Why Kate Middleton Keeps Her Distance From Issa

at 10:00 am | By

On Wednesday, Vanity Fair released their International Best Dressed list, and for the third consecutive year, the Duchess of Cambridge had pride of place among an elite group of movers and shakers.

VF listed out labels worn by Her Royal Highness, but one in particular has been completely wiped from Catherine’s royal wardrobe.  Issa London was once a staple of the DoC’s, most famously on display at her engagement photocall on November 16th, 2010.

The Duchess wore an Issa bird print wrap dress to the Goring Hotel on the eve of 2011’s royal wedding, then again later that summer during her and William’s Canadian tour.

The last time we saw Catherine in Issa was at an evening event to mark 2011 Canada Day celebrations.  The design was a bold purple version of her engagement dress, except with a gathering at the middle rather than a wrap around the torso.

That same month, the Telegraph and WWD announced that Camilla Al-Fayed, whose brother, Dodi died in the 1997 Paris car crash alongside Princess Diana, bought a 51% stake in the London-based company.

At the time of the sale, Issa’s designer Danielle Helayal praised Al Fayed on her business and style know-how.

“The investment will help to grow the business and take it to the next level,” Helayel said. “I looked at a lot of investors, and Camilla came with the best fit. She has the infrastructure behind her, she’s well connected, and she will open a lot of doors.”

The Windsors are believed to want no association whatsover with the Al-Fayed name for a number of reasons, one being patriarch Mohamed‘s accusation that the car accident was a conspiracy planned by the royal family.

Mohamed Al-Fayed is famous for calling Prince Philip a “Nazi” and banned him from entering Harrods, which Al-Fayed sold to Qatar Holdings in 2010 for over $2 billion.

“Nothing and no one created more publicity for Issa than Kate in her rich blue engagement dress,” What Kate Wore‘s Susan Kelley said.  “The company makes lovely garments, many that were stunning on Kate, it’s a shame we won’t see her wearing Issa designs in the future.”

In the 2011 documentary, Unlawful Killing, Al-Fayed called Queen Elizabeth a “gangster in a tiara,” and burned Harrods’ royal warrants on the grounds of his Surrey estate.

These are just a few reasons why the names “Issa” and the Duchess of Cambridge will never co-exist like once upon a time.

“I can’t imagine any circumstances in which we see Kate wearing the label again, the only possible exception would be if Ms. Al-Fayed were to sell the label and even then, I doubt the Duchess wants to be associated with Issa going forward,” Kelley added.

“One other element of the equation that isn’t frequently discussed, the brand capitalized on their now-tenuous ties to Kate in a way that generally doesn’t bode well for designers and retailers who hope to see the Duchess wearing their merchandise again.”

Her Royal Highness does not accept free clothes from designers, and has been very careful in selecting pieces for royal engagements, from a blue Stella McCartney dress at a July 2012 Olympic exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery to a printed Prabal Gurung dress in Singapore.

Though she’s known to favor British designs like Alexander McQueen, Temperley London and Jenny Packham, the Duchess of Cambridge also recycles items from her own wardrobe, and balances out high fashion with high street pieces from Zara and TopShop.