How Kate's style has influenced everyone's tastes (but her wedding dress hasn't made much of a splash)


By Lauren Paxman

Celebrities including Mary Portas and Vivienne Westwood seem to be lining up to dismiss the Duchess of Cambridge's fashion credentials, but the public refuses to listen.

Despite sticking to a very classic style, Kate Middleton is shaping the face of fashion in the UK, and beyond.

The streets are full of trends inspired by the young royal, from wearing navy blue to gemstone rings...


The Duchess of Cambridge usually steers clear of wearing black, preferring a softer shade of navy blue.

She first demonstrated her fondness of the colour with her Issa engagement announcement dress, and has since wore navy skirt suits, military-inspired skirts and cocktail dresses.

In the navy: The Duchess has turned dark blue into the new black

Kate's colour choice has influenced everyone from Victoria Beckham - who chose the hue for her Royal Wedding outfit, to London Fashion Week designers.

The colour featured at Burberry, Marc by Marc Jacobs and Colette Dinniga's shows.
As stylist and personal shopper Eva Timbs told the Sydney Morning Herald: 'It looks so now.'


When Kate showed off her engagement ring last November, similar versions sold out almost as quickly as the Issa dress she was wearing.

The sapphire and diamond ring, which had belonged to Princess Diana, has also sparked a trend for colourful gemstones of every colour.

By Brillians is a fine jewellery collection that specialises in lab created diamonds. But even they have seen their colourful jewellery flying off the shelves.

The company's co-founder Dervla Cogan told MailOnline: 'In the run up to the Royal wedding we constantly had customers visit our shop and emailing our website requesting a piece similar to Kate's engagement ring.'

'We created a piece inspired by the famous ring and it was hugely popular. It sold out before the big day and people who wanted it had to be put on a waiting list.

'Even after the wedding we were still selling hundreds and it continues to be one of our best selling items. To this day tourists still come to our store and ask for it.

'Even people looking for engagement rings are opting for coloured stones rather than the traditional clear diamond, with Liz Hurley as the latest celebrity example.'


It isn't just Kate who is a big fan of nude shoes, her mother, Carole, and sister, Pippa have also stepped out in the same L.K. Bennett Sledge Courts. But the craze has also spread much further.

As Carly from Kate Middleton Style blog points out: 'Remember Mike & Zara’s wedding? Both members of the Royal Family and celebrity guests alike turned up wearing nude court shoes, some wearing the L.K. Bennett Sledge (For example Princess Beatrice) and others wearing a similar nude colour, but by a different designer.'

Middleton effect: Catherine, Carole and Pippa all own pairs of L.K. Bennett's taupe Sledge courts

She adds: 'The first time the nude court shoes had been identified, within hours the L.K. Bennett website crashed and shortly after the sought-after shoe had sold out. It didn’t take long before the shoe also sold out across department stores, such as: Selfridges, John Lewis and House of Fraser.'

There are still a few pairs of the shoes available on eBay. But expect to pay much more than their £175 retail value. There are dozens of cheaper very similar versions on the high street.


London-based fashion label Alexander McQueen's fortunes were already on the up before Kate Middleton chose Sarah Burton to design her wedding dress.

Turnover soared by nearly 50 per cent to £32million in 2010 and pre-tax profits came in at £3.7million compared with a loss of £56,000 the previous year.

Setting a trend: By choosing Sarah Burton as the designer of her wedding dresses, and the gown she wore in LA Catherine ensured the label keeps going from strength to strength

But the choice ensured that the company would continue to do well despite the financial crisis.

Anna Dello Russo, Emmanuelle Alt, Natalie Massenet, Rachel Zoe and Selma Hayek were all sitting on the front row of Alexander McQueens latest show last month... while the rest of us swooned over the gorgeous dresses.


Liz Jones wrote in the Daily Mail yesterday that nude stockings are 'suddenly the height of fashion, it seems the Middleton effect — both Kate and Pippa favour nude tights — has sent sales soaring.'

She quotes Anna Dello Russo as saying: 'Kate Middleton is quite old-fashioned... but when she was wearing fleshy, nude stockings it looked so avant-garde... I think she has the kind of personality to make them modern.’

Telltale sheen: According to Anna Dello Russo, The Duchess of Cambridge has managed to make nude stockings look 'avant-garde'

And consumers seem to agree. Debenhams saw sales of sheer tights rise by 65 per cent in the two weeks following the Royal Wedding in April.

Following the royal tour of Canada and the U.S. earlier this year, when Kate wore sheer tights almost every day, sales were up a quarter on 2010.


The Duchess of Cambridge has fashioned herself into the high street's most famous fan.

She chose a blue Zara dress for the day after her wedding, Reiss for her engagement photo and to meet the Obamas, was even spotted shopping in Topshop on High Street Kensington in London.

High Street: The young Royal loves shopping at Reiss (left), Zara (centre), Whistles (right) and Topshop

Anna Dello Russo again approves of Kate's sartorial choices. The editor-at-large of Japanese Vogue said: 'She's modern, really modern. She's smart to mix cheap clothes with, the likes of Alexander McQueen.'

The rest of us seem to agree. Every item of clothing Kate has worn that is within the average woman's price range (and a good few of those that were more expensive) has sold out almost as soon as the royal was seen wearing it.


Lace was coming back into fashion well before the Duchess chose the material as the focal point of her wedding dress. But her sartorial selections have ensured that lace is here to stay.

Many of the Christmas season's hottest party dresses will feature lace detailing.

Grazia also noticed that the material was all over New York Bridal Fashion Week dresses.

Racy lace: The newlywed is a big fan of lace detailing, as demonstrated by these two Erdem dresses and her wedding dress

Journalist Jessica Vince wrote: 'Middleton mania has influenced every designer, most notably through lace sleeves that repli-Kate the famous Alexander McQueen gown of Royal Wedding day.'

But we were surprised to see that the style of Kate's dress did not spark more imitations at the shows.


In the run up to the Royal Wedding there was one question on everyone's lips: who would Catherine choose to design her long white dress?

As soon as the bride-to-be stepped out of the car outside Buckingham Palace, designers began to sketch drawings of the dress expecting it to be the next big thing. And then, nothing.

Despite universal approval of Kate's choice of gown, imitations of the Sarah Burton number have not been popping up in church aisles up and down the country, even Z-list celebrities haven't been getting married in copies to raise the profile of their nuptials...

But perhaps the most astonishing absence of Kate Middleton look-a-likes has been at the Bridal Fashion Week in New York where visitors were expecting to be bombarded with lacy long-sleeved gowns.

Maybe the Duchess' waist looked to small people were worried about how they would compare in similar versions of the dress.

Maybe Pippa Middleton's bottom-hugging McQueen gown diverted the designers' attention.

Or maybe brides just each want to make their own mark so are choosing the opposite of what has been done before.

Designer Gregory Nato, who works with his brother Stephen on the Fancy New York bridal collection, played down any Duchess of Cambridge influences.

He told the New York Times: 'That dress silhouette already existed.

'Other designers copied that and had it on the runway right away, but what we noticed though, is that nobody bought it.'

He added: 'The trend is going the exact opposite.'

Women don't want to copy others who have walked down the aisle before them
'A modern bride is creating an original event for herself. She’s bringing her personality into it. Tea length is huge. Most of our dresses are tea length.

'If you’re spending a lot of money on shoes, why is it covered by the dress?' Neto said.