'You wouldn't look twice at Kate Middleton on a New York street': Nordstrom fashion director claims Duchess of Cambridge is 'no trendsetter'

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By Maysa Rawi

Plain Kate? The fashion director for US department store Nordstrom claims the Duchess of Cambridge 'blends into the crowd'

She has graced countless magazine covers and her dresses sell out within hours of wearing them.

But some experts at New York Fashion Week are not convinced by the Duchess of Cambridge - branding her 'a style follower, not a trendsetter.'

'She is stylish, but she's not setting trends, she's following trends,' said Gregg Andrews, a fashion director at U.S. department store chain Nordstrom.

'If you take Kate out of the royal family, put her on a street in New York, you wouldn't look at her twice.

'She's a beautiful woman, but she blends into a crowd,' he said.
But while her fashion icon status continues to be debated, there is no question she is influential.

Elle Fashion News Director Anne Slowey said: 'Is she a style icon of the likes of a Kate Moss? Absolutely not.

'Is she in the public eye? Are people going to become obsessed with everything she wears regardless of what it is? Yes.'

Kate has always divided critics with her approach to fashion.

While she is praised for wearing - and recycling - affordable High Street labels such as Reiss and Jigsaw, she is also lambasted for her conservative style that some deem too old for her 29 years.

Dress debate: Jill Martin, author of 'I Have Nothing to Wear!' thinks this spring, there will be many brides walking down the aisle in dresses with sleeves, paying tribute to Kate

And the Duchess is often inescapably compared and contrasted with Princess Diana, whose style, charity work and scandalous divorce from Prince Charles made her arguably the world's most famous woman.

But when Kate married Prince William in April, hundreds of millions of people around the world watched on television, eager to see the wedding dress designed by Sarah Burton for British label Alexander McQueen.

And during the a visit by the couple to Canada and the United States in July, all eyes were on her wardrobe.

'Is she iconic at the moment? Time will tell. She's certainly influential.

'In the position that she's in you can't be simply stunning as she is and not have influence,' said Neiman Marcus Fashion Director Ken Downing.

Lauren Conrad recently launched a fashion collection with Nordstrom

While more polished lady-like looks have been shown at New York Fashion Week - such as evening wear with sleeves - some experts were not expecting to see many styles on the runway inspired by Middleton.

Almost 100 designers are showing collections for spring/summer 2012 to retail buyers, media and celebrities, with dozens more showing at other venues around the city to coincide with the semi-annual event, which ends on Thursday.

Saks Fifth Avenue Senior Fashion Director Colleen Sherin said Middleton's style could be aspirational for many women.

'She seems to be starting to experiment a bit, to try some different looks and some different designers which I like to see but also still remaining thoughtful and appropriate in her choices and that's the key to her success,' she said.

Jill Martin, author of "I Have Nothing to Wear!", described her style as classic.

'I think this spring you will see many brides walking down the aisle in dresses with sleeves and that will pay tribute to Kate,' she said.