kate middleton dress

When we caught sight of the red carpet pictures of Kate Middleton (or Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, for royalists, fact-checkers, and people who don’t have to do SEO for a living) we almost didn’t recognize her. The gorgeous look Kate Middleton wore last night to the London premiere of Long Walk to Freedom, based on the autobiography of Nelson Mandela, could well be the edgiest thing she has ever worn.

Kate Middleton has worn this dress—a minimal Roland Mouret column with a thigh-high slit—before, but last time she styled it with silver sandals and a silver beaded clutch, with her hair in its standard shiny princess blow out. The dress was lovely and well-fitting, but the overall effect was unremarkable. This time she looks much younger and more modern with a black clutch and shoes, and her shiny, shiny hair pulled back into a loose, messy ponytail with a teased crown and some loose tendrils around her face.

Doing the high/low thing that is so popular with public figures right now, she added a $35 rhinestone statement necklace from Zara, which is also great though unfortunately sold out in the U.S.

kate middleton dress closer

We adore this look on her, and hope to see more like it in the future. If this younger, more fashion-forward look is the work of Kate’s BFF and rumored stylist Emilia Jardine-Patterson, then good show, Emilia.

Also last night, Kate got to meet Idris Elba, which makes us more envious of her than even all the gorgeous tiaras do. (We are really very envious of the tiaras. Whatever happened to the democratization of fashion? It is not fair that Queen Elizabeth II has all the tiaras and we have none, and it is totally not fair that princesses are the only people who can wear tiaras without looking like total doofs.)

Oh well. It’s time to let go of the tiaras and just focus on Idris Elba, who is awesome and Kate knows it.

kate middleton idris elba

That is pretty much the exact face we would be making in that situation.

Via Grazia/Images via Getty