Kate's couturier: a profile of designer to the stars Daniella Issa Helayel

17 NOVEMBER 2010

It was her moment to shine, a time when the world would sit up and acknowledge her as a future Queen.

And there was only ever going to be one design house Kate Middleton would turn to on the announcement of her engagement to Prince William – Issa.

With a host of famous fans - from Jennifer Lopez and Kylie Minogue to Madonna and Scarlett Johansson - the London-based firm has long been a favourite of the 28-year-old.

The attractive brunette has worn its dresses to a number of high-profile events over the years. At a wedding last month she looked stunning in a chic cobalt blue frock by Issa, and for the marriage of Peter Phillips and Autumn Kelly she picked out one of the label's LBDs.

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Such is her loyalty, Kate has become quite the ambassador for the company – the £385 Issa London sapphire dress she wore for the engagement photocall instantly sold out of Matches.com. And many are speculating that Issa may well be in the running to design Kate's wedding dress.

But who is the lady behind the label? Step forward Daniella Issa Helayel.

"I wanted to create the perfect dress," says the Brazil-born fashionista of her reasons for becoming a designer.

"First and foremost, it has to be comfortable, but I wanted to combine this with an effortless elegance, in a style that can be work at any time of the day. It sounds simple but I never found it."

Formerly a university student studying law, Daniella followed her heart, gave up her studying and went to study fashion in New York, where she worked as a fashion consultant for ten years. Then, in 2000, she moved to London and set up the Issa label.

"I dub the period my 'student years' because I was on a steep learning curve and didn’t launch properly until 2003, when we had our first catwalk show," Daniella recalls.

A lot has changed since then. In the past four seasons, Issa sales have rocketed - thanks in large part to its signature wrap dresses - and shows now attract famous faces, including Beatrice and Eugenie, and feature the likes of Naomi Campbell.

Daniella, who identifies Sharon Stone as 'the epitome of elegance', has garnered a number of celebrity supporters, and is evidently delighted that William's girl is among that number.

"It makes me very happy she wears our clothes. She's a very beautiful girl," she has said.

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