The secret behind Kate Middleton’s most talked about dress

Sarah Bernard
·Host of The Thread

On our trip to London we had the pleasure of meeting Daniella Issa Helayel, the Brazilian-born designer responsible for the famous navy blue dress Kate Middleton wore to her engagement announcement. We spoke with Daniella about Kate's style, Issa's other celebrity fans and whom she'd like to dress next.

I think the gorgeous Issa dress Kate wore to her engagement announcement got as much coverage as the announcement itself. Kate's choice was elegant and understated but sent a clear message: the princess-in-waiting is a relatable, off-the rack shopper! The unfussy, feminine silhouette resonated with women everywhere and the $535 dress immediately sold out. Knock-offs sold out immediately, too.

As Daniella explained, the funny thing is that even before Kate picked out the long-sleeved silk-jersey dress, known as "DJ157" inside the Issa showroom, it was her best seller. She's been making the dress since 2004 and if she didn't include it
in a collection, customers would ask her to.

A flattering fit is Daniella's main priority. She tries on all of her samples herself and makes everyone in her office try them on as well, so she's not just cutting for a tall, thin fit model. She chooses fabrics that are easy to care for and don't wrinkle which also makes them a plus for time-challenged fashionistas.

Madonna, Sharon Stone, Keira Knightley, and Scarlett Johansson are all Issa fans— and once, on vacation, Kate Moss raided Daniella's own suitcase for dresses. That's how badly she wanted them. Next, Daniella would love to dress mom-to-be Natalie
Portman, Cate Blanchett and Michelle Obama. We have a feeling they'll be calling.

The dress I'm wearing in this episode is also an Issa creation—love!— and many of her Spring 2011 looks have the same bright colors and versatile cuts.

If you have wedding fever as much as we do, check our our episode 5 things you
don't know about Kate Middleton
. Is there something else you'd like to know about Kate? Post on our Facebook wall and we'll try and get you the answer.