s effortless elegance tells a compelling story of British style, one that blends international designers alongside great British labels."
In 2015, the museum acquired a pair of L.K. Bennett Sledge Pumps. "When it became apparent that nude court heels were a wardrobe staple of the Duchess of Cambridge, sales rocketed. The popularity of the shoe showed that emulating royal fashion is a practice unchanged since at least Queen Henrietta Maria’s time. Kate Middleton favoured the high-street brand L.K. Bennett, but customers could pick up nude shoes by George at Asda for £12." Whilst it seems the Duchess has retired her pair - they are very much remember as a signature staple in her royal wardrobe. You can read more here.
Kate looked impeccably stylish in the Gucci Tweed Dress With Web (with thanks to Evangelina). It marks the first time the Duchess has worn clothing by the Italian luxury brand.
Made in Italy, the £1,790 cotton-blend mini dress comes in black and white light tweed with blue and red web trim and faux pearl embellishments that are topped with the label's iconic interlocking 'GG' logo. As of writing, the dress is available in several sizes at Gucci and Net-A-Porter.
More from the product description:
'First developed by Gucci in the 50s, the Web instantly became the hallmark of a cultured club. Here it is used to frame the edges of this knee length dress. The GG pearl buttons are a new signature element of the brand. Made in a light soft tweed.'
A closer look at the garment.
The dress is also available in 'Pink Wool Silk' as shown on the Gucci website.
The dress has a very retro, 1960s feel to it - very much embodying the signature style of Jackie O. Bethan Holt reports:
'With its abbreviated length, tweed fabric and neat button and pocket detailling, the shift dress recalls the elegant look which Jackie Kennedy made her own in the early 1960s when she often wore pieces inspired by Coco Chanel's designs. That connection makes sense for Kate who has often nodded to Kennedy's style codes in her wardrobe choices, from her houndstooth skirt suit by Eponine London to her penchant for chic pillbox hats. '
Kate brought back her L.K. Bennett Art shoes today. You might recall Kate wore them for the couple's final pre-wedding engagement in 2011 before the wedding, with a navy Amanda Wakeley suit. The block heel works very well with the style of the dress today.
Another look at the shoes on Kate.
Kate's clutch is a customised version of the Emmy London Natasha.
And accessorised with her Annoushka pearls with Kiki McDonough hoops.
You can view a video below.
Kensington Palace just announced the Duchess, Patron of the Natural History Museum, will attend the opening of the museum's spectacular new Hintze Hall on Thursday, 13 July. The launch event will recreate the sounds and scents of the ocean, to celebrate the museum's new star display – a diving blue whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling. During the launch event the Duchess will meet Sir Michael Dixon and Sir David Attenborough, and tour some of the new Wonder Bays including the blue marlin, where she will meet the curators and hear about ocean ecology and conservation. The Palace described this area as " a subject of particular interest for her."
If you're just joining us, you can view last night's post covering Kate's interview for a BBC documentary marking 90 years of Wimbledon here. Kate chats about her doctor banning her from the tournament in 2013, Carole's crush on Federer and the day Mike Middleton left her feeling "Mortified".
Thank you for reading :)