The Kate Middleton effect is no new phenomenon - everything the Duchess of Cambridge wears sells out almost instantly after she wears it, and it has done for years.
But a new light has been shed on the way the 32-year-old chooses her outfits, and it appears Prince William’s wife is savvier with her fashion choices than we thought.
An industry insider has suggested that Kate Middleton ‘deliberately waits’ before wearing clothes she buys – so that the general public don’t rush out to the shops and copy her.
“Kate's clever and often waits before she wears pieces,” said Caroline Smiley, the owner of fashion brand Moloh, which Kate has worn in the past.
“She's very much in control of her image and I'm sure she likes the idea things aren't still in the shops when she buys them so not everyone can run out and buy her look.”
That might explain why a number of the looks she wore on the recent Australia and New Zealand Royal Tour were many seasons old.
The Duchess also gets first dibs on the Moloh collection before anyone else – although it’s not known if this is common practice for other designers she wears.
“We send our look book to Kate's office first, before sending to our wider mailing list,” Caroline’s daughter Sarah told Grazia UK.
A couple of days after Kate has received the lookbook, one of her royal staff calls Moloh, listing the items the Duchess would like to request.
“As we only produce 20 or 30 of each garment, each style is limited. We usually receive a call within a couple of days from one of her staff, who lists the pieces she has selected,” said Sarah.
Once the pieces have arrived at Kensington Palace for Kate Middleton’s approval, it’s a waiting game to see whether she will actually wear them – and potentially see sales of the design soar.
But it’s the opposite of celebrity culture where reality stars and actresses are sent clothes for free (in return for exposure), as the Duchess does actually pay for them, according to Moloh. (if she wears them)
"We deliver her choice of garments to Kensington Palace and then it's a waiting game. If the pieces don't work, her office will contact us within a couple of days and ask for them to be collected,” said Sarah.
"Other things are kept indefinitely on approval and may or may not be worn."
Scottish fashion designer Jonathan Saunders, who presents his collections at London Fashion Week and is one of Kate’s favourite designers, told us that her wearing his clothes is ‘really good for business.’
“It’s really good for business obviously [when she wears our designs]. I think that people really respect her as a person and she epitomises a young person that has brains and not just a pretty face,” he told Yahoo Lifestyle.
He said that Kate doesn’t receive any special treatment and picks and pays for the pieces herself.
“I think that’s what’s good about her as an ambassador, she’s a smart girl. I think she chooses them herself and I think she buys them as well,” he added.
But if there’s one thing the Duchess keeps consistent in her outfits that is available to buy – it’s her L.K. Bennett heels.
Whether she’s attending a royal engagement, cheering on Andy Murray at Wimbledon or visiting a local school, Kate will no doubt be wearing her £195 Sledge Patent Leather Platform Court Shoes from the British brand.
It’s not common knowledge whether she paid for them herself – or even how many pairs of them she has! – but a spokesman for L.K. Bennett told us they keep customers’ shopping habits private.
“We are obviously delighted when anyone chooses to wear our brand including HRH The Duchess of Cambridge,” a spokesperson for L.K. Bennett told Yahoo Lifestyle.
“Discretion to us very important though, we believe that anyone who chooses to shop at L.K.Bennett should expect to do so without us making public anything that people may wish to remain private.
“We choose not to discuss the impact that customers have on sales, or the impact it may or may not have on other customers shopping habits, for the same reason.”
But considering they’ve pretty much been the only shoes she’s worn since her engagement to Prince William in 2010, there’s no doubt in our minds that the Duchess has rocketed the simple shoes to bestseller status.
What do you reckon about Kate Middleton’s fashion? Do you think it’s fair she gets first dibs on collections? Let us know in the comments below.