Kate's clothing choices fly out doors

JO MOIR
Last updated 05:00 12/04/2014
Zambesi
MATT DUNCAN/Fairfax NZ
ROYAL RED: Zambesi Wellington sales assistant Luke Tevita and manager Nicola Provost with a bright red dress that has been popular since the Duchess of Cambridge arrived in Wellington wearing red.

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The Kate effect has already made its mark on shopping trends, with Wellington retailers adorning their shop windows with colours and designs similar to those worn by the duchess on tour.

Even Prince George, at the age of just 8 months, is helping out, too, with the dungarees he wore to Wednesday's Plunket playdate causing an online shopping panic.

Within hours of the Duchess of Cambridge being pictured wearing a Tory Burch lacy dot tassel-trimmed paulina dress at George's playdate, all remaining stock was being snapped up.

The dress was advertised online for NZ$758 but by the end of Wednesday was sold out.

Hot demand for Kate's wardrobe choices is nothing new. The Issa dress from the royal couple's engagement announcement sold like hotcakes from the moment photos were released.

Zambesi Wellington manager Nicola Provost said it was hard not to get excited by the royals and what Kate was wearing.

"I was really shocked when I saw her come out of the plane wearing bright red. I didn't expect that at all, but it was perfect."

Already a red dress in Zambesi's Customhouse Quay store - as bright and eye-catching as the Catherine Walker coat dress the duchess wore on her arrival in Wellington - has all but sold out.

Zambesi's shop windows are changed every few days and the clothes currently on display are by Kiwi designers, showing off what Provost thinks best represent the store if the duchess should happen to drive past.

"We have some rose-red fabric exclusive to Zambesi arriving next week, so I'll be making a point of having that out when the royals do their city walkabout."

The manager of Hartleys in Lambton Quay, Arlene Oliver, said the royal visit had been a talking point with customers and it was likely "lush velvet fabric", royal blues and reds would feature prominently next week.

For Thursday night's glitzy state dinner at Government House, the duchess wore a bespoke dress from British designer Jenny Packham, with hand-embroidered silver fern detailing.

Yesterday, Kate stepped it down a notch, wearing jeans, a Breton top by Me+Em worth NZ$92 and a double-breasted navy coat by High Street Spanish brand Zara, which retails at NZ$159.

This was just a day after being snapped in an Alexander McQueen coat in Blenheim. A similar style to the duchess' cornflower blue coat is available online for NZ$4445.

After five days, Kate is yet to wear anything by a Kiwi designer - except for the silver fern brooch lent to her by the Queen, who was gifted it on her Commonwealth Tour in 1953.

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Royal visit media manager Allan Walley said the changeable weather meant outfits were chosen "relatively late" leading up to an event. "Even if we did know if New Zealand designers were being worn we wouldn't say in advance."

It's not only the duchess who has had credit cards working overtime. There is now a two-month online wait for the Rachel Riley sailboat smocked dungarees that George wore on Wednesday.

The dungarees, which sell for NZ$148, were sold out on the Riley website within moments of images hitting news websites.

Last year the printed white aden + anais cloth he was wrapped in before leaving St Mary's Hospital in London sold out almost instantly.

And on Monday a novelty kangaroo backpack given to the young prince in Sydney en route to Wellington sold out that day, according to stockists.

- The Dominion Post

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