LONDON — It’s a major moment for Edeline Lee, whose forest green dress the Duchess of Cambridge wore as she handed the 2022 Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design to Saul Nash on Wednesday.
The belted dress, with its high neck, ties on the sleeve and fit-and-flare skirt, certainly had laptops, and mobiles, buzzing.
Data analysts at the fashion marketplace Lovethesales.com said there was a 113 percent surge in searches for “belted dresses” compared to the hour prior to the duchess’ arrival at The Design Museum for the event hosted by the British Fashion Council.
The data analysts also said there was a 31 percent uptick in searches for “Edeline Lee” just after Kate Middleton made her appearance.
Even after 11 years of marriage, hundreds of public appearances, and formidable style competition from her sister-in-law Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Cambridge can still make waves with her wardrobe choices.
Middleton isn’t the first celebrity to don Edeline Lee. Her designs have been worn by Olivia Colman, Gemma Chan, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Alicia Vikander, Taylor Swift, Ellie Goulding and Solange Knowles.
Earlier this year Lee, whose collections already sell at stores including Bloomingdale’s, Stanley Korshak and Fenwick, opened her first space at Harrods, near labels including Stella McCartney, Victoria Beckham, Chloé and Roksanda.
Lee couldn’t comment on the Duchess’ outing due to NDA constraints, but the dress, handmade in England from a pebble-textured fabric, is still for sale on the website, priced at 785 pounds.
Lee, who graduated from Central Saint Martins and is based in east London, has always made it her mission to design comfortable clothes that can work throughout the day. Most of her fabrics resist wrinkling so that women “can function at a high level” in the clothes, according to the designer.
Although she sources many of those fabrics in Italy, all the production is in the U.K., and much of it is in London factories.
After working with the late Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Zac Posen and designing for private clients, Lee unveiled a debut clothing collection in 2011, and founded her own label in 2014.
That very first collection featured lots of pleated silk and hand-stitching, and took its cues from Madame Grès and the pre-Modernist architect and designer Josef Hoffmann. It included French tweeds and hammered silk for dresses, sustainable wool jersey and hand-pleated silk jersey for sleeveless blouses.
“I want to make things for the women I know, things that are elegant, precise, and cover a woman’s body in the right way,” Lee told WWD in 2011.
For her fall/winter 2022 collection Lee said she rethought some of her early styles from her student days at Central Saint Martins. There were long, stretchy skirts and dresses done in her signature “bubble” jacquard (just like Middleton’s forest green dress); recycled cashmere coats, and an elegant black crepe dress with a V-neck and pleats.
The designer has also said that she designs with her concept of the “future lady” in mind.
“Female identity is in flux in our generation: modern women live hectic, collaged lives,” said Lee. “Women now are more beautiful, more powerful, more free, stronger, more aware, more capable than any other time in history. What is it to dress with true power, grace, beauty and dignity in today’s world?”
Now, she’s not only dressing that “future lady,” but the future queen of England.