Skip to Content

That New Issa London Line & Preen’s Lower Price Collection

NOTE: Apologies to those who received this post when it was initially created on the 14th. This is the 1st of 2 posts that were not transferred in the process of making changes to the site, so I have to re-post them. Hopefully, this will be the only significant hiccup encountered as we wrap up the changes.

++Original Post++:

We are back with a number of updates, including one about the site.

That news involves a slight overhaul of the site’s appearance. There won’t be major changes, but the switch should make the blog *much* easier to read on mobile devices. (Finally.) We’re also making a technical change (the company hosting the site); that is of little relevance for readers, but I thought I would share the heads-up in case you pop by and encounter any problems, like the site being slow to load. I’m crossing my fingers we won’t encounter too much difficulty when we make the change.

We begin our Kate-related news by wrapping up a few loose ends from recent posts. While I do update posts after they have been published, I know not everyone goes back to check for changes to the content. So here we go with a quick rundown:

  • The hat Kate wore for the 2nd day of events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele was a Jane Taylor design, but one we’ve seen before. We first saw the Duchess wearing the Fleur on her trip to Belgium in 2014 for ceremonies that marked another WWI centenary.  The hat was modified with different embellishments for the Passchendaele engagement.

  • It turned out Kate’s shoes on the second day of Passchendaele events were not her usual Gianvito Rossi praline pumps with the 4″ heel. Instead, she wore the same color and style with a lower heel that measures 3.5″. (Saks now has the shoe available in almost all sizes, and it is offered in a mix of sizes at Savannah’s.)


  • The shoe worn the first day William and Kate were in Belgium for Passchendaele events turned out to be by Emmy, the brand’s Rebecca style in the ‘cinder’ colorway.

Emmy London/James Whatling


We have a number of updates on the Retail Roundup page, including word that Nordstrom has the Simone Rocha beaded drop earrings back in stock.


Next, UK retailer House of Fraser has launched its new Issa London line.

House of Fraser

The collection includes dresses as well as handbags. Issa’s founder Daniella Helayel is not involved with the brand; she has her own label, DHELA.  One frock will look familiar: this is the Darcy dress, offered in 5 colorways (£99, about $130).

House of Fraser

The navy dress is a good repliKate for the iconic engagement dress worn by the Duchess in 2010. The color sold out within a few days of the collection’s launch, but it appears House of Fraser has restocked the dress; it is available in all sizes.

It comes in two more solid colors: a hot pink and this purple shade.

The Darcy is also offered in a print seen below center and right; it is £109 (about $140). On the left, you see the Maddie dress (£99).

You probably won’t be surprised to see there is a ‘Kate’ dress in the collection.

It is offered in the black seen above, and a color called lime (below) that looks almost like a chartreuse. The Kate is £99, that’s roughly $130 at today’s exchange rates.

Maxi styles include (l to r) the Olivia Deep V Maxi Dress, shown in gunmetal (£119, about $155 at today’s exchange rates); the Luna Ruched Maxi Dress in champagne(£119); the Scarlett Bi-Color Wrap Maxi (£139, about $180); the Ella Halter Maxi in navy (£129, about $170); and the Iyla Pleated Strappy Dress in purple (£129).  The color palette seemed more muted than what I was expecting, for some reason I was looking for more vivid, vibrant jewel tones. Regardless, you can see some design elements are much like those found in the original Issa line.

The handbag line offers some fiscally-friendly prices: the Thea Long Box Clutch (£39, about $50); the Jane Satin Foldover Clutch (£35); and the Box Clutch Bag (£29).

Some WKW friends have ordered pieces from the new collection; it will be interesting to hear everyone’s feedback.

UPDATE (Aug 15): In a comment, Margaret says she ordered the Darcy dress and did not find it flattering, nor was she crazy about the fabric; she says she wishes the ‘Kate’ style came in blue. UPDATE 2 (Aug 21): We have another comment from someone not crazy about the dress. Michelle purchased it and says she agrees with Margaret, the fabric felt weird and wasn’t the quality she was hoping for; she also says the seam in the back didn’t lay well.


We also have a quick look at another lower-priced designer line; this one is the Studio by Preen collection at UK retailer Debenhams. This is just the second collection for Debenhams created by the husband/wife team of Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi. Most will remember that Kate has worn the Finella frock from the brand’s primary luxury collection.


More about the collection from a March 2017 Marie Claire story.

We wanted to give Debenhams something they didn’t already have, so we came up with the utility concept, which is every day essentials, pieces that we can draw on our archive of designs and that would fit in this vibe.

The clothes never get too evening-y, you might wear them for lunch and then again in the evening, as the modern woman is looking for pieces that work in different aspects of her life.

There is a dress in the Debenham’s collection that is somewhat reminiscent of the Finella, but it lacks the asymmetrical pleating and neckline found on the Finella. (Although for $96, the red is not a bad repliKate.)

UPDATE: In a comment, Elizabeth shares that she purchased the dress and is pleased with it. She says she was worried that because the fabric was polyester it might look cheap, but that’s not the case. Elizabeth also says the skirt is lined and the dress runs true to size.

The a/w collection includes day dresses and floral prints. A quick sampling (l to r): a Pink Floral Midi Tea Dress ($82); Black Floral Tunic Dress ($77); and Pale Green Floral Shirt Dress ($96.60).

A few more designs: the Pale Green Frill Sleeveless Shirt ($49); Black Floral Print Skirt ($63); and the Dark Pink Satin High Neck Top ($49).

There are many other styles in the group; click here to visit the Debenhams site.


Writing about the Preen diffusion label got me thinking about another diffusion line, the Somerset by Alice Temperley collection at John Lewis. There are quite a few knit pieces in the autumn line, including these two: on the left, the Frill Pointelle Knit Jumper, offered in both black and ivory ($79.50); on the right, the Frill Seam Jumper Knit Jumper in grey marl ($79.50).

The Frill Cardigan in Black and Nude ($92.50) struck me as having a bit of a Kate feel.

The a/w 2017 Somerset collection also offers outerwear, dresses and separates.

There are even a few pieces on sale that are reminiscent of the print on the ALICE by Temperley maxi dress Kate wore in Tuvalu in 2012. Below left you see the Somerset Embroidered Top ($46.50) and Somerset Embroidered Shorts ($40); both pieces are 100% cotton.

Other bargain styles include a Broderie Dress in White ($107.50) and Peplum Jumper in cream ($27.50).

You can see the entire Somerset collection at John Lewis by clicking here.


Unrelated to Kate but of interest to many readers: The Crown returns to Netflix on December 8th. From Entertainment Weekly:

The series’ second season, which covers 1956–64, will follow Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip (Foy and Matt Smith, reprising their roles for just one more season) everywhere from Tonga to Papua New Guinea, and even the Antarctic — while focusing more on their private lives as the family expands with the birth of Princes Andrew and Edward. In this first look at the new season (out Dec. 8 on Netflix), we see a much more self-assured leader emerging, even if things at home are still fractious at the onset.


Our final note is a link to a piece you might enjoy at Hello! Canada. In All the times Kate borrowed pieces from the Queen’s jewelry box, Patricia Treble has a “round-up of all the times Kate has stepped out in jewels on loan from Her Majesty.”


Pin It

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Wednesday 30th of August 2017

great post! love all the dresses!.. ♥

NOTE: Quick admin edit

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.