FashionAll The Rage

Kate Middleton: Style icon in waiting

Fashion ShowsHuman InterestEntertainmentImperial and Royal MattersEnglandCatherine, Duchess of CambridgeBritain

Finally, after eight years of courtship, Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton are engaged, and the fashion world has a new icon in waiting.

When the engaged couple met the media for the first time Tuesday, Middleton's sapphire blue Issa dress matched her sapphire and diamond engagement ring. Of course, the ring once belonged to William's mother, Diana, and sapphire was also the color she wore on the day her engagement to Prince Charles was announced in 1981.

Copies of the ring were sold then, and they are being sold now. By Wednesday morning, HSN was hawking a similar style by Carol Brodie, and Issa had sent out a news release bragging about its famous fan.

Will Kate's style influence be similar to Diana's? Up to now, Middleton hasn't worn many recognizable designer pieces. But that could change with her new stature (and resources). And remember: It wasn't until after Diana was married to Charles that she went from being a traditional English flower to an international trendsetter.

In the meantime, here's the rundown on their style profiles.

Diana, Princess of Wales

The look: Would try anything, even wearing a choker necklace on her forehead.

Signature pieces: Colorful, square-shouldered suits with coordinated accessories; strapless or halter gowns; low-heel Manolo Blahnik pumps, Lady Dior handbags (the style is named after her); seamed stockings; turquoise eyeliner; jeans and Tod's driving moccasins worn without socks; eccentric hats.

Fashion moment she probably wanted to forget: Being snapped in a see-through skirt at age 19, in front of the school where she was teaching.

Industry connections: Beloved by designers, including Gianni Versace, Catherine Walker, Bruce Oldfield and Jacques Azagury.

Wedding dress of the century: Height-of-the-1980s meringue style with a 25-foot train by British designers David and Elizabeth Emanuel.

Kate Middleton

The look: Less is more.

Signature pieces: White; has worn a white bikini, white jeans, a white miniskirt and a white coat on numerous occasions. (A subtle reminder that she wanted to be a bride, perhaps?) Body-conscious dresses by BCBG and Issa and short skirts, natural makeup, jeans tucked into boots, eccentric hats.

Fashion moment she'd like to forget: Modeling a see-through dress at a student fashion show in 2002. Though it did catch the eye of the prince.

Industry connections: Worked as an accessories buyer for Jigsaw; was reportedly offered a public relations job with Tom Ford.

Wedding dress of the century: Can only speculate that it will be sleek and more modern. Alice Temperley, Jenny Packham and Amanda Wakeley could be contenders to design.

booth.moore@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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