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A Royal Style Icon is Born

by Joanne Galey

Today Kate Middleton (lovingly nicknamed “Kate the Great” by the British public) becomes Princess Catherine and as the world watches, a new global fashion icon is crowned.

Refusing to bow to the “conventional norm” of following trends dictated by celebrities and fashionistas; Kate has cultivated her own intuitive style that effortlessly flatters her athletic frame and shows off those glossy brunette tresses. Her camera ready poise is always fresh, polished and most importantly “ladylike.” No doubt she’ll be able to look back on these early, heady days without uttering “oh my goodness, what was I thinking?”

Her normal and middle-class background have surely inspired her smart and innovative flair. While favoring UK designers, she’s not afraid to pepper her wardrobe with chain-store pieces. Her style, the epitome of British prep easily translate to the LA girl. Understated and classy, fitted dresses and blazers, skinny jeans and riding boots and of course those delightful touches of fun and frippery; the feather fascinator (it’ll be fun to see if her fondness for feathers catches on on this side of the pond).

Vanity Fair has honored her as one of its “best-dressed.” The Daily Telegraph deemed her as “most promising newcomer” for its 2006 style list. She’s a repeat honoree of People magazine, winning awards in 2007 and 2010.

While nay-sayers bemoan how much the royal wedding is costing Britain, perhaps Miss Middleton should be commended on her ability to be a one-woman stimulus package for the fickle fashion industry.

When the couple stepped in front of the cameras to announce their engagement to the world, the Princess chose a stunning royal blue silk dress by Daniella Helayel for Issa (perfectly matching her heirloom sapphire and diamond engagement ring, belonging to Prince William’s mother, the late Princess Diana). Issa was bombarded with requests for the dress and knock offs sold out in chain and discount stores around the country. It’s worth noting that the much copied Issa dress cost $625 – not inexpensive, but certainly not couture expensive. Another nod to Kate’s recession chic style.

On a recent visit to Ireland, Kate sported a stone colored Burberry trench coat that subsequently sold out across the United Kingdom by the day’s end. Similarly a black velvet coat by Libelula (another favored designer) sold out within hours and the company had to create a waitlist for the hundreds of disappointed buyers.

No doubt the much anticipated wedding gown design will ignite a frenzy in the bridal industry as designers and would-be brides alike clamber to be a “copy Kate.”

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