Kate middleton lace dresses

Before there was Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, there was Kate Middleton, a then-19-year-old college student at St. Andrews. It’s known that she and Prince William first met as residents at St. Salvator’s Hal but it was her skin-baring moment at a school charity fashion show that sparked their romance. In 2002, Middleton, who celebrates her 38th birthday today, donned a $40 sheer, black-and-gold silk dress with turquoise bands for the catwalk event.

As the story goes, William reportedly paid $275 to score a front row seat at the Don’t Walk show on March 27, 2002. Middleton was tapped to model the dress by designer Charlotte Todd. At she made her way down the catwalk in St. Andrews Bay Hotel, William turned to his friend Fergus Boyd and whispered, ‘Wow, Fergus, Kate’s hot!'”

Pinterest Todd with the dress in 2011 Getty Images

The couple’s friend, Pat Duncan, confirmed that it was the sheer dress that first captured William’s attention. “It was the end of their first year. I was there, and in person there were a lot of attractive girls,” Duncan relayed in a 2011 interview. “She was in a very daring dress, in a sheer stocking-like dress,” Duncan said. “He was sitting front row and his eyes were like stalks.”

Although the designer behind the dress didn’t get an invite to the couple’s royal wedding in 2011, Todd sold the dress at an auction that same year for over $125,000.

At least Middleton herself had a sense of humor about her risqué runway moment. “I hope you weren’t involved in the fashion show,” she joked to a crowd of undergraduates at St. Andrews in 2012 for the school’s 600th anniversary charity event. “You never know what you are going to be asked to wear!”

Kate Middleton in velvet gown pays tribute to Princess Diana’s Travolta Dress. Trending now

Kate Middleton made an elegant appearance at an event with her husband Prince William at the Buckingham Palace on December 11. At the Royal annual Diplomatic Reception, the Duchess of Cambridge was regal in a floor-length velvet gown by Alexander McQueen.

Photo posted on Instagram by the official account of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Interestingly, Kate’s navy-blue gown is strikingly similar to the iconic ‘Travolta Dress’ which was recently brought back to the Buckingham Palace. A hefty amount of USD 347,000 was paid for the outfit in an auction.

Princess Diana dressed in a Victor Edelstein gown as she dances at a White House dinner with actor John Travolta (Photo: Reuters)

Princess Diana had worn the aforementioned dress in 1985 for her dance with Hollywood star John Travolta at an event at the White House. The dress was brought back to the Palace’s Royal collection after twenty years.

Princess Diana’s Travolta Dress and the gown worn by Kate Middleton for the event are velvet creations and have similar silhouettes. While the former’s remarkable dress features an off-shoulder detailing, Kate’s gown has a rather high-rise V neckline with structured shoulders.

A post shared by HRH the Duchess of Cambridge (@kate_middleton_royal_highness) on Dec 12, 2019 at 5:12am PST

Kate paired her ensemble with the Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot Tiara, an absolutely alluring royal accessory bejewelled with diamonds and pearls.

Photo posted on Instagram by the official account of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

She added a bedazzling diamond necklace from the Royal collection to her look – The Queen’s Nizam of Hyderabad necklace. The Duchess completed her look with a pair of diamond chandelier drop earrings.

The Diplomatic Reception is one of the most anticipated annual Royal events hosted by the Queen. It is attended by the members of the Diplomatic Corps based in London.

ALSO READ: Buckingham Palace gets Princess Diana’s Travolta dress back for GBP 264,000. Why is it so special?

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The Queen has generously let a photographer once again capture the guests at her annual Diplomatic Corps reception at Buckingham Palace—including Kate Middleton. The Duchess of Cambridge was shot en route to the reception in the Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara and diamond dangle earrings. Photographers captured her look in full inside. Kate is in a velvet Alexander McQueen gown with her Royal Family Order ribbon. Her hair is up.

PA Images

The Duchess last wore a tiara in June during the Queen’s state banquet for President Donald Trump. She wore the Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara then, although because the event was private, no photo of Kate’s full-length dress came out.

At last year’s Diplomatic Corps reception, Kate wore a light blue Jenny Packham gown with the Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara. The entire look had Cinderella vibes to it.

WPA PoolGetty Images

Kate and William are expected to spend Christmas with the Queen at Sandringham this year, although Kensington Palace hasn’t officially announced their plans. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will spend their holiday away from the royal family. Their spokesperson announced their holiday plans last month.

“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are looking forward to extended family time towards the end of this month,” the spokesperson said. “Having spent the last two Christmases at Sandringham, Their Royal Highnesses will spend the holiday this year, as a new family, with the Duchess’ mother Doria Ragland. This decision is in line with precedent set previously by other members of the Royal Family, and has the support of Her Majesty The Queen.”

Alyssa Bailey News and Strategy Editor Alyssa Bailey is the news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton).

About Kate’s Issa wrap dress:

Kate’s blue Issa wrap dress is knee-length with a v-neckline and bracelet-length sleeves. The dress is wrapped at the waist with a belt and the skirt falls in soft pleats.

This is how Issa described the 2015 version of the dress on their website –

The classic Issa wrap dress in royal blue is the ultimate wardrobe staple, taking you from day to evening with ease. This ultra flattering shape with V cross front neckline and long sleeves is belted at the waist and sits just above the knee. Fabricated in the brands’ signature silk jersey.

Issa’s reaction to Kate wearing their dress:

Back in 2010, Daniella Helayel owned the Issa label and designed the dress Kate wore. She told PEOPLE magazine she was thrilled Kate chose the blue wrap dress to wear on the momentous occasion:

“We are thrilled with the engagement news and I’m very happy that she has chosen to wear Issa today. She is a very pretty and lovely girl.”

The “engagement” dress remains VERY popular today – it will be remembered fondly by royal fans for years to come.

Issa London closes:

After a turbulent few years, sadly caused by the “Kate Effect”, Issa London closed its doors in 2015. After Kate wore the now famous wrap dress, Daniella Helayel, the owner of the company, claimed sales doubled. Helayel only had a small team and found it difficult to keep up with demand, plus the small company was already on the verge of a financial crisis and the bank refused to extend her credit to help scale production or pay her bills. So, she had to take an investor on board. Her friend, Camilla Al-Fayed bought a 51% stake in the company. In 2013, Helayel left the company, later telling the Daily Mail that she could no longer take the stress. Two years later, Issa London closed its doors for good.

Issa London reboot:

In spring 2017, British luxury department store House of Fraser acquired Issa London. They relaunched the brand exclusively in August of the same year. The first collection draws inspiration from Issa London’s archive, including a copy of that now world-famous wrap dress worn by Kate Middleton.


House of Fraser has acquired and relaunched the Issa London brand.

Shop Issa “

Re-live Kate & William’s engagement announcement:

Relive the nostalgia with this 17-minute long video of William and Kate discussing their engagement, plus you get to hear Kate speak!

It’s been almost eight years since Kate Middleton wore Issa London’s famous silk-jersey blue wrap dress to announce her royal engagement to Prince William.

And yet, the dress has gone down in history as one of the most iconic, elegant and modern looks from the Duchess of Cambridge to date.

So, this might explain why the timeless dress continues to inspire collections across the world and has now been designed in spring hues for you to wear to your up-coming weddings this summer.

Getty Images

Following Issa’s relaunch in 2015 in House of Fraser, the new collection of ‘The Kate Tie Wrap Dress’ is now available in yellow, orange and lime which will be available at the end of March.

(The dress is currently available in emerald green which you can buy here, just in case you’re as impatient for the new collection to launch as we are.)

House of Fraser

In 2016, Issa founder Daniella Helayel – who left the company in 2013 after nine years at the brand – collaborated with Monsoon for a 14-piece collection that included a design similar to the original ‘Kate’ dress and retailed for just £99.

House of Fraser

While Middleton’s decision to wear the blue wrap dress might have signalled success for the British brand, little did the royal now that it would signal the end of the previously little-known company.

Less than 24 hours after Kate wore the dress, it became an overnight sensation and sold out from British retailer, Harvey Nichols, and resulted in the brand’s designs being sold out in more than 43 countries, according to reports.

Last year, Helayel – who launched her new brand Dhela in 2016 – opened up about the unprecedented popularity of her designs.

While amazing for sales, she admitted to The Daily Mail: ‘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.’

Getty Images

With sales doubling following the appearance of Middleton in her dress design, Helayel revealed she didn’t have the money to finance production on such a mass sale to meet demand.

‘The bank refused to give me credit, and the factory was screaming for me to pay its bills. I needed an investor,’ she explains.

Explaining her departure from the brand in 2013, Helayel explained: ‘I left because I couldn’t take any more. I felt so stressed that my hair went white and started falling out. I was broken by the end of it.’

Find out more about the closure of Issa here.

Check out our top Kate Middleton wrap dress-inspired wedding outfits below:


Borgo de Nor Isadora printed satin maxi dress, £645, available here.


Ganni Tilden mesh wrap dress, £180, available here.


Diane Von Furstenberg Patchwork floral-print silk-crepe wrap dress, £435, available here.

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The world just got a peek at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Christmas card. In it, Prince William is sitting on a vintage motorcycle (as one does) with their youngest child, 1-year-old Prince Louis. Kate is by his side and their older kids, Prince George, 6, and Princess Charlotte, 4, are in the sidecar.

While the card hasn’t been officially released by the royal house of Cambridge yet, a person who made the cut for the mailing list shared it, and a sneak peek is now available on Twitter.

As in years past, the family is dressed in coordinating shades of blue (last year the duke and duchess even wore jeans) and, almost upstaging the royally well-behaved kids (though as anyone who’s ever taken a family photo knows, you never know how many tries it took to get there), is Kate’s outfit: that go-to wardrobe staple, the wrap dress.

On the Christmas card, the Duchess of Cambridge is wearing a casual Boden Aurora Midi Wrap Dress in a soft blue daisy print with a tiered skirt and three-quarter-length sleeves. It’s a “boho luxe” look, according to Boden.

While the dress is already sold out (to be fair, the photo was clearly taken in warmer weather), it was most recently on sale for $90. You can still find the delicate Heron Blue, Daisy Field print in this layered skirt.

Coraline Midi Skirt ($65, originally $130; bodenusa.com)

And Boden has over 20 other wrap dresses, all suitable for holiday card snaps. You can shop Kate’s Christmas card look here; vintage motorcycle sold separately.

Cassia Jersey Midi Dress ($105, originally $150; bodenusa.com)

Another midi-length option with a self-tie waist, this wrap (shown here in a blue dot print) has feminine fluted sleeves.

Carrie Jersey Midi Dress ($65, originally $130; bodenusa.com)

This stretch jersey wrap dress has elbow-length sleeves and a bold floral print.

Elodie Jersey Wrap Dress ($70, originally $140; bodenusa.com)

The bell sleeves of this tile-print jersey dress elevate it from a classic wrap.

Hayden Jersey Dress ($75, originally $150; bodenusa.com)

Also in the boho luxe department is this bell-sleeve midi dress with a stripe-spot print.

Laurie Jersey Dress ($75, originally $150; bodenusa.com)

With a calf-length hem and flowy skirt, this wrap is a great wear-anywhere option.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed price at the time of publication.