‘The Charlotte Effect’: Floral dress worn by princess in birthday picture becomes best-seller

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The vintage floral print dress by Rachel Riley proved a big hit with parents after being worn by Princess Charlotte - Duchess of Cambridge/via Reuters
The vintage floral print dress by Rachel Riley proved a big hit with parents after being worn by Princess Charlotte - Duchess of Cambridge/via Reuters

She may only be six years old, but it seems Princess Charlotte has inherited her mother's talent for trendsetting after the dress she wore in a recent birthday picture became the fastest-selling item in a brand's 25-year history.

The pretty vintage floral print dress by Rachel Riley proved so popular with parents that the luxury children's wear label sold six months worth of stock in three days.

After the Duchess of Cambridge photographed her daughter wearing the navy and pink puff-sleeved button-front dress for an image published to mark her sixth birthday on Sunday, sales of the £59 frock soared 670 per cent.

Visits to the Rachel Riley website increased 826 per cent and, after the dress sold out in 12 hours, pre-orders rose by 724 per cent.

Ms Riley, whose hand-embroidered designs have also been worn by Prince George, said "the Charlotte effect" had taken her by surprise.

She told The Telegraph: "We could never have anticipated the interest in this dress before the picture was shared. We completely sold out of the dress in 12 hours and we had so many messages from customers asking if they could still order it, so we set up a pre-order system and it will be back in stock in a few weeks. It is the fastest-selling item in our 25-year history."

The reaction to the dress echoes "the Kate effect", the fashion phenomenon created by the Duchess's ability to boost high street and haute couture sales with her choice of outfit.

Kate Middleton wearing the sapphire blue Issa dress on the day her engagement to Prince William was announced -  Eddie Mulholland
Kate Middleton wearing the sapphire blue Issa dress on the day her engagement to Prince William was announced - Eddie Mulholland

It began with the sapphire blue Issa dress that the then Kate Middleton wore when her engagement to Prince William was announced in November 2010, which catapulted designer Daniella Helayel to international acclaim and doubled her sales in the following six months.

A "What Kate Wore" website was set up to track the royal's wardrobe, and following the birth of her three children there is now a "What Kate's Kids Wore" sister site.

It is not the first time Charlotte has been pictured wearing Rachel Riley clothes. She wore a similar style "Ditsy" floral button front dress, priced at £65, when she was photographed visiting the garden designed by her mother for the Chelsea Flower Show in 2019.

George, seven, was first spotted in a Rachel Riley design when he wore a pair of £79 Sailboat smocked dungarees for his first official engagement in New Zealand in 2014.

On the same tour, during a visit to Sydney's Taronga Zoo, he wore a pair of £35 Rachel Riley pocket shorts and a £32 striped jersey polo shirt in French blue. He also wore the brand's £65 moss stitch cardigan in powder and navy blue.

Prince George wearing the Sailboat Smocked Dungarees in New Zealand in 2014 - James Whatling/Reuters
Prince George wearing the Sailboat Smocked Dungarees in New Zealand in 2014 - James Whatling/Reuters

The following year, he wore a white shirt with powder blue piping and matching cord shorts from the brand for a photograph to mark the Queen's 90th, which also featured on a commemorative stamp.

George re-wore the £69 outfit when he went to visit Charlotte for the first time at the Lindo Wing and in the first photos released of him cradling his little sister. Three months later, he wore an £89 red and white smocked shirt and short set by Rachel Riley to Charlotte's christening in Sandringham.

Yet Charlotte's sixth birthday dress has sold the most – and the quickest – of all the Rachel Riley outfits worn by the royal siblings.

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