The Kate effect is back. Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton’s iconic blue engagement dress just got a revamp—for far less than its original price tag.
Back in 2010, Prince William and the future Duchess of Cambridge announced their engagement in a formal photo call at the palace. Middleton’s sapphire, silk Issa wrap piece, which matched her sparkling engagement ring, became an instant hit globally. So much so that the high demand for the wrap dress far exceeded the label’s ability to meet and produce the large scale requests for the piece.
Issa creative director Danielle Helayel has indicated that the surge in demand indirectly prompted the demise of her namesake label, which eventually shuttered. “Issa was a niche brand; we had a loyal following, but in 2008 and 2009 we were in serious financial trouble. When Kate wore that dress everything changed,” she told the Daily Mail in 2017. “We didn’t have a TV at the studio and this was pre-Instagram, but we soon knew Kate was wearing Issa because at four o’clock the phones began ringing and didn’t stop. It was bonkers…”
While sales were through the roof, Helayel was unable to finance the production behind the piece, prompting her to tap the help of a friend. During the next three years, Issa underwent several business transitions, that forced Helayel to leave in May 2013. The label itself shuttered in 2015. “I had a great business, which I’d built up on my own over a decade,” she said in the same interview. “To watch it evaporate was heartbreaking. I took two years out and didn’t design a thing. It was too painful.”
Now, eight years after the piece’s large-scale debut, the label has now relaunched under a new umbrella company known as the House of Fraser.
Even better news is that the Duchess of Cambridge’s dress, which originally retailed for upwards of $600, is now being offered for less than $150. The piece is appropriately named the “Kate Tie Wrap Dress” and it’s currently available in a forest green color. The design will eventually be sold in a variety of colors including yellow and orange.