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Why Kate Middleton’s our queen of fashion in East Lancashire
Hardly a day goes by without the woman formerly known as Catherine Middleton gracing the pages of newspapers and fashion magazines.
ANNA MANSELL found out if her influence is rubbing off on East Lancashire’s women...
Jan Shutt, chief executive of Sunday Best in Rawtenstall
“Kate has become a worldwide style icon thanks to her niche role of being a modern day princess. Countries that don’t have the royal tradition especially drawn to the fairytale. “Kate has definitely perfected the modern princess image by wearing labels from the high street, that are affordable to most. “The fashion world cannot fault Kate’s dress sense as ‘safe’ as she is royalty and the Royals are famous for playing it safe. As much as we may love a fashion slip-up, there’s a certain nostalgia and appreciation for the royal tradition that keeps us tuned into the Royal family and the ‘safe’ and elegant style they fashion.”
Fiza O’Connor, co-owner of Alan Rene hair salon in Blackburn
“Hair is definitely about the colour at the moment and that’s coming through from Kate’s look, with that glossy and shiney style; we’ve actually just started using the brand of colour she has. I was looking for something new to the area to offer customers, and it was only after deciding on it that I found that out. The colour just looks so natural.”
THE WEDDING EXPERT
Emma Hartley, of Emma Hartley Bridalwear, Colne
“Kate has definitely influenced a revival of sleeves for brides — and not just as an autumn/winter trend. Up to the end of last year, no one had them but girls are feeling more confident to cover up on their wedding day. There is an assumption from newly-engaged brides that the lace dresses are all about Kate, but that was a big trend well before her wedding. And while girls are asking for sleeves, they’re then saying they don’t want to look like they’ve copied her — I guess that’s the bride’s nightmare, for her guests to say ‘Oh, you look like Kate’.”
THE HIGH STREET STYLIST
Samantha Butcher, The Mall, Blackburn
“We have noticed a definite trend in high street stores quickly replicating outfits worn by the Duchess. People do like to follow her lead in terms of style and any replicas tend to be very popular here in Lancashire.”
THE NATIONAL FRANCHISE
Sarah Rhodes, of Get Ahead Hats, Great Harwood
“Kate has had quite a few hats from our Reading branch, perhaps most famously the very large black hat she wore with a blue dress before the engagement which has sold at auction this week. And ladies do want to wear things like her, the ‘percher’ hats. She has given ladies a confidence to have something a bit unusual for their headwear. Kate started wearing the perchers and half hats as she has such a lot of hair and couldn’t wear full hats. Hats and perchers have taken over from fascinators this year. I think ‘good on her’ about Kate — she’s flying the flag for British ladies, in the way Diana did.”
Women at the opening of the DART Gallery at Darwen Aldridge Community Academy all hailed the Duchess — who officially opened the school with her then-fiance in April last year — as a modern style icon and a welcome return to classy role models.
Louise Klinck, DACA’s director of learning for creative and performing arts, said: “She is very classic, with an Audrey Hepburn-type of look, which is quite natural. You can copy her style from the high street without having to buy from the top-end high street stores she uses. I met her at the opening and she really is tiny.”
Catherine Jackman, DART Gallery supervisor, admits she became ‘a bit obsessed’ with Kate in the hype surrounding the wedding last year. She said: “Kate has promoted a different kind of woman to what we’re used to these days with The Only Way Is Essex and Jordan types. She’s brought back class and elegance without the stuffiness we’d become used to from the Royals.”
Artist Pauline Walmsley agrees that the 30-year-old has become an ‘icon’ through the way she ‘dresses, acts and conducts herself’. She added: “It’s a really classic look that she wears, which is great as fashion had really gone back to very short skirts and everything being see-through — but she’s proof you don’t need to show everything to look good.”
American photography teacher Elizabeth Contreras Moran is another fan: “She is a Jackie Onassis for England and a new generation. Jackie O made presidents sexy and Kate will do the same for the royals.”