Duchess Catherine's regal style influence
Middleton reportedly purchased this black and white lace dress off the rack at Zara. (Dominic Chan/WENN.COM)
The romantic Cinderella-like marriage of Kate Middleton to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, swept the world away on a sea of romance and cemented Middleton firmly in her official role as a newly minted Duchess and also in an unofficial role of global trendsetter.
A year later, the world's eyes remain riveted on the photogenic young royal with the glossy long locks and simple, elegant clothing as confirmed by the ongoing public interest and numerous websites devoted to her style.
"I think Kate is revered globally as she is living every girl's childhood fantasy," says Toronto-based fashion designer Wesley Badanjak, who designs both the BASCH and LOVAS collections. "The young, fair maiden meets a handsome prince, falls in love and becomes the future queen. Her humble background makes for an even sweeter fairly tale."
Middleton recently made a splashy figure playing field hockey dressed in stylish and bright coral skinny jeans and a grey track-suit jacket, and she has been photographed mucking about the country in Wellies (tall rubber boots), sweaters and jeans. However she is best known for her lady-like attire and contributed to a new love affair with pantyhose, tights and low-key accessories, such as the traditional pumps she often wears.
"The biggest trend "¦ that's been influenced by Kate is the return to the lady-like pump. For years we've been married to the rounded-toe, six-inch-plus platform, however for the last year Kate has forgone the sky highs for more feminine, sophisticated heels "¦ with slightly pointed toes," says Caleigh Rykiss, a segment producer for Etalk! who was on the scene in England covering the royal wedding with her team last April.
Middleton appears often in feminine gowns, dresses and skirt suits in cream, blush pink, buttercup yellow, taupe and pale grey as well as in deeper shades of charcoal grey, pine green, cherry red and vibrant royal blue, a colour that many identify with her.
The colours and styles Middleton wears are soft and bright this spring, but will likely continue to reach new depths as the seasons change.
"I think Kate's influence will be felt most in her colour and proportion selection," says Badanjak. "Kate is a classic beauty who wears a lot of saturated colours in deep tones. This will definitely be reflected in the colours available in stores come autumn."
Middleton's influence may also be seen in the beauty world with the renewed popularity of dainty ballet pink nail colours, and she's already inspired at least one new fragrance.
"In 2010, during a new product brainstorm, we determined that Kate Middleton represented the contemporary, elegant and stylish values that would inspire a new fragrance that we wanted to develop," says Quentin Higham, a managing director at Yardley of London, Ltd., in England. "We then worked with our fragrance house to develop a floral fragrance that we felt epitomized Kate, which led to the launch of Royal English Daisy.
"We were very lucky that after we had started the development of the fragrance, Prince William asked Kate to marry him, so we were able to coincide the launch (of Royal English Daisy) with their royal wedding," adds Higham.
Middleton's style may seem a little restrained, but whether you like her reportedly self-styled looks or not, it's hard not to admire her confident attitude, bold stride and ready smile.
"Kate tends to be conservative, which will carry into trends going forward. Sleeved dresses, opaque and sheer, have become so important year-round, and Kate wears them often," notes Badanjak. "Her penchant for skirt suits and simple lines are being emulated by many young women who have ditched their sequinned minis for tweed two pieces."
Other style traits already being emulated include a renewed interest in lace pleated skirts and dresses and jackets with both short and three-quarter-length sleeves. Although Middleton is not known for wearing a lot of jewelry, she has made the royal custom of wearing hats look modern and effortless.
"Kate makes great choices in what she wears and as she is so young and pretty the world will undoubtedly continue to take notice," says Jillian Wood, the Toronto-based accessories designer behind the Headmistress line of hats, hair clips, turbans, necklaces and other accessories. "She seems to have the most fun expressing herself with her hats, which are the most noticeable finishing touch to much of what she wears."
According to Wood, since Middleton's arrival on the scene, orders for fascinators, hats, feathered hair clips and other finery has skyrocketed.
DID YOU KNOW:
Duchess Kate Middleton wears the designs of London-based, Montreal native Erdem Moralioglu. Middleton reportedly does most of her own shopping, doesn't limit her wardrobe to designer labels and is said to shop at Zara, Topshop, and other ready-to-wear stores.