Italian fashion label 100 years old
The £500 Italian secret that transformed Kate Middleton into a scarlet woman
Scarlet woman: Kate Middleton at St Andrews in her Luisa Spagnoli outfit
Kate Middleton certainly looked bellissima in the striking red outfit she chose for one of her first Royal walkabouts. And now we know why – it was an Italian job.
The pure-wool jacket and skirt Kate wore for her visit to St Andrews with Prince William is likely to trigger another nationwide run to the stores.
After all, Kate’s two previous fashion hits – the blue Issa wrap dress she sported for her engagement announcement and the white Reiss number she donned for her engagement portraits with William – have been flying off the racks.
But despite calls to all of Kate’s old sartorial stomping grounds after her official visit to her former university last month, fashionistas were stumped: which label was behind this elegant scarlet look?
Now The Mail on Sunday can reveal that Kate’s stylish outfit was created by Luisa Spagnoli, the Italian ready-to-wear label beloved of screen sirens Gina Lollobrigida and Sophia Loren.
Kate purchased the striking £160 skirt and £335 ‘sushi’ jacket from Hollie de Keyser in Knightsbridge, Central London.
In doing so, she was retracing the fashion footsteps of Princess Diana – de Keyser’s premises were frequented by William’s late mother when the boutique was known as Emma Somerset.
Luisa Spagnoli, who founded the label in Perugia in 1928, was famous for introducing angora fibre – derived from Angora rabbits – into knitwear.
The label’s spring/summer collection boasts a selection of evening wear, prompting speculation that Kate might plump for a Spagnoli design for the evening celebrations following her wedding at Westminster Abbey on April 29.
Hollie de Keyser, wife of fashion designer Robert de Keyser, first came across the Italian label during a visit to Florence, the Italian city where Kate spent part of her gap-year.
‘It is the oldest ready-to-wear brand in Europe,’ said Robert de Keyser. ‘It has never exported to Britain before. It knocked back so many people but Hollie just knocked and knocked at their door and finally they said yes.
‘Kate must be one of the first people to have worn the label in this country, which shows she has an eye for fashion.
Left: Kate's latest fashion hit was bought from Hollie de Keyser in Knightsbridge, Central London. Right: Sophia Loren models for Luisa Spagnoli
‘It has been so successful for Hollie that she’s decided to open a Luisa Spagnoli store three doors down from her own shop.’
And the good news for fashion followers is it should be open just in time for the Royal Wedding.
And she gets a coat of arms
Kate Middleton will have her own unique coat of arms in time for her marriage to Prince William.
Kate’s delay in organising her official insignia had led to rumours that she would leave the designing of the crest until after the ceremony next month.
But her father Michael has now put together a design and lodged a petition with the College of Arms, the official repository of crests.
A coat of arms can be inherited or as in Kate’s case, it can also be granted on payment of £4,400 to the College.
Dr Richard Baker, principal of the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies, said Kate was likely to include a reference to the Lupton family, her father’s ancestors who were wealthy wool merchants, in any coat of arms.