When Kate Middleton wore that blue Issa dress during the press conference announcing her engagement to Prince William, she spurred a frenzy for the frock. The now-famous silk jersey wrap dress sold out in store and online within 24 hours, brought name recognition to a little known brand and designer (Daniella Helayel), and inspired countless knock offs–some of them decent, some of the very bad. Then the cream colored Reiss dress she wore in her Testino-shot engagement portraits, an old style from her closet, prompted Reiss to reissue the dress.
Early on, despite Middleton’s conservative style, we sensed a Mrs. O effect in the works. During the Obama campaign and during the First Lady’s first 100 days in the White House, the press followed Michelle Obama’s every style style move and so did consumers. The Harvard Business Review even published a report on the First Lady’s proven ability to move the market. So far, Kate Middleton seems to be making a similar impact. She shops her closet and mixes high street pieces with high end ones. Consumers are clamoring to buy what she wears.
Today the Daily Mail broke down every notable item Middleton has worn since her engagement announcement and traced its impact:
The £650 Burberry trench with the ruffle-flare hem she wore last week? Sold out on online. A £22 knock-off by Brit brand Asda saw sales spike 300 percent.
The black velvet Libelula coat she wore to a wedding in January? The Mail reports that the £310 Dulwich coat sold out within hours of the photos being published and now has a wait list of over 300 people.
The £295 Temperley Titan dress she wore to a charity event in December? Sold out in two days. But Kate got it on sale.
The red Luisa Spagnoli suit and Aquatalia boots she wore when she went to St. Andrews with Wills last month? According to the Mail the £335 “sushi” jacket and £160 skirt sold out within a day at London boutique Hollie de Keyser. The boutique re-ordered 100 more of the suit and owner Hollie de Kayser said, “Since Kate wore the suit, we have been inundated.” As for the £395 Aquatalia boots? Stockists Russell & Bromley say everyone’s calling for the “Kate Middleon boots.”
“I do think there are early signs of a ‘Kate effect,’” says Mary Tomer, founder and editor of the Mrs.O blog that documents Michelle Obama’s sartorial choices in meticulous detail. “Kate Middleton’s blue Issa dress sold out on Net-a-porter almost instantaneously… WWD was quick to report that she wore Reiss and Whistles in her engagement photo. The pattern rings familiar to those who followed the first lady’s style in the early days of sold out Donna Ricco dresses and J.Crew cardigans.”
“From an awareness standpoint, Kate Middleton is doing for Issa what Michelle Obama did for Maria Pinto, and to some extent Jason Wu and Isabel Toledo,” Tomer adds. “Designers who were once only known within the inner sanctums of fashion are suddenly part of the mainstream vernacular.”
Click through to see the looks.
**All photos: Daily Mail.