Princess-to-be has all the makings of a style queen

STYLE isn’t a birthright; it is a knack which few have and many seek to emulate. Such is the case for princess-in-waiting Kate Middleton who was dubbed fashion royalty long before her nuptials to Prince William were ever announced.

A commoner she may be in the eyes of the Queen but Kate is no slouch when it comes to matters sartorial.

Unlike her predecessor Princess Diana who was made over as a shy teenager by designer Bruce Oldham, Kate’s fashion nous has always been heir apparent with her fresh take on classic dressing bequeathing her Nu-Sloane Ranger status. Tailored coats, wrap dresses, skinny jeans, crisp shirts and oh-so-jaunty Philip Treacy hats rapidly became her signature with rumours that the soon-to-be Mrs Mountbatten-Windsor did actually receive some wardrobe therapy from Irish-born image consultant Leesa Whisker.

The St Andrew’s graduate took her first job as an accessories buyer for British fashion chain Jigsaw — a role which seemingly honed her deference for detail and love of colour (blue and red in particular). Favouring Blighty brands from designers Burberry and Amanda Wakeley to high street chains Topshop and LK Bennett, Kate has won international plaudits for her diplomatic fashion choices; not to mention verbal endorsements from designer heavyweights Giorgio Armani and Karl Lagerfeld.

Much like First Lady Michelle Obama’s style ascent, the not-so-commoner has proven equally democratic in mixing the practical and price-savvy. This in turn has garnered a bevy of loyal style subjects keen to emulate her signature look. First there was the sell-out Issa wrap dress worn at her recent engagement announcement, then the 2010 Reiss ‘Nanette’ frock and 2008 ivory Whistles blouse reissued by popular demand after being showcased in her first official portraits with Prince William.

Where does one even start with that 18-carat blue sapphire and diamond engagement ring — an heirloom from the late Princess of Wales? Made by jewellers Garrad and estimated to be worth more than £250,000, (€285,415), the national treasure has now sparked a cult of simulated sovereignty with replicas spawning the breadth of the internet for as little as £34.42 (€39.29) from popular online shopping channel QVC.

Kate’s university days have proven equally lucrative for designer Charlotte Todd whose £30 (€34.26) dress Kate modelled at a charity catwalk show, a garment now said to be worth £10,000(€11,417) with an estimated future value of £100,000 (€114,098).

One’s crowning glory is all part of the “Middleton Effect” with wannabes wearing a path to Chelsea’s Richard Ward salon where Kate’s flowing chestnut tresses are tamed by hairdresser James Pryce. Rumours are that Kate will be bucking the up-do trend in lieu of a less stuffy style. I feel a bridal trend coming!

The real question, however, is who will design her up the aisle of Westminster Abbey. Will it be Sarah Burton from the theatrical house of Alexander McQueen, the ultra-feminine Temperley or every girl’s favourite Jenny Packham? Maybe she’ll buck convention and pull a GaGa by turning up in biker leathers and dog collar. After all, it was Kate who dethroned GaGa in recent Google searches. Prepare to cast off thine Armadillo boots and don some kitten heels (pearls optional). Fashion’s future is starting to look a lot more comfortable.

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