Royal Wedding: Fashion's Financial Aftermath

Kate Middleton in her wedding dress

The dress seen ’round the world…and coming soon to a David’s Bridal near you.

“The Dress” having met with resounding approval, retailers and designers are rushing to copy Kate Middleton’s Sarah Burton-designed Alexander McQueen creation.  Besides bringing up questions about creative copyright, the royal wedding dress and its imitators will impact trends around the world, including in the house of McQueen itself.  Here’s what you need to know about the financial aftereffects of the Royal Wedding:

  • First and foremost, Alexander McQueen went from being an haute, niche brand whose eponymous designer tragically killed himself a year ago to a household name.  Will the house try to maintain its rarefied position in the fashion world, or will it welcome a wider clientele and more commercial clout?
  • No matter what the label decides, the industry seems to agree that with Kate’s dress, the McQueen image has fully completed its transition from being a rebellious fashion house to a tamed brand with a legacy.
  • And to that end, the house will experience a bump in sales from what amounts to the biggest, best publicity ever.
  • Lastly, Sarah Burton, who stepped in to replace Lee McQueen last year and designed the dress, is herself now fully recognizable as the designer behind the label.

And now, on to the copycats, and the myriad ways they’ll have their say:

  • The dress will have numerous knock-offs, and soon. Brands already cited as creating their own versions include: ABS, David’s Bridal, and smaller wedding dress houses like Faviana.
  • Breaking its effects down by trend, expect a lot more long sleeves at weddings.  Upon Kate’s emergence at her nuptials, U.S. chain David’s Bridal began advertising a pre-existing lace bolero to cover a strapless dress, thus imitating the effect of the McQueen dress.
  • Costume jewelery retailers like QVC will be hawking pre-orders copies of Kate’s diamond-drop earrings, for less than $50, to be available in two months.  We imagine they won’t be the only ones.
  • Hats!  Have you ever heard so much about tiny hats perched on the side of one’s head?  Neither had we.  The hat company Serendipity Tiara already credits Kate Middleton for the popularity of these dainty accessories.

That was fast.  This is the finished prototype of ABS’s imitation McQueen dress.

Overall, besides a shift from strapless to full-sleeve and the general proliferation of knock-offs, what’s most remarkable is the speed with which the replications will take place.  David’s Bridal expects to have their dress copies in store by September; ABS is already done with its prototype and will be shipping for July deliveries.  Like the rest of the fashion industry, royal wedding fever is feeding consumer demand for fresh fashion faster and earlier.