The Duchess of Cambridge factor attracts millions to UK economy
Kate Middleton has given a massive boost to the UK retail index by singlehandedly kickstarting a British High street fashion boom. The down to earth Duchess has been a championing ambassador for this very British industry by purchasing ready to wear fashion off the racks, instead of commissioning the traditional Haute Couture worn by her predecessors. The chains Reiss and L K Bennet have been in the frontline for profitability, but other more basic labels like Oasis, Warehouse and Coast have also benefited, from Catherine’s Royal seal of approval. The knock on effect has prompted the later shops owned by the Aurora Fashion Brands to launch an American shopping platform online. Last year, Ms Middleton was spotted shopping at Warehouse around the time she was choosing the wardrobe for her honeymoon. In February she was also spotted wearing an Oasis frock while visiting a Children’s Hospital in Liverpool. 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.”
On the museum front Kate has also been a factor in raising the attendance figures for the National Portrait Gallery a central London institution which has seen an unprecedented two millionth visitor this year. This is a milestone which sets the highest annual figures in the Gallery’s history.
St James’s Palace announced back in January the choices of patronage for the Duchess of Cambridge and it was no surprise that the History of art major chose two high profile visual art organisations including The National Portrait Gallery. Kate made a spectacular solo debut at the NPG,last month, when she attended the private view of the Lucian Freud portrait exhibition. She was greeted by the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt as well as by Sandy Nairne, the gallery’s director. Kate was escorted around the exhibition by Nairne as well as the co-curators of the exhibition. In the gallery she mingled with well known art world personalities, including the photographer Mary McCartney (Linda and Paul’s daughter) and Bella Freud, the artist’s daughter, who was also the subject of a 1996 oil on canvas, featured in the show. The Duchess was particularly taken by the painting “Large Interior W11 (after Watteau) painted in 1981 and spent a long time gazing at the work. The exhibition has been the most successful in the NPG’s history.
The inclusion of a new £150,000 wax work of The Duchess of Cambridge is pridicrted to have people queuing around the block at Baker Street this Easter Weekend. Tussaud’s artists worked from the photograph taken by Mario Testino at the announcement of their engagement in November 2010. Kate is wearing the now famous blue ‘Issa’ dress to match the sapphire engagement ring that once belonged to William’s mother the late Diana Princess of Wales. Liz Edwards, from Madame Tussauds, said: ”The Queen is the most popular attraction but since the royal wedding fever we’ve had people coming in to see William when he was without Catherine. ”Catherine has her own star quality so we are expecting a lot of people to come, especially with the Holiday weekend coming.”