Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Kate Effect OR One woman's ability to clone an army without quite meaning to...

Ok, so I'm sure you all are sick of hearing about The Duchess of Cambridge (no? just me then?) & what she's been wearing/eating/reading recently. I know I am. Whilst I can appreciate that she is a gorgeous and somewhat stylish young laydee, I just don't quite get what all the fuss is about in terms of what she's wearing RIGHT NOW.
Are we still caught up in Royal Wedding fever? Or is this old-school royal hysteria of yore? Is it just isolated to Kate Middleton? (the answer to that is 'No'. See also: Kate Moss, Sienna Miller, Alexa Chung, Olivia Palermo)
Of course, my main motivation for writing, or even thinking, about this is the last few days of hysteria surrounding the now-infamous Reiss Shola dress that the Duchess wore to meet the Obama's.
Shola (Ama) 

Now, just look at it. It's perfectly nice. A pleasant dress. But not necessarily for everyone. I don't know, I haven't tried one. A versatile colour, can be worn with a number of coloured accesories, though I fear many will copy the outfit like for like, poring over photos of Kate and rushing out for identical accesories (minus the royal husband).
However, it's certainly not worthy of websites crashing, devotion of a million blogposts (yes, yes, I understand the irony of that statement) and the apparant cashing in on eBay by some fortune-hunters. Or is it? Is there something that I'm just not getting? Would YOU want to own this just because Kate did?

I wonder if the people that rushed out and online to buy it did so because it was reported on Twitter within a few minutes of her being photographed in it that it was from a high-street store that most people could afford? OR, is it because Kate has always been a media favourite and her style has been somewhat hailed as stand-out or special - quite why there's always been a fuss about what she's wearing is beyond me.
That's not to say she's in any way unstylish, but her style is what I would consider 'safe', even as a Royal and with all that that commands. Not that we all have to go out like Gaga to be different - but she's someone that I would consider to dress within a very specific style. Not even classic in a Jackie O kind of way. 

So, are we, as a fashion consuming public, obsessed with her because we feel her look is more achievable, because a lot of her items are from the high street and a lot more affordable to us mere mortals, or because she's the newly crowned Duchess of Cambridge?

I'm not sure i'm even making my point well. Or at all. 

I was excited when she wore McQueen for her wedding. I was excited because there was a buildup to it, a secrecy, i'm a fan of McQueen anyway and her wedding was not your ordinary trip down the aisle. On that day I questioned whether i'd been wrong about her style all along, but looking back on pictures, no I wasn't. 
But when I saw the immediate tweets announcing her wearing of a Reiss dress, followed shortly by the dress selling out and the website crashing it really got me wondering how much of an influence Kate is going to continue to have on the fashion buying public. 

Do we now look up to Kate, as we do many celebrities, as our style guru? Do we see what she's wearing and want that exactly? 
With many other fashion icons, Alexa Chung, for example, they have such an individual style that it's possible to take an item that they champion and work it into your own wardrobe. A satchel for example. 'Oh, that's very Alexa'. 
Or Sienna Miller and her own take on (apologies for using this work, ick) 'Boho' - wear a floaty top in the summer with messed up hair and you're sure to be compared to her by at least one person. 
So, with the huge amount of people buying the exact dress that Kate wore, will we some day look at someone in a camel coloured dress or low wedged shoes and say 'That's very Duchess of Cambridge'? I just can't see her style as being so indvidual or obvious. 
And maybe that's where the attraction lies. And there's nothing quite wrong with that.

I applaud Kate, Catherine, The Duchess, for her ability to crash a website and create an army of clones. I doubt she planned on things going quite so far and i'd imagine she's rather humbled by the furore.
I just wonder if this means there's a large number amongst us that couldn't be bothered with individuality or finding our own style and just want a whole look on demand. I hope not. 


  1. I'm not too fussed about Kate but I'm sick to death of hearing about her nobody of a sister. Yes she's pretty, yes her arse is pert, no I do not care.

  2. Yes! Totally. She looked good on the day, yeah, but come on?!
    I had this chat with my boyfriend, whose not usually one to even comment on 'celebs' or whatever, but he seemed to have been sucked in by the media and his only comeback was 'but her ASS'

    What about it?! Pert, yeah, but err...nothing special?

    I thought I was just being jealous, sniff!

  3. Shola Ama! That caption made me roffle. Nice work, m'lady. And yes, I also find Kate's style a bit meh. It's grand like, but it's not exactly earth shatteringly amazing.

  4. Absolutely agree with you. Yes she is beautiful and its great she wears 'highstreet' clothes, but I certainly would not rush out to buy it just because she did. Actually, that goes for any celebrity! Why would anyone want to be a clone? xoxo

  5. Agree! I'm tired of hearing about it too. Shes pretty and great and all but c'mon lets move on already!

  6. Agreed. I totally can't stand hearing about Kate or Pippa Middleton, I've actually heard more about Pippa though lately. Honestly, that dress isn't any better than half the stuff I own, I can't justify spending that much on a dress that plain.