We step inside The Duchess of Cambridge's wardrobe to compile the ultimate guide to her favourite fashion brands...If you were allowed to have a good old root around inside Duchess Kate’s wardrobe, how many fashion gems do you think you’d find? There’s a plethora of McQueen, sure. Boxes and boxes of nude LK Bennett courts, obviously. But the Duchess Of Cambridge is also really good at introducing us to niche new brands that we would never previously have heard of (Aquatalia, anyone?).
The ultimate fashion diplomat whose impeccable style choices have been known to build bridges between nations (remember when she tactically wore Canadian-born British designer Erdem Moralioglu to kick off her royal tour in Ottawa?) the Kate effect leads to an instant sell-out of any item she wears.
“There is no question that Kate choosing to wear Reiss has impacted our brand,” David Reiss, Founder and Managing Director of Reiss told us. “We have noticed a significant increase in terms of brand interest and awareness globally, strengthening existing markets and attracting attention in markets we are yet to enter.”
Getting Duchess Kate’s seal of approval is the ultimate honour for any fashion brand, but the impact her endorsement can have on small businesses in particular has been known to literally see tiny labels launch into fully fledged companies overnight.
“I was so excited the first time I found out that the Duchess had chosen to wear one of our dresses,” Natasha Rufus Isaacs, co-founder of ethical fashion label Beulah told us. “We were a relatively unknown and young label, and it definitely helped spread the word about us and the cause that we support.”
Find out more about Beulah, Reiss and all of Kate Middleton’s favourite fashion brands in our wardrobe breakdown below. Consider this your ultimate guide to the Duchess Of Cambridge’s style…
1. Alexander McQueen
Let’s start with the Duchess’s ultimate fashion go-to, shall we? Kate LOVES Sarah Burton’s designs at Alexander McQueen almost as much as she loves Wills. From that stunning lace wedding dress to an entire collection of chic, sharp dresses and occasion coats, Sarah always strikes a perfect balance between McQueen’s house hallmarks (extreme silhouettes, Victorian corsetry and dramatic presence) and Kate’s softer, approachable personality. Every time the pair collaborate, the resulting look is pitch perfect.
When Duchess Kate wore Reiss’s Shola dress to meet the Obamas in 2011 the impact on sales was instant. “The surge in web traffic following the release of the images caused our website to crash,” David Reiss, Founder and Managing Director of Reiss told us. “The dress promptly sold out online when service was resumed.” The Duchess’s wardrobe is full of Reiss’s classic dresses including the Nannette and the Trina – both of which also experienced the ‘Kate effect’ in full force when they too sold out in a fashion flash.
3. L.K. Bennett
Oh those cream courts. Never has anyone ever been so faithful to a signature shoe. And yet they always look box fresh? We have reason to believe that Kate’s LK Bennett collection is housed a mini-wardrobe of its own and comprises of even more classic heels, a few pairs of showstopper sandals and a dozen or so boxes of stockpiled nude 'Sledge' pumps.
Kate Middleton’s worked a lot of Zara into her casual wardrobe – blouses, blazers, you name it. But our favourite episode? The one where she wore a £19.99 faux crystal necklace with a super-expensive Roland Mouret gown at a red carpet film premiere. Who said the crown jewels had to be real?
5. Temperley London
Both Middleton sisters love Alice Temperley’s eponymous line (Pippa has even been spotted on the designer’s London Fashion Week front row). And Alice equally loves them back. ‘[Kate is] a brilliant ambassador for British fashion,’ she has said of her regular client, who comes to her for red carpet drama and pretty lace day dresses alike.
6. Jenny Packham
Another go-to for red carpet wow gowns and chic maternity ward nighties alike. True glam prevailed, though, when Jenny provided Duchess Kate with this stunning embellished gown for a red carpet-ready party in Hollywood. Does it get any more A-List?
7. Le Chameau
Kate’s a country girl at heart and always goes to Le Chameau, manufacturer of the ‘world’s finest rubber boots’ for her, erm, wellies. A ‘maître bottier’ handcrafts each pair of the French heritage brand’s shoes. Because apparently Hunters are just too general public these days.
A fan of the established Brit label since her uni days, Kate Middleton’s Mulberry bag collection includes a classic black Polly Push Lock and a bright pink Araline, which she once wore with yellow disco hot-pants (well you would, wouldn’t you?) More recently she’s been loving the brand’s ready-to-wear line and has snapped-up a bunch of classic English garden dresses.
9. Emilia Wickstead
Kate regularly called upon the first lady of British couture while she was pregnant with Prince George, making sure that all of her maternity wear was tailor-made to the royal bump. Wickstead injects a lot of colour into the Duchess’s wardrobe too – we love the Miss Peacock vibe of this recent ensemble in New Zealand.
10. Issa London
Kate Middleton's worn a lot of Issa’s beautifully draped dresses, but let's focus on one specific moment - her engagement. Matching the label’s royal blue silk jersey wrap style to her new Sapphire rock was headline-grabbing sartorial genius.
11. J Brand
Yes, when she’s off-duty Duchess Kate does jeans like the best of us. J Brand skinnies are her signature denim style – we totally wish those coral 811s were in our PE kit bag.
Aquatalia by Marvin K. is another brand Kate’s been keen on since the St Andrews days. The Italian leather designer is renowned for his super-comfy and weather-ready soles. Chic.
13. Russell and Bromley
Kate’s £245 Russell and Bromley wedges have become one of her wardrobe staples. Her go-to styling choice when dressing up those J Brand drainpipes, she’s even played volleyball in the 4inch cork platforms. What a pro.
Clever Kate used her style to unite nations on her Canada tour in 2011, choosing a dress by Canadian-born British designer Erdem Moralioğlu on her first day in Ottawa. Every country (obviously) wanted to take some credit for that masterful use of lace.
15. Jimmy Choo
The Duchess’s party shoe of choice - usually something strappy, sky high and shimmering. Proper princess footwear? Now we’re talking.
Ethical fashion label Beulah use a portion of their profits to help victims of India’s sex trafficking trade. Kate’s helped to raise awareness of the brand and their work, wearing a few of their loose and lightweight dresses when she’s on tours in hot climates.
“She's a wonderful ambassador for British fashion and her support definitely raises awareness and recognition of the brand,” Natasha Rufus Isaacs, co-founder of ethical fashion label Beulah told us. “A few of the press picked up on the charity angle on our business, that we help vulnerable and trafficked women and provide an alternative, sustainable livelihood. Raising awareness and funds for the cause is the heart of what we do here at Beulah.”
17. Prabal Gurung
Esteemed fashion critics called Kate Middleton’s printed Prabal dress ‘daring’ and ‘fabulous’ when she debuted it on her Singapore tour 2012. And how ever did she know that American-Nepalese designer Mr Gurung was born in Singapore? Spot on, again.
18. Max Mara
Lovely luxe coats are Italian mega-label MaxMara’s specialist subject. Kate’s got about 5 in her winter wardrobe – ideal investment pieces.
The Duchess of Camrbidge loves Jaeger dresses - from this sweet sunshine shirtdress on tour in the Solomon Islands, to the nautical number that she snapped up in the SS14 sale. Who said royalty couldn’t be thrifty?
A recent addition to Duchess Kate's style files, she chose one of Brit label Suzannah’s gorgeous green tea dresses for Prince George’s first birthday bash at the Natural History Museum.
Many a wardrobe isn’t complete without a trench coat and for a while, Kate’s fit n’ flare Burberry mac was her most-worn piece. We haven’t seen it since March 2011 – surely she couldn’t have thrown such a classic in a charity bag?
22. Jonathan Saunders
LFW’s king of off-kilter colour combos gave a perfect kick-start to Kate’s rainbow-bright holiday wardrobe for a tour of the Solomon Islands back in 2012.
The Duchess Of Cambridge loves Whistles (here she is wearing their best-selling Carrie pleated skirt in 2011), however, the brand’s chief executive Jane Shepherdson says the ‘Kate effect’ on sales isn’t always as you might expect - thanks to her thriftiness. ‘She wore a blouse [in the royal engagement photos] which was actually from a few seasons ago, which we weren’t running,’ she said. 'So in that instance, it raised profile certainly, but it didn’t do anything for sales.'
Luxury label Goat just announced that their first stand-alone store will open in Mayfair this year - no doubt, in part, thanks to the ‘Kate effect’. Kate was recently spotted (but really, how could you miss her?) in this fuchsia frock on a visit to a London school.
25. Diane Von Furstenberg
Kate’s got several of DvF’s classic silk jersey wrap dresses in her closet, in a mixture of the designer’s signature 70s prints and bold colour combos. On her trip to LA with Prince William in 2011, she debuted one of the New York designer’s classic Lytton box clutches in a pink leopard print – a look Cheryl Cole loved so much that she snapped one up for herself a few days later.
26. Anya Hindmarch
Whenever she feels like injecting some pure fashion fun into an outfit, Kate whips out this fan bag by Queen of quirky clutches Anya Hindmarch. It’s made appearances at Wimbledon in July 2014 and on her Canadian tour, to name but a few occasions…
We’ve spotted Kate Middleton wearing Hobbs’s Wessex dress on three occasions in as many years. Proper fashion critics call that ‘recycling’, but we’re just going to go ahead and assume that she’s ‘wearing her own, actual clothes’. It is, apparently, the perfect attire to do judo in, too.