Mario Testino (2)
Despite the similarities between Kate Middleton and Princess Diana’s pale silk blouses in their official engagement portraits, when it comes to fashion, these two princesses are cut from a different cloth. Whereas Princess Diana wore an oyster pink crepe silk chiffon blouse with a ruffled collar designed by Elizabeth Emanuel (who went on to design her wedding gown), Kate chose a more modest vintage-inspired silk blouse from London high street chain Whistles—likely pulled from her own chic closet. Retailing for 95 pounds (about $151) when she originally bought it from the line’s fall/winter 2008 collection, Whistles will reissue a limited-edition “Kate” blouse in time for the April 29 royal wedding, “due to a surge in customer interest,” says the company’s CEO Jane Shepherdson. “These are the type of clothes Kate feels comfortable in. She didn’t stray too far from her personal style at all,” says stylist Nikki Pennie, who has worked with Kate in the past, even introducing her to Daniella Issa Helayel, designer of that now iconic blue dress. “It’s obviously a conscious effort to represent British brands and ones that are affordable too,” says Pennie.
In the more formal portrait, Middleton chose Links of London jewelry and the “Nannette” dress by 39-year-old British label Reiss, pictured below, and also worn by celebs like Heidi Klum and Nicole Kidman. Purchased from the fall 2009 collection, then selling for 159 pounds (about $253), Kate’s dress is reportedly now selling on eBay for twice that price. Like Whistles, Reiss will reissue a similar dress for $325 on Jan. 11 at reissonline.com/us. “Kate has been a customer of Reiss for some time now,” says founder David Reiss. “Having the eyes of the world upon her and subsequently her pick from national and international designers alike, we were delighted that Kate chose to show her support for British brand Reiss.” By picking two labels that don’t offer bridal collections, Kate seems uninterested in fueling speculation about who will design her wedding gown. “Kate has really thought of everything here,” says Pennie. “She didn’t do this big photo shoot with Testino and make it all glamour and glitz, with heaps of expensive items. It’s just simply her. And that’s the whole thing—it shows that is she is not changing for anyone.” –Suzanne Zuckerman; reporting by Monique Jessen and Simon Perry