The little-known Italian brand Parosh experienced the greatest PR boost in its 25 year history on Monday, when American actress Meghan Markle chose to wear one of its green fitted dresses to announce her engagement to Prince Harry.
As thousands of fans tuned in again this morning to see the couple arrive for their first day of duties in Nottingham, many of the world’s designers will have also been on standby again, just in case the royal-to-be has been shopping, incognito, in one of their stores.
Almost overnight, a thumbs up from Markle has become the most sought-after endorsement a brand can get and today’s chosen ones included a mix of her go-to American and Canadian labels, with some newly discovered British brands too. The double-breasted military maxi coat by Canadian outerwear label Mackage was an old favourite, worn frequently on cold dashes through Heathrow Airport as she flew in and out to meet with her then-boyfriend. Everything else was new, and British - save for a black, high neck knit by Austrian brand Wolford.
Markle’s beige skirt was bought from the cult label Joseph, priced at £595. Sunderland-born creative director Louise Trotter has worked hard to reinvigorate the brand in recent years, bringing it onto the London Fashion Week schedule and making effortlessly cool pieces to covet.
Meghan Markle's first royal outing with Prince Harry, in pictures
“It was a total surprise,” Trotter, fresh off the Eurostar, tells The Telegraph of the spotting. “I’m thrilled that Meghan chose to wear Joseph on her first public official outing with Prince Harry. The skirt is from the autumn 2017 runway collection and is a take on a classic chino military skirt that's sliced, with added pleats and volume.”
It is perhaps a conscious choice from Markle to opt for a British brand that the Duchess of Cambridge has rarely worn before (her last appearance in Joseph was in 2013) as headline accusations of a copy-Kate would have been a distraction from the day. Can you even imagine the furore if she had worn, say, a fit-and-flare Alexander McQueen dress?
Similarly, despite a well-documented new-found passion for Somerset-made Mulberry bags, Markle kept things understated by choosing a tote by Edinburgh-based Strathberry. Ironically, Markle's tri-colour design is only sold at the department store Saks on New York’s Fifth Avenue, but the brand has confirmed to The Telegraph that they sent her the style a few weeks ago. With prices starting at £225 for their luxury leather bags, she is perhaps showing an understanding that she needs to give fans a glimpse of something they will be able to buy themselves.
That particular colour combination has apparently sold out within 7 minutes, and indeed, Strathberry should now brace itself for bumper sales in the run up to Christmas.
Meghan Markle: best looks
"We are thrilled and honoured to see Meghan Markle carrying our Strathberry Midi Tote," a spokesperson for the brand told us this morning. "It was a fantastic surprise to see that Meghan selected one of our core Strathberry styles to carry on her first royal engagement. We are delighted at the news of her and Harry’s engagement and wish them all the best for this exciting period."