Kate Middleton has stolen my wedding dress. I’m raging

Half the world will order the emerald Falconetti from the Vampire’s Wife site this afternoon

Catherine, duchess of Cambridge, and Prince William, duke of Cambridge, arrive at the Guinness Storehouse on the first day of their visit to Ireland. Photograph: Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty

Catherine, duchess of Cambridge, and Prince William, duke of Cambridge, arrive at the Guinness Storehouse on the first day of their visit to Ireland. Photograph: Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty

 

Honestly, I’m raging. First Kate Middleton has hijacked my favourite clothes labels, LK Bennett and Hobbs, and now she’s wearing my wedding dress.

Okay, it’s not exactly my wedding dress (it’s certainly not in my size). But as the duchess arrived at Guinness Storehouse last night in an emerald Vampire’s Wife dress, I felt a mild pang of ‘uh-oh’.

Weeks previously, I had lusted over the silver and gold versions of the label’s Falconetti dress. I thought either would make the perfect wedding dress for later in the year. (Its Festival dress was also in with a shout.) It was non-bridal in style, without a soupcon of meringue, but still something special, simple and flattering.

Middleton looked ravishing in it, of course. Which means that every fashion slave with a wifi connection is going to be on the label’s website this afternoon. And, no doubt, probably coming up with a similar idea to mine for their own nuptials.

The emerald Falconetti has now sold out on thevampireswife.com, of course, and pre-orders of the £1,595 (€1,835) dress will likely start dispatching again at the end of the month. But let’s be honest: the cachet of the Vampire’s Wife has probably taken a bit of a dent now, no?

‘I lusted over the silver and gold versions of the label’s Falconetti dress.’ Photograph: Samir Hussein/WireImage
‘I lusted over the silver and gold versions of the label’s Falconetti dress.’ Photograph: Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty

Last night, fashion critics praised Middleton’s “edgy” label choice, and certainly the Vampire’s Wife has long been on the right side of credibility. Cate Blanchett, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Elisabeth Moss are said to be admirers. I’m not even the first person to think of getting married in a dress from the label: the blogger and broadcaster Sali Hughes wore a custom Vampire’s Wife dress, in black and green, for her own wedding.

The label, formed in 2014, is the brainchild of the former model Susie Cave, wife of the singer Nick Cave. Commentators have noted that the label’s trademark high necklines and ruffled sleeves are a nod to a more modest aesthetic. 

Cave’s having none of it. “I don’t think modesty has anything to do with the appeal of my dresses,’ Cave told the Australian Financial Review recently. “My dresses may cover you up, but they make no secret of the beautiful female shape. There is a real sensuality to them. Rather than modesty, I would say the dresses have a kind of subversive mystery about them, a real provocative energy.”

It was probably a matter of time before their ladylike charm caught Kate Middleton’s attention. Honestly? I’m not sure if this is a good thing.

The “Kate” effect – an endorsement at a public event – certainly has short-term boosts, as the Irish brand Dubarry is likely to attest. The duchess wore its Bracken jacket last year, jumpstarting demand for the Galway label.

Yet some experts note that the endorsement can create problems for designers in the longer term.

Her love of LK Bennett’s nude Sledge heels turned them into an essential piece of kit for copycat plebs. The label was saved from going into administration last year. Kate’s public wearing of Issa (which created her engagement dress) and Orla Kiely did not save either company from financial difficulties.

For me, though, the problem lies in the copycat element. Although Kate looks elegant in everything, I could never quite understand the mindset of someone who would immediately snap up the exact outfit she has bought. It’s unimaginative and boring and predictable, and the very antithesis of style.

In wearing a Vampire’s Wife dress, I don’t mind “copying” Elisabeth Moss or Cate Blanchett. I do, however, mind very much if people think I ran out to buy a wedding dress because I saw Kate Middleton in it.

And so the search for the perfect non-wedding dress continues.

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