From her earrings and necklaces to her handbags and coats, the Princess of Wales is championing little-known British ‘mumtrepreneur’ craftswomen and design teams.
Earlier this month, while on a visit to Falmouth, she wore a pair of diamond earrings made by Suffolk designer Emily Foskett of Emily Mortimer Jewellery – triggering a surge in orders.
Olivia Dean reports on how Kate has become the ultimate model – and international ambassador – for Britain’s fledgling fashion businesses.
HUSBAND-AND-WIFE BAG-MAKING TEAM FROM SCOTLAND
After her sister-in-law, Meghan, was seen with a £575 tote bag made by luxury Scottish brand Strathberry, Kate has twice been spotted with its £275 Multrees Chain Wallet in navy crocodile. She wore the design on a tour of Scotland in 2021 and at the 2022 Trooping the Colour ceremony.
The Edinburgh firm was founded by husband-and-wife duo Leeanne and Guy Hundleby in 2013. Each piece takes at least 20 hours to craft by hand.
This month, the label announced a collaboration with Sex And The City actress Sarah Jessica Parker’s line, SJP, featuring bags to match ‘any Carrie Bradshaw outfit’.
Kate has twice been spotted with Scottish brand Strathberry’s £275 Multrees Chain Wallet in navy crocodile
This month, the label announced a collaboration with Sex And The City actress Sarah Jessica Parker’s line, SJP, featuring bags to match ‘any Carrie Bradshaw outfit’
LONDON-BASED ‘QUEEN OF HOOPS’
In December, Kate wore a pair of hand-crafted hoops, which retail for £250, during a tour of Harvard University in the US.
They had been specially commissioned from Lenique Louis, a 37-year-old London jeweller who told friends: ‘I’m going to be the queen of hoops, worn by the future Queen!’
She is still processing customer orders as a result of that Royal patronage. ‘I’ve experienced the Kate effect! All of a sudden, I got orders coming in from America,’ she says.
Lenique taught herself how to make jewellery in her grandmother’s South London garage.
Her natural flair for goldsmithing was supported by King Charles’s youth charity, the Prince’s Trust, which provided a £2,000 loan, enabling her to start her jewellery business.
In December, Kate wore a pair of hand-crafted hoops, which retail for £250, during a tour of Harvard University in the US
COAT MADE RIGHT BY KENSINGTON PALACE
At a charity carol service at Christmas, Kate chose a coat dress in burgundy made by Eponine London, an independent brand which the Princess regularly wears.
Kate first stepped out in a 1960s-inspired red tweed Eponine outfit in 2017, pictured left. Since then, the designs have been worn by Boris Johnson’s wife Carrie and Prince Harry’s ex-girlfriend Cressida Bonas.
For a visit to Cardiff during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Kate again wowed the crowds in a bright red Eponine coat dress.
The label was founded by Kensington designer Jet Shenkman. Her off-the-rack dresses start from roughly £650 – and everything is made in a small studio near Kensington Palace.
At a charity carol service at Christmas, Kate chose a coat dress in burgundy made by Eponine London, an independent brand which the Princess regularly wears
COTSWOLDS CATALOGUE TO LUXURY LINE
Early on as a Royal, Kate alighted on Gloucestershire boutique Moloh for tweed overcoats.
Moloh began as a mail-order catalogue, but owner Caroline Smiley, 66, wanted it to become a luxury brand, making practical, stylish clothes for countryside women.
‘Our shop is just down the road from Highgrove,’ she says. ‘Kate popped in one day and tried on a couple of coats.’ The Princess wore the pieces during her pregnancies, pictured in 2018. They cost about £800 apiece.
Early on as a Royal, Kate alighted on Gloucestershire boutique Moloh for tweed overcoats
JEWELLERY COLLECTION DESIGNED IN A CAERPHILLY CONSERVATORY
For 30-year-old Welsh designer Hayley Jones, seeing the future Queen wearing her jewellery was ‘a real pinch-me moment’.
Kate owns at least three pieces from her brand, Spells Of Love, including the Double Strand Beaded Satellite Necklace, £110, which she wore in 2020, pictured above, and the Medium Twist hoop earrings, £60.
The Princess also wore the brand during a visit to a school in Bethnal Green, East London. The £79 Alia hoops were designed in Hayley’s conservatory in Caerphilly. Hayley started off selling her home-made jewellery on the craft website Etsy in 2016. She says: ‘It’s the dream to have a real-life princess wear your designs. I love her style. She always looks so beautiful.’
Hayley has now had orders from Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Mexico.
‘All our jewellery is hand-made, so it takes time to produce. But we can’t keep the Alia hoops in stock. Since Kate wore them, the orders don’t stop coming.’
Recently, the company moved out of the conservatory and into a business unit – with Hayley’s sister-in-law helping part-time to meet demand.
For 30-year-old Welsh designer Hayley Jones, seeing the future Queen wearing her jewellery was ‘a real pinch-me moment’
THE EARRING DESIGNER WITH A WINDRUSH-GENERATION GRANNY
When Kate launched her early-learning initiative last month, she wore earrings by designer Malaika Carr.
Malaika’s label, Chalk Jewellery, comprises just two people making each piece in her Bloomsbury studio. But after Kate was seen wearing her earrings, the brand reached a new global audience. ‘It was a huge milestone for us,’ Malaika says. ‘And it’s refreshing to know that Catherine supports independent creators.’
Kate had previously worn the brand’s £75 walnut and acrylic Florence earrings on a visit to Brixton.
Malaika says: ‘My grandparents and my father were part of the Windrush generation. It felt like a joyous celebration for them, a moment I will cherish for ever.’
When Kate launched her early-learning initiative last month, she wore earrings by designer Malaika Carr