In November 2006, Kate accepted a position as an accessory buyer with British clothing chain Jigsaw. The well-known chain is owned by fashion tycoons John and Belle Robinson - close friends of the Middleton family. It was reported that on one of Kate's first days she helped out on a fashion shoot where she ran errands fetching tea and snacks.
It was a major coup for the brand and Kate was regularly described as a walking advert for Jigsaw, often being seen wearing their clothing and carrying their shopping bags. Below we see Kate wearing the very pretty Jigsaw Pansy Floral Dress. The £169 silk dress became very popular after Kate was spotted wearing it. Early signs of 'the Kate effect' :)
Kate shared a flat in Chelsea's Old Church Street with sister Pippa (who still lives there with James Middleton). The flat was purchased by Michael and Carole Middleton in 2002 and is reportedly worth £1 million today. Chelsea is a very exclusive area of south-west London bounded to the south by the River Thames. The district is now part of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
|John Simpson Architects|
Whilst working for Jigsaw, Kate collaborated with talented jewellery designer Claudia Bradby (you can read my review of Claudia's stunning pieces here) on striking pieces including the the Kate Quartz Necklace, as seen below. Claudia and Kate enjoyed working together immensely and Claudia described Kate as 'focused, creative, thoughtful and kind'.
William and Kate enjoyed their privacy in St Andrews but now that Kate was living in London, media and public interest intensified. As Kate opened her front door on her 25th birthday she was met by around thirty paparazzi who were joined by mainstream TV crews as she walked to her car. Prince William was angered by this and Clarence House released a statement saying 'Prince William wants more than anything for the paparazzi to stop harassing her.' Shortly after this incident Kate made a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission.
With the media glare firmly focused on Kate, William was training with the Royal Air Force, undertaking an intensive course which meant the Prince and Kate did not see much of each other and photographs emerged of William on night out with female friends without Kate. It was a straining time for the relationship and in April 2007 the couple briefly split.
During their engagement interview Kate said: 'I wasn't very happy about it, but actually it made me a stronger person'. Kate and her mother Carole went to Dublin to attend the exhibition of Gemma Billington immediately after the break up to avoid the media glare.
Kate returned to London and was regularly pictured at hotspots Mahiki and Boujis in an array of glamorous party dresses showing William what he was missing. Kate attended the Diana concert in 2007 and the following day headlines emerged confirming the nation's favourite couple had reunited. It is thought that during this time William and Kate decided to get married. The only question on everyone's mind was when?
Living in central London certainly does have it's advantages including close proximity to some of the best night life, restaurants and events. Kate and Pippa regularly enjoyed dinner at the Bluebird Restaurant. Below we see Kate leaving the popular restaurant.
Kate and Pippa leaving the book launch of Simon Sebag's Montefiore at Asprey on Bond Street. Kate looked elegant in a lace Collette Dinnigan dress which is still one of my all time favourites.
Kate accompanied William to Peter Philips birthday party at Cocoon for Sushi and then on to Volstead nightclub.
Despite the media interest Kate was determined to live as normally as possible and was regularly spotted at her local laundrette and supermarkets such as M&S.
In November 2007, Kate decided to leave Jigsaw and began working as a catalogue photographer, webpage designer and marketing officer for her parents firm Party Pieces. In 2008, Kate launched First Birthdays, a junior brand to Party Pieces. Kate continued to work with the family firm until January 2011.
There were persistent rumours that Kate had planned to pursue a career as a photographer. We could very well see Kate's work in the not too distant future as it has been widely reported the Duchess is planning an exhibition within the next couple of years in aid of her patronages.
I loved Kate's pre-engagement style. It was fresh, youthful and sophisticated. I would love to hear your thoughts!