Kate Middleton Single-Handedly Destroyed a Fashion Brand

kate middleton
Zak Hussein/Splash News

The Duchess Effect indeed. In a recent interview with You magazine, Daniella Helayel, lead designer for the now-defunct line Issa, reveals that Kate Middleton completely killed her brand after she wore her iconic royal blue wrap dress to announce her engagement with Prince William in 2010. Talk about ironic. 


Not surprisingly, after Kate stepped out in the blue dressed that perfectly matched her sapphire ring, the dress sold out. 

Helayel says that Kate wearing one of her designs for such a momentous occasion brought on a demand that she simply couldn't keep up with, and ultimately, brought on her brand's demise a few years later in 2015. 

Helayel says that despite the fact that stars like Madonna, Elizabeth Hurley, and Kylie Minogue were occasionally spotted in her designs, she was in financial trouble before Kate debuted the dress, which, for the record, she was clueless about until a friend told her. 

"Only the previous year the label was on the verge of financial crisis; it wasn't all rose-tinted glasses," Helayel told You. "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." 

For the worse. 

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After Kate wore the now-famous dress, it sold out in five minutes, with thousands of additional orders placed. Helayel and her team had nowhere near the inventory they needed to fill orders, and a few weeks after Prince William and Kate's engagement, Issa sales doubled, which, again, they weren't ready for. "I didn't have the money to finance production on that scale," Helayel revealed. "The bank refused to give me credit and the factory was screaming for me to pay its bills. I needed an investor."

Unfortunately for Helayel, the investor she found was Camilla Al-Fayed, the half-sister to Dodi Al-Fayed, who died in a car crash with Princess Diana. Al-Fayed bought 51 percent of Issa July 2011, but after that, Kate started wearing her dresses significantly less, perhaps due to how critical some of Al-Fayed's family members have been of the royal family.

Shortly after that, a new CEO came on board, whom Helayel crashed with, so she decided to leave the brand altogether. "I left because I couldn't take any more," she said. "I felt so stressed that my hair went white and started falling out. I was broken by the end of it. I had a great business, which I'd built up on my own over a decade. To watch it evaporate was heartbreaking."

Damn. All from Kate wearing one little dress. 

Fortunately, Helayel now has a new label and she's excited to be designing again. Let's just hope for her sake, though, that Kate doesn't wear one of her dresses too soon. Unless she has the capital of course. 

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