She happily mixes designer with high street, is devoted to Diana’s favourite ballet pumps, and is never without her favourite ‘click pen’ concealer.
These are just a few of the fashion secrets revealed in a comprehensive account of Kate’s style by Royal writer Claudia Joseph.
Nobody in this country has had quite such an impact on British fashion as the Duchess of Cambridge, whose fashion sense is said to have given a £1 billion boost to the British economy.
Here, we unlock the secret’s of Kate’s wardrobe, piece by piece, in an exclusive A-Z of Kate’s fashion, so that you, too, can Dress Like A Princess
A Alexander McQueen. The British label created the world’s most-talked-about wedding gown when Kate married William in 2011. Since then, chief McQueen designer, Sarah Burton OBE, has become Kate’s go-to dressmaker.
B Beulah. This is is the ‘ethical’ luxury fashion label run by Lavinia Brennan and Prince William’s childhood friend Lady Natasha Rufus Isaacs. She in turn is married to Kate’s former boyfriend, solicitor Rupert Finch. Ten per cent of Beulah London’s profits go into a trust helping vulnerable women into employment. They designed the red Sarai evening gown worn by Kate for her first 100 Women in Hedge Funds charity dinner in 2011 and she has numerous Beulah creations in her wardrobe.
C Charlotte Todd. Textiles graduate Charlotte Todd made the £30 see-through dress the student Kate wore as she waltzed down the catwalk at a St Andrews University fashion show. William, who paid £200 for a ticket, turned to a friend and said: ‘Wow Kate’s hot.’ Todd later started her own fashion label.
D Diane von Furstenberg. When Kate wore the famous DVF wrap dress in a navy Ikat Batik print on tour in Sydney in 2014, it sold out in eight minutes. Since then, the Patrice, or T72, has made millions and kept the American designer on Forbes’ list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.
E Erdem. Stepping off the plane for her first Royal tour of Canada last year, the Duchess of Cambridge caught the eye with a stone crepe and navy lace Cecile shift dress by Canadian/Turkish designer Erdem Moralioglu – named Designer of the Year in 2014. Kate has a selection of his designs, including a green Allie coat.
F French Sole. The Duchess regularly drops in to a branch of shoe shop French Sole in West London’s King’s Road for her favourite Henrietta ballet-style pumps. Princess Diana was a loyal customer and Carole and Pippa Middleton and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie are following in her elegant footsteps.
G G Collins & Sons. This family firm in Tunbridge Wells is the official Crown Jeweller to The Queen. So when the Duchess of Cambridge found that her sapphire and diamond engagement ring was slipping off her finger, Harry Collins fitted two small platinum ‘speed bumps’ inside the ring, which had belonged to her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana.
H Hobbs. Kate wore a dalmatian print mackintosh from the high-street chain on her last public engagement before giving birth to Prince George. It sold out within an hour. She is also a fan of its brown Celeste coat.
I Issa. Who can forget the royal blue Issa dress that the Duchess of Cambridge wore on the day she announced her engagement? Kate bought this off-the-peg gown from Fenwick, in London’s Bond Street, paying the £385 price tag in full. She wore a number of Issa gowns before her engagement, which helped turn Brazilian-born designer Daniella Helayel’s label into a global brand. But Kate appears to have shied away from Issa since Camilla Al Fayed, daughter of Mohamed Al Fayed, took over the brand in 2011.
J Jigsaw. Kate worked for a year at Jigsaw’s head office as an assistant accessories buyer from 2006. Owners John and Belle Robinson were later to lend William and Kate their Mustique villa for holidays.
K Kiki McDonough. Kate owns more than a dozen sets of earrings from the Sloane Street jeweller, including a pair of green amethyst, yellow gold and diamond oval drops, believed to have been a Christmas present from William in 2011. Princess Diana was also a huge fan of the jeweller.
Kate’s wardrobe is cluttered with LK Bennett’s dresses, coats and jackets – not to mention her ubiquitous nude Sledge heels
L LK Bennett. One of Kate’s favourite high street stores. Her wardrobe is cluttered with its dresses, coats and jackets – not to mention her ubiquitous nude Sledge heels and Natalie bag. Linda Kristin Bennett opened her first shop in Wimbledon in 1990 with £28,000 in loans and savings. Seventeen years later she sold her controlling stake to a private equity firm for roughly £70 million. All thanks to that nude court shoe.
M Moloh. When Kate goes to Scotland she inevitably wears a flash of tartan. For this she turns to Caroline Smiley, founder of Moloh, who has a shop in Tetbury, Gloucestershire. Kate wore Moloh’s Workers coat during a visit to Glasgow during the 2014 Commonwealth Games
N Nike. Nearly every sports hero, rock star and Royal has a Nike label in their wardrobe and Kate is no exception. Whether she is sailing, playing hockey or tennis, she turns to the brand. What did she pull out when she attended one of tennis coach Judy Murray’s Tennis On The Road workshops last year? A Pro Hyperwarm Half-Zip training top.
O Orla Kiely. The Irish designer’s bright retro prints have made the 1970s fashionable again. Kate is a fan of her Birdie print – she wore an Orla Kiely brown and cream shirt dress, which she bought in a sale for £162.50, for a charity event in 2012.
P Peter Jones. When she got engaged, the Duchess of Cambridge was often spotted browsing at Peter Jones, sister store to the better known John Lewis and much favoured by the Chelsea set. Kate was frequently spotted visiting the Bobbi Brown make-up counter and has bought Prince William a Valentine’s Day present in the men’s department (Ralph Lauren boxer shorts, since you ask).
Kate’s grandmother-in-law is a gentle guiding influence and has often taken Kate under her wing – most memorably when the pair visited Fortnum & Mason with the Duchess of Cornwall during HM’s Diamond Jubilee
Q The Queen. Kate’s grandmother-in-law is a gentle guiding influence and has often taken Kate under her wing – most memorably when the pair visited Fortnum & Mason with the Duchess of Cornwall during HM’s Diamond Jubilee. And when Kate has been stuck for a tiara, it is to the Queen she has turned.
R Reiss. When Kate posed for her official engagement shoot with photographer Mario Testino in 2010, the cream Nanette frock from Reiss she was wearing sold out. There was another sales spike when she wore the label’s beige Shola shift to meet the Obamas in 2011.
S Seraphine. For Prince George’s first official portrait in 2013, Kate wore Seraphine’s Jolene dress, which – inevitably – sold out within two hours. The Duchess apparently has more than a dozen items by the designer brand, including its powder blue Natasha coat.
T Topshop. It was the first high-street shop to benefit from the Kate Effect. Just 24 hours after she wore its black-and-white minidress on her 25th birthday, it had sold out. Since then she has chosen one of its boho numbers for a tour of India – but you’re unlikely to spot her in the store now.
U United Kingdom. Since Kate joined The Firm, she has travelled around the world promoting British fashion. She and Prince William were regulars at the Olympic Stadium during the 2012 London Games, toured Britain with the Queen during her Diamond Jubilee, have attended state banquets and hosted the Obamas at Kensington Palace. Together they have put Britain back on the fashion map.
V Vivien Sheriff. All eyes were upon Kate when she made her first official public engagement on the Isle of Anglesey, where she and Prince William made their first home. So, in a nod to the local countryside, she chose a milliner inspired by Britain’s ‘natural beauty and abundant wildlife’. Vivien Sheriff, based in rural Wiltshire, designed the bespoke headpiece, made from silk velvet with vintage buttons and a cameo brooch.
W Whistles. Another British label that reaped rewards after the Royal engagement. Kate wore its ivory silk Amy blouse for one of the official photos. Since then she has been a regular customer, wearing its Bella body con dress for the Diamond Jubilee concert and the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games.
OK, it was a spoof, but the picture of Kate and William in festive jumpers sparked widespread hilarity
X Xmas jumpers. OK, it was a spoof, but the picture of Kate and William in festive jumpers sparked widespread hilarity. The image was created by Bafta-winning photographer Alison Jackson, after Pippa revealed their father Michael had turned up one year in an inflatable sumo wrestler outfit.
Y YSL Touche Éclat. Described as ‘eight hours of sleep in a tube’, it is a ‘miracle’ click pen concealer that must have been a godsend for Kate after sleepless nights with George and Charlotte.
Z Zara. What is the perfect outfit for going on honeymoon? A cornflower blue dress from Spanish fashion chain Zara. It was the label of choice for the Duchess and her sister the day after the Royal Wedding – Pippa travelled home in an aptly coloured royal blue blazer. The Middleton sisters are in good company – Queen Letizia of Spain, Michelle Obama and Samantha Cameron are all Zara customers.
The Duchess looked relaxed in blue Zara jeans as she watched the Olympic Torch Relay pass Buckingham Palace in 2012
© Claudia Joseph, 2017.
How To Dress Like A Princess: The Secrets Of Kate’s Wardrobe, by Claudia Joseph, is published on September 19 at £12.99. Offer price £9.74 (25 per cent discount) until September 17 at mailbookshop. co.uk, or call 0844 571 0640; p&p is free on orders over £15.