Within moments of the Duchess of Cambridge marking the start of her family’s Australasian tour this week, her worldwide fashionista following rushed online to try and emulate her look.
Known for being able to sell-out an outfit within hours of wearing it at a prominent event, Duchess Catherine prompted an almost immediate flurry of internet searches and listings from internet sellers offering “Duchess inspired” copies of her military-style outfit and pillbox hat she wore when she arrived in Wellington this week.
The Catherine Walker coat is expected to join a list of fashion choices, ranging from fascinators to earrings, which have completely sold out following her endorsement.
The navy Issa dress she wore when announcing her engagement to Prince William was one of the first and most well-known examples of the so-called “Kate effect”, which resulted in UK stock being completely emptied within 24 hours of her appearance in front of the cameras.
Already, outfits the Duchess has worn during her New Zealand engagements have sold out, including a $555 black and white Tory Burch dress she wore during Prince George’s play date which lasted just hours in internet stores.
Even the items worn by the toddler Prince have sparked a shopping frenzy; a $12.50 kangaroo backpack given to Prince William for his son in Sydney has already sold out in many Australian stores.
UK media reports the Duchess’ influence on fashion is believed to be worth about $3.5 billion to the country’s economy and fashion blogger Andrea Tonkin said her clothing choices are tipped to prompt a stampede of shoppers – particularly if she chooses to wear an outfit by an Australian designer as anticipated.
“It’s a great platform for the designer and it would be something Aussie girls would definitely wear and be crawling over each other to get,” she said.
“I’d be very surprised if she didn’t wear an Australian designer but I imagine whoever it is, is keeping it very much under wraps.”
Ms Tonkin said Perth fashions tended to be more casual than those sported by the Duchess but her elegant style could be mimicked during the racing season.
Portmans’ WA merchandiser Chari Del Barrio said anticipated increased demand for a $169.95 red wool trench coat, which was similar to the buttoned ensemble worn by the Duchess when she stepped off the plane in Wellington on Monday.
“For me, I look at her outfits and go “wow, I want that, where can I get it”. It will definitely influence shoppers. Kate Middleton is a very fashion forward icon and once they see that one piece on there it’s a case of which retailers have that item,” she said.
The Royals will tour Australia from Wednesday until April 26.