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Demand for Kate's engagement dress 'too much'
After Kate Middleton wore one of their dresses on the day that she and Prince William announced their engagement, Issa London struggled to meet the unprecedented demand for their clothes.
"It absolutely sky-rocketed the brand on a global scale, but it was too much," said Camilla Al Fayed, the daughter of former Harrods owner Mohamed, who invested a 51 per cent stake in the business in 2011.
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The famous sapphire silk wrap dress catapulted The Duchess of Cambridge onto the fashion scene and it sold out in a matter of hours as women everywhere rushed to emulate the elegant royal.
"Demand was so huge that the business couldn't cope. If Kate wears a Zara dress, these huge companies have the backing to follow through," she said. "Issa was basically run by interns, students and Daniella [Helayel, the brand's founder and designer]."
Created by Brazilian Daniella Issa Helayel, the dress was reproduced in the same shade, and went on to sell out again and again in Harvey Nichols and on net-a-porter.
A flurry of copycat designs also flooded the high street, even reaching supermarket chain Tesco, whose £16 version sold out online.
But Kate had been a fan of the brand long before wearing the sell-out blue number. In September 2009 she turned heads in a plunging full-length Issa grey gown at a charity dinner in London.
Kate wore a cobalt blue Issa dress to a friend's Gloucestershire wedding in 2010 and while on tour with husband William in Canada in July 2011 she wore one of their vibrant violet designs. As she arrived at the Goring Hotel the night before her wedding she wore a black and white patterned design.
Kate's younger sister Pippa Middleton is also a fan of Issa's designs and wore a low-cut silk jersey 'Forever' dress in a pretty shade of pink to a friend's wedding in May 2012.
With the help of Camilla's investment, the company overcame their difficulties and recently opened their first store in Japan.
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