In this week's issue of Grazia, we went on the trail of the Kateaholics, the girls obsessed with our gorgeous Duchess of Cambridge. Every time Kate Middleton steps out, there's a swarm of women watching, ready to snap up the outfit she's wearing. But when the DoC chose to wear Jesire, a high-street label that ceased trading in March last year, for her first solo engagement at the National Portrait Gallery, the copy-Kates were stumped. Detective Grazia Daily joined the hunt, but despite searching high and low, on previous stockists and on eBay, we couldn't find a trace of the dress anywhere. Until now.
Thanks to a little help from Twitter, we found Ann Skidmore, the proud owner of that coat dress. Ann is a Colour, Style and Image Consultant (www.annskidmorecmb.co.uk) who bought the piece in September 2010 from a Jesire boutique in Birmingham before it closed down. The dress originally cost £120, but Ann snapped it up in the sale for £60. What a bargain!
'I really liked the shape, cut and fit when I put it on,' Ann exclusively told Grazia Daily about buying the dress. 'It reminded me of a 1940s or 1950s style and that classic Dior look, so I felt chic in it! I was a raving fan of Jesire, because everything I bought from there fitted me properly.'
So how did Ann feel to see Princess Kate in the same dress that she bought all that time ago? 'I was amazed and did a double-take as she looked so fabulous and glamorous in it,' Ann revealed. 'Of course, she always looks glamorous, but I haven't seen any member of the Royal family in an outfit I own before!'
Indeed, not many of us mere mortals have. The question is, is Ann considering selling the dress to one of the eager copy-Kates? 'I love wearing it and I have other Jesire outfits too so I'm not sure I would consider selling it, especially as now it has a wonderful story attached to it.'
But, fear not! Kate's championing of the brand could lead to a Jesire revival. According to The Express, Martyn Vines, former managing director of Jesire, has been inundated with inquiries about bringing the brand back. Understandably, Mr Vines is keen to tap into the Kate effect. Not only is he introducing a new label, Kilian, later this year, but he's in talks with the original creator of the Jesire coat dress. Kateaholics, rejoice!