Kate Middleton
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, speaks to guests during the Portrait Gala 2014 at the National Portrait Gallery in central London February 11, 2014. Reuters

Kate Middleton wowed guests at the National Portrait Gallery in her first official appearance of 2014.

The Duchess of Cambridge, 32, attended the Portrait Gala in a midnight blue evening gown designed by Jenny Packham, featuring a wrapped front and pleated skirt.

The Jenny Packham dress with gathered short sleeves was cinched at the waist by a velvet band, outlining the duchess's slender post-baby figure.

The ensemble was given regal sheen by a Nizam of Hyderabad diamond necklace borrowed from the Queen, paired with diamond earrings and the engagement ring given to Kate by Prince William in 2010.

The look was completed with a new hairdo, dominated by frizzy tresses.

Kate guest of honour at the gala, is the patron of the museum, which also houses her first official painted portrait.

During the event, the Duchess viewed some of the Pen Portraits and Mystery Portrait Postcards on display.

She also met other A-lister guests, including David Bailey, Olympic Gold medallist Katherine Grainger, Grayson Perry and Jonathan Yeo.

Kate Middleton
The Duchess of Cambridge delivers remarks during the Portrait Gala 2014 at the National Portrait Gallery. Reuters
Kate Middleton
Kate admires her official painted portrait at the National Portrait Gallery. Reuters

Recycled dress

Catherine wore the same Jenny Packham evening gown in October in her first official gala after the christening of Prince George at an Action on Addiction fund-raising dinner gala at Kensington Palace.

Unlike other royals who have been criticised for their lavish spending, Kate appears determined to show she is not just a clothes house and is happy to recycle her signature dresses like an everyday modern woman.