You may recognize the label Issa London by its first claim to fame: Kate Middleton wore its royal blue wrap dress on the day her engagement to Prince William was announced. But come Aug. 6, there will be another reason why Issa London proves a growing household name. The London-based brand is collaborating with Banana Republic on a nearly 40-piece safari heritage-inspired collection, which will include clothing and accessories. What exactly does that mean for us? Think zebra-print kimono dresses, bold pebbled leather envelope clutches, gold chain necklaces, and leather-wrapped bangles, with prices ranging from $40 to $150. While we've yet to see the official capsule collection, here's your first look at the sketches, as well as some of our favorite Issa London runway moments thus far.
It may just be one of the most iconic dresses of all time — the royal-blue Issa London wrap dress Kate Middleton wore in her engagement pictures back in 2010. The simple yet sophisticated silk jersey dress instantly sold out within hours in London and then again when a second round was available on Net-a-Porter.
But now that the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting, along with other women around the world, Issa's founder and designer, Daniella Issa Helayel, is offering up a maternity version of the timeless dress, which is perfect for work, baby showers, or a prebaby night on the town. The Issa Classic Silk Wrap Dress in Indigo ($824) actually doesn't wrap at all, but zips up the side and ties in the back to accommodate growing bellies.
The "Kate" dress isn't the only one Issa is designing for moms-to-be. Since the line's debut, the designer has been taking some of her most popular styles and prints and converting them into investment maternity pieces that flatter bumps of all shapes and sizes. Click through for an up-close look at some of the pieces, and click over to London-based Blossom Maternity to see the bold and colorful Spring/Summer 2013 collection.
We all love a good striped t-shirt or tank, but sometimes it's nice to dress up your stripes just like Mandy Moore did at a forum in Washington DC. Mandy wore a retro-inspired striped Issa London dress with a full skirt for a ladylike feel, then made things sleek by topping it with a cropped black blazer and finishing with black patent cutout booties. This look is appropriate for the office and can just as easily for work at night. If you prefer a more colorful look, this striped colorblock shift dress from Asos ($75) or this Ted Baker colorful striped dress ($264) are more up your alley. Don't forget to top your stripes with a black blazer for extra sharpness and finish off with the right shoe for the occasion.
Issa showed off bold graphic prints against softer feminine silhouettes for Fall '12 — a perfect combination of bright and ladylike. Abstaining from customary Spring florals, Issa opted for two distinctly different designs: a 1960s-inspired paisley pattern and a Far Eastern-influenced screen print. The colorful prints took shape in kimono-style caftans, knot-cinched dresses, tunic-and-trouser combos, and jumpsuits – all of which had a totally wearable retro-fun vibe. In addition, we spotted an emerald green, Kate Middleton-worthy wrap dress and a funkier fur-enhanced, cap-sleeved frock that were just begging to be added to our Fall must-haves list. While Issa maintained its casual, eclectic feel, the collection, as a whole, gave us even more reason to believe that the dress-over-pants trend is coming back, the resurgence of opera-length gloves is real, and Asian-inspired silhouettes are here to stay. For more details, see below.
- Trends: Japanese-inspired silhouettes, '60s prints, dresses over pants, and fur-enhanced sleeves.
- Colors: Green, red, blue, brown, gold, and black.
- Key Piece: The form-fitting emerald green wrap dress and the Asian-inspired metallic sheaths with fur capped sleeves.
- Accessories: Fur cossack hats, fur handbags, strappy gold sandals, red-and-black T-strap heels, and riding boots.
- Who Would Wear It: Issa's core group of fans, including Kate Middleton and Madonna.
>> There was a bit of something for everyone in Daniella Helyel's '70s-tinged "Trans-Siberian" Fall 2012 collection for Issa London. For those who lean towards the preppier side of things, there were capes in tailored wool or cableknit; for the more bohemian among us, flowing maxi dresses in swirling paisley; and — for those who aim to emulate Issa's most royal fanbase — a long-sleeved, full-length gown in bright red lace.
When future princess Kate Middleton showed up to her engagement announcement wearing an Issa royal blue silk jersey dress to match her sapphire ring, the British brand jumped into the fashion spotlight. Their jersey dresses started selling out. Now, with all eyes on them, Issa debuted an Autumn collection fit for a young, sartorially independent princess. There was sexy silk jersey with that body-flattering drape in rich colors like rust, a bold, full-skirted red coat, a beaded hunter green gown for red carpet events, even hats and elbow-length suede gloves. It's clear Issa is not looking to bring any groundbreaking direction to fashion, but that's just fine for a brand that thrives on doing wearable, sophisticated clothes for that classic London girl who wants just a bit of hip in her wardrobe.
- Trends: Draping, maxi skirts, graphic prints.
- Colors: Rust, red, teal, gray.
- Key Looks: The rust-colored silk jersey pieces looked perfect for autumn days, and nights.
- Accessories: Sartorial hats, suede gloves.
- Who Would Wear It: Mostly classic girls who want a mix of sexy and sophistication.
Kate Middleton’s Fashion Secret: Issa London
Could Kate Middleton be the perfect princess-in-waiting? With her glossy brunette locks coiffed to perfection, her coral-pink gown floating to the floor, she looked simply exquisite at the Boodles Boxing Ball this weekend, which she attended with her beau Prince William. So what’s her secret?
Are you feeling the love? Valentine's Day is months away and yet designers were sending hearts and kisses down the Fall runways last February, so they were obviously feeling the love. If you're not shy of cheeky motifs, it doesn't get much sweeter than this. Just look at this vixen on the Tuleh catwalk, she's been kissed by the fashion bug. I heart fashion.