Fashion criticism for a crimson Kate

Looks like the press honeymoon is over

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Matt Dunham/AP

Well, we all knew the press honeymoon concerning Kate’s clothes wasn’t going to last. But to have it come to a screeching halt in the middle of the Diamond Jubilee weekend seems a bit too convenient–more of a cynical marketing strategy than genuine outrage.

Today, the Daily Mail savaged the duchess of Cambridge for wearing a dramatic red outfit for the Thames flotilla. “Did Kate really have to steal the show in her scarlet dress? The rest of the Royal party opted for a muted palette… but she stood out,” screamed the headline. She wore a “bright red Alexander McQueen dress, topped off with a flamboyant red hat by Sylvia Fletcher from royal milliner James Lock & Co.”

It’s hard to tell what caused more horror—the colour, or the fact that Kim Kardashian had worn a sleeveless version of the same outfit.

Apparently the tabloid deemed the ensemble so inappropriate that it should have been relegated to being worn next to Coleen Rooney at Aintree. (Canadian translation: the wife of soccer star Wayne Rooney is infamous for her outlandish, tacky clothes)

You got a sense that the Daily Mail was gearing up for a change in its pro-Kate attitude. They’ve been quite deliberate lately in mentioning how frugal the Queen is, especially when it comes to recycling her outfits. And while they praised Kate for finally recycling an outfit last week, it was also quite snarky: “Clever Kate demonstrated her thrifty side by giving a second outing to the £1,200 Emilia Wickstead dress she wore for the royal sovereign’s lunch in honour of the Queen’s Jubilee at Windsor Castle two weeks ago. Then, eyebrows were raised after so-called ‘High Street Kate’, notorious for her love of affordable clothing, chose a current season designer item costing more than the average monthly salary.”

The Daily Mail‘s new BFFs appear to be Prince Andrew’s daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie. A year ago they were ridiculed for wearing outrageous outfits, hats and makeup to William and Kate’s wedding. Now they can do no wrong, even though Eugenie’s makeup is still a mess, and Eugenie’s clothes, so age-appropriate at Epsom, degenerated noticeably 24 hours later when she wore a sequenned hat to the Thames to accompany a tight dress so unflattering that even Kim Kardashian would have refused to wear it.

And so the Daily Mail has very cleverly set itself up as arbiter, judge and jury of the clothes worn on the final, biggest day of the Diamond Jubilee—tomorrow’s service of thanksgiving and parade.