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It is clear from the front pages of almost every newspaper in Britain, whether or not you agree, Kate Middleton is currently one of the nation’s favourite style icons. Whilst one would expect the headlines to focus on the true nature of Remembrance Day, most seemed more concerned with discussing Kate’s ‘stunning’ silver Jenny Packham dress. But, despite looking undeniably gorgeous, did the dress really deserve so much media attention? And, what’s more, is anything she wears really all that special?
Kate herself is reportedly reluctant to be seen as a style icon, feeling that such a title would trivialise her royal duties. It has also been reported that, despite her penchant for designers like Alexander McQueen, Kate refused a recent offer to pose for Vogue. So, if Kate herself does not wish to be an icon of the fashion world, does it make sense for the media, and the public, to brand her as one?
While photographer Mario Testino hails Kate as “stylish, beautiful, charming”, many big fashion names feel that, actually, the Duchess’ celebrated style just isn’t in the same league as other legendary icons. In a recent Telegraph article, Queen of Frocks Mary Portas said of Kate’s style, “Is that fashion? No. I think she’s done an incredible job globally, but I do not know how you can say she is a fashion icon.” She makes a fair point. After all, fashionistas constantly refer to Kate as understated and elegant, but are these words that would usually be applied when describing an iconic style? As Portas says, what makes a fashion icon is “a unique sense of style” and, truth be told, Kate is far from original.
However, while Kate’s style is hardly unique, thousands of women look to her for inspiration, for the exact same reason that prevents her being a true fashion icon – she is ordinary. During New York Fashion Week, several fashion insiders dismissed ideas of her as a style icon; Elle director Anne Slowey said to The Christian Post, “Is she a style icon of the likes of Kate Moss? Absolutely not. Is she in the public eye? Are people going to become obsessed with everything she wears regardless of what it is? Yes.”
Similarly, Nordstrom’s Greg Andrews stated to the Daily Mail, “She’s not setting trends, she’s following trends…if you take Kate out of the Royal Family, put her on a street in New York, you wouldn’t look at her twice.” But, for the everyday woman, following trends and blending in is preferable to walking into the office dressed like Gaga. For a regular day-to-day lifestyle, it makes far more sense to channel K-Middy’s “demure and practical” style. Plus, Kate’s love of high street fashion means that anyone can feel like royalty, knowing that they are wearing the same Warehouse dress as our future Queen. There are even sites devoted to Kate’s style, featuring tips and where to find her actual outfits, such as www.getwhatkatewore.com.
So, while Kate may not be a true style icon, women will undoubtedly persist in poring over pictures of her latest outfits, be it what she wore to Ascot or to Asda. And why? Because, even though she is now a fully-fledged Royal, she continues to be accessible, relatable and gloriously normal.