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.
The Duchess received a beautiful posy upon arrival from six-year-old Lydia, the daughter of museum director Tristram Hunt.
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.
The Duchess attended a short reception in The Blavatnik Hall to meet guests involved in the project's delivery.
Mingling with guests.
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.
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, 1960's 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 carried a new red suede clutch.
And accessorised with her Annoushka pearls with Kiki McDonough hoops.
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".
**This post will be updated with additional photos and information shortly**