When Kate Middleton wore that iconic blue Issa dress to announce her engagement in 2010, the designer behind the dress also found overnight fame.
Now, Princess Kate‘s former go-to designer Daniella Helayel, who founded Issa in 2001 – dressing everyone from Madonna to Jennifer Lopez – is back with a new fashion line, Dhela.
“I’m so happy to be back!” Helayel tells PEOPLE from the label’s showroom in New York, where she just launched the line’s debut spring/summer 2017 collection. Dhela, a play on the designer’s name, also means “hers” in Portuguese.
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Having recently collaborated with Monsoon to create a capsule collection of budget-friendly dresses, the Brazilian-born designer describes her new luxe collection as “very laid-back but glamorous,” reflecting her fascination with the bohemian 1970s era.
“It has a disco vibe, very feminine with long dresses, off-the-shoulder pieces and Bardot tops,” says Helayel, adding: “I was inspired by Tabitha Getty and Bianca Jagger.”
After quitting Issa in 2013 and selling the now defunct label to Camilla Fayed (daughter of the former Harrods boss Mohamed Al Fayed) in 2013, Helayel struggled to find glamorous dresses to suit her lifestyle. “In the three years since leaving Issa, I haven’t bought one single new dress – only some vintage pieces. I missed designing clothes so much.”
Should Helayel’s new project catch the attention of Princess Kate, there are even mini-me versions for children, perfect for mother-daughter twinning with Princess Charlotte. “I did six shapes for little girls to match her mother, in cotton voile – they are divine!”
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The collection starts from around $500 and will be available in December.