The Duchess of Cornwall is going FROW on February 19th with a visit to London Fashion Week where she will present the Queen Elizabeth II Award for Design. We’re used to seeing the word duchess and designer in the same sentence and Camilla’s couture isn’t necessarily the reason as the spotlight falls on a younger generation. But as she takes on this major presentation on behalf of the Queen, it’s time to look at the impact the Duchess of Cornwall’s choices have had on the British fashion industry. Let’s talk the Camilla Effect.
Camilla’s sartorial choices have put a whole range of home grown design houses in the spotlight with her go to favourites finding their creations increasingly talked about and featured in media across the world. And that all boosts sales. OK, Camilla has never had the reputation that the Duchess of Cambridge had for heading to the High Street but her regular support for British based design has undoubtedly contributed to the success of a string of designers who have become household names.
Among Camilla’s favourites is Anna Valentine who was one half of the design team, Robinson Valentine, which created her much praised wedding outfits in April 2005. The Duchess of Cornwall is still a regular at the fashion house, now run solely by Anna Valentine, and she’s selected some of her most high profile outfits of recent times there. The pastel pink worn to the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex was an Anna Valentine design as was a striking tiered evening dress chosen for a night out during her visit to Austria in 2017.
Another much loved label is Fiona Clare, based in London, which has been running for over thirty years now. Camilla’s now trademark coatdresses with their V shaped scoop necks and flowing skirts often come from this couturier. One of the Duchess of Cornwall’s favourite day looks, a green print dress recently seen on her visit to Ghana, comes from Fiona Clare as did the cream dress with embellishment she chose for the christening of Prince Louis in July 2018.
The duchess is well known for wearing a hat rather well and again, many of her picks are boosts for the British fashion industry. London based Philip Treacy has been a favourite since her wedding day. Two of her most high profile picks last year – the wide brimmed wonder she chose for the Dutch State Visit last autumn and the feathered topper worn to Harry and Meghan’s wedding – were Philip Treacy designs.
Her pick of accessories, too, is increasingly talked about – witness the excitement when Camilla carried a bag by DeMellier earlier this year, an identical model to one chosen previously by the Duchess of Sussex.
Perhaps the increased interest in Camilla’s fashion comes from the ever increasing appetite for details of what royals wear. But it’s also just as likely that the fashion focus arises from her always confident sense of style. Whatever the reason, as Camilla does FROW, there’s little doubt her style selections are bringing benefits to British fashion. It really is time to talk about the Camilla Effect.