Kate Middleton Boosts British Designers Out Of Recession
Duchess Of Cambridge 'greatest Ambassador For British Fashion Since Princess Diana'
The Duchess Of Cambridge effect has made a major impact on British fashion abroad. Upmarket high street chains like Reiss and L.K.Bennet have been the winners, in a new domination of United States fashion trends. The wife of the heir to the throne has been the best ambassador of British fashion, since her mother in law the late Princess Diana, a regular feature on the pages of Vogue and Elle magazines.
Retailers LK Bennett has just set up shop in New York’s Manhattan following a 15% sales leap in just six months. The executive chairman, hinted at plans to "go to 20 stores in the US. Tony DiMasso, president of LK Bennett, said: “Kate is an elegant lady, she wears our clothing and our shoes very well. The American public are infatuated with her, which has definitely helped us, being new to the American market," DiMasso is a former chief operations officer at Jimmy Choo. Added;"The great press we've received because of her has helped people come to the store and see the brand. We've been very well received in the United States and are starting to look at more stand alone locations in the city and in other states, such as Florida and San Francisco. "Within minutes of Kate Middleton appearing publicly wearing a dress coat or a dress from a High Street shop they are a sell-out, usually online first and then in the actual shops".
Mary Alice Stephenson, a former fashion editor of Vogue, Allure, Marie Claire and Harper's Bazaar, believes the duchess's appeal in America emulates from her American aesthetic. "While she might be supporting British brands, the way that Kate dresses is very all-American, classic sportswear with a twist," said Stephenson. "She is also very smart using fashion the way that Michelle Obama does, Kate is championing new home-grown talent and breathing life into iconic, traditional British brands."
LK Bennett's performance has been strong with underlying sales jumping 15% in the six months to the end of January. Reiss' most recent figures showed profits more than doubling to nearly £7m after sales broke through the £100m barrier,with the most recent set of accounts showing sales jumping more than 10% to £95m. Whistles and Hobbs have also benefited from the Kate factor with the duchess sporting one of Whistles white silk blouses in the series of Mario Testino photos taken to mark her engagement.
Many businesses have suffered by the downturn in the economy but some shops on the High street have bucked the trend. Others have grown disproportionally due to the popularity of labels such as Mulberry and Burberry. The ready to wear market has been far stronger in terms of broader sales, in and outside of Britain. Items worn by the Duchess have been instant best sellers . She is the first Royal to cross over, mixing and matching both the upmarket one offs with affordable, ready to wear fashion.