It was the most talked about dress of 2010. When Kate Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge, announced her engagement to Prince William at Buckingham Palace, she memorably wore a navy-blue wrap dress by British label Issa, the £575 style sold out in a matter of minutes, kick-starting the phenomenon now known as the ‘Kate effect’ in the process.
If the classic wrap dress has been playing on your mind ever since, we come bearing good news. After going into administration back in 2015, Issa has relaunched in partnership with House of Fraser and has brought back the now-iconic style for just £99, a fraction of the original price. It’ll also be available in a range of jewel tones, including emerald green, yellow and a bold red-orange shade (though you’ll have to wait until the end of March for the latter two to drop). Naturally, the gown has been renamed as ‘the Kate’ in honour of its most famous patron.
This isn’t the first time that Issa founder Daniella Helayel has brought back her best-known creation. Back in 2016, the designer joined forces with another high street brand, Monsoon, for a capsule collection comprising – you guessed it – a selection of wrap dresses, including one V-necked style in navy blue.
While you might assume that such a public endorsement from the most photographed woman in the world would prove fortuitous for a fashion brand, it wasn’t always the case for Issa. In a 2016 interview with the Daily Mail, Helayel revealed how the huge public demand for dresses just like Kate’s brought the brand to its knees, explaining how at the time of the engagement, the brand was ‘on the verge of financial crisis.’
‘From the day of the royal engagement our sales doubled. I didn’t have the money to finance production on that scale,’ she said. ‘The bank refused to give me credit, and the factory was screaming for me to pay its bills.’
While Helayel eventually found an investor, she departed from the business shortly after. Now, she’s found success with a new brand, Dhela, and has revitalised Issa with House of Fraser too.