Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Kate sporting Canadian designers to kick off royal tour

Kate boards the plane that brought her to Canada, wearing a blazer made by Canadian designer Smythe.

Steve Parsons/AFP/Getty Images

The fashion frenzy surrounding Kate has followed the newly minted royal across the Atlantic, as she added an ample dose of Canadian style to her wardrobe for her first official visit abroad.

The Duchess of Cambridge wore designs from Canadian labels Smythe and Erdem as she and Prince William embarked on their nine-day Canadian tour on Thursday.

Kate was seen boarding a Canadian Forces jet for Ottawa wearing a navy One-Button blazer from Toronto-based label Smythe paired with a dress in a matching hue from French label Roland Mouret.

Story continues below advertisement

The duchess has been known to spark heightened interest and even a run on certain apparel she's been seen wearing. The white Temperley London dress she wore to Wimbledon on Monday promptly sold out after she was spotted in it.

It didn't take long for Thursday's looks to get noticed.

Barbara Atkin, vice-president of fashion direction at Holt Renfrew, said the phone has been ringing off the hook at the luxury retailer, which sells the blazer exclusively in Canada for $550.

The jacket is also sold south of the border at retailers including Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.

"We started the day with just over 60 of the jackets in our stores across the country and we're anticipating selling out very soon," Ms. Atkin said in an email to The Canadian Press.

"The blazer has already become a real Canadian icon."

Smythe was co-founded by childhood friends Andrea Lenczner and Christie Smythe in 2004.

Story continues below advertisement

The label is known for its sleek Canadian-made tailored jackets and coats, and is favoured by the likes of Blake Lively, Jessica Biel, Heidi Klum and homegrown actress Rachel McAdams.

Ms. Smythe said they were put in touch with Kate's assistant through Ciara Hunt, the CBC's royal commentator. Kate's office made some selections for purchase and the blazer was among the items picked, said Ms. Lenczner.

"I was really happy, so happy for the company and the brand and thrilled that she chose Smythe," Ms. Lenczner said in an interview Thursday. "Just a feeling of elation, I guess."

"We were really proud that she wore something that was made in Canada,'' added Smythe. "We thought that was such a great statement on her behalf."

After the couple arrived in Canada, the duchess made a wardrobe change, stepping out in a form-fitting black floral lace dress with elbow-length sleeves by Erdem Moralioglu, the Montreal-born, London-based designer behind the Erdem label. A model is seen wearing the dress in a photo on the Erdem website categorized under the pre-spring 2012 collection.

The duchess changed into more casual attire for the evening barbecue, wearing a black and white bird dress by Issa - the same British-based label that designed the blue wrap dress Kate wore for her engagement announcement.

Story continues below advertisement

Kate appears to be keeping with her style habit of repeating previous looks, a practice that has led her to be dubbed "the royal recycler." She was previously seen wearing the same black and white bird dress the day before she and William tied the knot in April.

Alison Eastwood, editor-in-chief of HELLO! Canada, said Kate is sending a "really strong signal right from the get-go" by wearing items from Canadian designers.

"The fact that she stepped onto the plane while she was still on British soil wearing a Canadian designer shows that (Kate and William) are clearly out to show how much they respect Canada," Ms. Eastwood said in an interview Thursday.

"And also, it shows that now she's prepared to be a little bit adventurous in terms of her style choices, although perhaps not in the actual design themselves."

Ms. Eastwood said the ensemble the duchess wore to board the flight to Canada was "very much Kate," reminiscent of the Amanda Wakeley suit she wore for the tour portrait.

Ms. Eastwood said, to her knowledge, Kate has never worn Erdem before, and that the change into the dress was "pretty dramatic" if not in colour palette, "then definitely in the design."

"It's very pretty, it's form-fitting, it's kind of cocktail-y, it works for day, but it will work equally well for the afternoon event that she and William are attending at Rideau Hall which will be more cocktail-themed."

Ms. Eastwood said her magazine's sources have been told Kate has at least 40 changes of clothes for the trip.

By wearing Canadian fashion, Kate is helping put the designs on the world stage, she noted.

"We all know what a struggle it can be sometimes to survive in (the fashion) business in Canada," Ms. Eastwood said.

"My hope is that it will be not just labels that are already established in large markets like London, but it will be in more local designers as well that really need sort of a leg up to get the recognition beyond Canada."

Report an error
Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.