Kate Middleton is not only known as the Duchess of Cambridge and wife of Prince William, but also known as a fashion icon as many of her choice of clothes has set fashion styles and brands famous all over the world.
One famous dress she wore was by Daniella Helayel. It was the popular blue dress she donned on when she and Prince William announced their engagement publicly. You would expect Helayel to be rich and famous as well because of it. But on the contrary, the designer claims that the dress ruined her business.
The Kate Middleton Effect
It was the year 2010 and Kate Middleton stepped out to greet the press with Prince William. Her outfit: a royal blue wrapped dress from the label Issa that matched her 12 carat sapphire ring.
Meanwhile, Daniella Helayel had phones ringing off the hook inquiring and ordering about the dress that Kate wore.
— ELLE Magazine (US) (@ELLEmagazine) February 21, 2017
Helayel shared that she was surprised about the popularity of the dress. Kate was already wearing her designs prior to the blue dress but that one seemed to have changed Issa. The dress was reordered thousands of times and her sales doubled.
The only problem with all this was that Helayel’s business was not ready for that kind of growth. She expressed that she didn’t have enough money to finance the production of those blue dresses on such a large scale. Furthermore, the factory was already demanding her to pay her bills and the bank didn’t give her credit. In the end, she needed an investor and that came in the form of Camilla Al-Fayed.
If you found that name familiar, that’s because Camilla is half sister to Dodi Al-Fayed, the one who died in 1997 with Princess Diana in a car crash. Camilla bought 51 percent of the shares in Helayel’s company. Though that was all good for Helayel, Al-Fayed’s family were big critics of the royal family after the crash. Ultimately, Kate wore the Issa designs less and less after that.
The Issa brand then deteriorated. Helayel left in 2013 when the company took on a new CEO whom she didn’t come to terms with. Two years later, Issa shut down for good.
New Brand Dhela
Helayel shared that she left because of the stress of the business. She claims that her hair started falling out and even went white. To see Issa crumble down was “heartbreaking” on her part considering she built it all on her own for 10 years.
But now, after taking a break from designing and spending time with her family, she’s back with a new brand called Dhela. Helayel said that her first collection has “hints of Issa” and will be available this month.
We look forward to seeing more of these designs and maybe even spot Kate Middleton in Dhela someday.