London — Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton was seen wearing a beautiful, blue, sheer, polka dot, floor-length dress at a reception here for expatriates from India and Bhutan, days ahead of her visit to the two countries. The credit for creating this beautiful dress goes to designer Saloni Lodha, an India-born British designer. 

The Duchess of Cambridge joined husband Prince William to host a pre-tour reception for representatives of the Indian and Bhutanese expatriates at their home in Kensington Palace April 6.



A photo posted by Saloni Lodha (@salonilodha) on Apr 6, 2016 at 6:15pm PDT

The royal couple will be setting off on their six-day India and Bhutan tour April 10. The high-collar, floor-length dress is called the "Mary Illusion Dot Dress" from Lodha's Pre-Fall 2016 collection. It features polka dots all over, a high ruffled neck and long sleeves. It was also cinched in at the waist with a band-like belt. The dress gave an illusion of a plunging neckline and had v-shaped cut-out detailing at the back. The dress gave a very Victorian vibe to the Duchess' style.

The 34-year-old completed her outfit with diamond and sapphire earrings, and navy high-heels.


The Duchess of Cambridge in Mary Dress

A photo posted by SALONI (@saloniofficial) on Apr 6, 2016 at 10:50am PDT

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are all set to embark on their Indian tour and, as a taster, met representatives from Prince Charles' charity, the British Asian Trust.

Lodha is among the favorite designers of the Duchess, who plans to showcase Indo-British designers during her South Asia visit, which will include a visit to the Taj Mahal in Agra. Lodha, who founded her luxury label in London in 2007, is known for her exotic designs. She was born in India, studied in Mumbai and later moved to Hong Kong and London before returning to Hong Kong where she now lives.

She grew up in a traditional Marwari family and her love affair with textiles began at a very young age. The women in her community only wore sarees, and her grandfather owned a fabric shop. When she first moved to Hong Kong in 2001, which was at the time dominated exclusively by luxury brands, she saw a gap in the market for something more personal, so she decided to set up pop-up boutiques to sell one-off pieces of clothing made in collaboration with artisans back home. When she moved to London in 2004, she did a short course at St. Martins, got some work experience and started her own brand.

Her Web site describes her design philosophy as follows: "I always keep in mind my Indian heritage while designing but don’t translate it literally into our clothes. I think the way we as a brand celebrate bold colors and patterns is our way of bringing the spirit of India into the collections." 

Just a few days after it was announced that the Duke and Duchess would be traveling to India, Middleton wore a dress by Lodha for a function in London, hinting perhaps that she will also rely on the designer's print- and color-filled collection for the upcoming tour. 

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