What with all the fanfare about Meghan Markle’s new approach to royal style, it might have missed your attention that Princess Eugenie of York has stepped things up in the fashion stakes recently. Though she’s still best – and perhaps unfairly – known for her and her sister Princess Beatrice’s highly memeable fascinators at Kate and William’s wedding back in 2011, the younger daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson has undergone a low-key style transformation in the past few months.
While the Duchess of Cambridge and Meghan Markle's position in the royal family means that their outfits are subject to more stringent scrutiny, particularly regarding that most boring and tenuous of constructs, royal protocol, Eugenie is not a 'working' royal (hold your outrage: she has a bona fide real person job as a gallery director at Hauser & Wirth in Mayfair) so she can have a little more fun with fashion - just like any 28 year old should be able to.
Perhaps the first time that Eugenie's style piqued our interest was back in January, when she chose a floral shift dress by Erdem for the official photos to mark her engagement to Jack Brooksank. Just like the Duchess of Cambridge, Eugenie is a huge fan of the Canadian-born, London-based designer, though where the Duchess typically opts for his more understated prints and sweeping hemlines, Eugenie tends towards his bolder, more graphic florals and more structured shapes. Then, at the royal wedding in May, she was one of the first to wear Gainsborough London, the tailoring and couture label set up by a former Vogue art director, Caroline Breteau, and Sam Dougal, formerly of Alexander McQueen. The dress in question was striking in its simplicity, a '60s shape in powder blue worn with a simple pillbox hat a la Jackie Kennedy.
For Royal Ascot, another key event in the royal calendar - and one with a hyper-specific dress code, the Princess managed to find a stylish work-around in the form of a wrap-style dress in white by another London-based designer, Osman.
The Serpentine summer party, June 2018
For the Serpentine's annual summer bash, Eugenie chose this one-shoulder gown in a bold floral print, which reminds us of one of Princess Diana's '80s ensembles (in the best possible way).
Royal Ascot, June 2018
Eugenie nailed the complex Royal Ascot dress code with this sleek wrapover style by London label Osman and a structured M2Malletier handbag.
The royal wedding, May 2018
A simple, structured dress in powder blue by London label Gainsborough that was worlds away from her 2011 royal wedding ensemble.
A night out at Annabel's, May 2018
Clearly Eugenie has a thing for florals. This off-the-shoulder gown is a ditzier print that we usually see the young royal wearing.
The Queen's 92nd birthday concert, April 2018
Though it was Meghan Markle's Stella cape dress that gained the most attention, let's give Eugenie's simple MaxMara shift some appreciation.
Official engagement photos, January 2018
For her official engagement photoshoot, Eugenie stuck with one of her favourite designers, Erdem.
A Vogue event, December 2017
Another Erdem moment for Eugenie, this time for a Vogue party in London (she's since re-worn the dress a handful of times, too).
All of this, of course, leads us to one question in particular: will Eugenie leverage her connections in the London fashion scene when it comes to finding the perfect royal wedding dress? The Princess will marry fiancé Jack Brooksbank at St George's Chapel in October (which, you might remember, is the same place where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tied the knot earlier this year), and it's hardly a stretch to picture her walking down the aisle in romantic Erdem or a perhaps more structural creation by Osman. Until October 12th, all bets are off.