March 23, 2012 at 8:14 AM ET
Behold, the duchess effect!
London-based retailer L.K. Bennett, relatively unknown in the U.S. before last year, is opening a New York outpost at the Time Warner Center on Friday – thanks to attention from Duchess Kate.
The royal, an increasingly influential style icon, has worn the mid-priced label on numerous occasions, everywhere from Buckingham Palace (remember those black patent espadrilles, nicknamed “The Kate,” from the day after her wedding?) to Canada to most recently, an official Diamond Jubilee outing with Queen Elizabeth (that lovely, 1940s-inspired teal dress and peplum jacket).
Her most treasured L.K. Bennett piece seems to be a 4-inch nude heel dubbed “The Sledge” ($345) that caused a mini shopping frenzy as stores and Nordstrom struggled to keep them in stock. Now your Cinderella dreams can come true: You can walk into any of the brand’s U.S. stores and slip on the duchess-blessed footwear.
As expected, royal popularity is good for business: L.K. Bennett’s executive chairman, Robert Bensoussan, said in an interview with the Financial Times that the retailer has had a 17 percent increase in sales, and online sales soared 100 percent in the last year.
The company’s collection, which includes dresses, suits and purses, isn't entirely cheap. Prices range from $150-$600, and considering the royal fandom, we suspect there might be a stampede at the latest outlet, which joins other newly-opened U.S. locations, including Atlanta, Chicago, Houston and Hackensack, New Jersey.
Not near one of those locations? No worries, L.K. Bennett might be coming to your city soon. “We think we could go to 20 stores in the U.S. very quickly,” said Bensoussan.
Rina Raphael is a TODAY.com editor who is still waiting for the duchess to don a Snuggie. ("People's princess"? Prove it.)