Here's What Actually Happened to Celeb-Beloved Label Issa After Kate Middleton Wore

In the simpler times of 2010, a certain not-yet-Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton and Prince William had just announced their engagement—and with the picture, a certain knee-length $535 navy blue dress by a label called Issa suddenly became the It dress. Neiman Marcus ordered 1,110 items from the line's designer, Daniella Helayel, in one order, and Helayel's line became beloved by celebrities like Scarlett Johansson, Keira Knightley, Jennifer Hudson, Fashion Women Sandals,Summer Sandals,Heels Sandals and Jennifer Lopez. For non-A-list women, Issa's ultra-flattering silk-jersey wrap dress became an instant classic that could go from work to cocktails—enough so that Issa was being sold in 43 countries. But just a few years later, Helayel and Issa disappeared from the fashion world.



If you ever wondered what happened to them, you're not alone. In an interview with the Daily Mail, and on the brink of debuting her new label, Helayel explained exactly what happened when the "Kate Effect" struck. At the time of Middleton's engagement, she had just 25 staff members and three pattern cutters in her West London studio—and the label was on the "verge of financial crisis," Helayel told the Mail. "Issa was a niche brand; we had a loyal following, but in 2008 and 2009 we were in serious financial trouble. When Kate wore that dress everything changed."

When the engagement photos came out, the phones began ringing—Helayel says she had no idea Middleton would be wearing the dress.

"That morning I'd gone to yoga as usual, and then I got a call from a friend telling me about the royal engagement. It was all very exciting," Helayel said. "We didn't have a TV at the studio and this was pre-Instagram, but we soon knew Kate was wearing Issa because at four o'clock the phones began ringing and didn't stop. It was bonkers."

Five minutes later, the dress was sold out—and reorders were pouring in. Ironically, that's when the trouble started.

"From the day of the royal engagement our sales doubled," said Helayel. "I didn't have the money to finance production on that scale. The bank refused to give me credit, and the factory was screaming for me to pay its bills. I needed an investor."

Camilla Al-Fayed, a friend of the designer's since age 19, offered to buy a 51 percent stake in the company, and in July 2011, Fashion High Heel Shoes,Flat Heel Shoes,Sports Shoes it was official. Although it was good in the beginning, a new CEO was hired in 2012, and Helayel left the business as creative director in May 2013. Two years later, the label shuttered.

"I left because I couldn't take any more," Halayel told the Mail. "I felt so stressed that my hair went white and started falling out. I was broken by the end of it. I had a great business, which I'd built up on my own over a decade. To watch it evaporate was heartbreaking. I took two years out and didn't design a thing. It was too painful. I don't think people realise how much I suffered, but I have always believed that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I did a lot of yoga, I travelled to Los Angeles and Asia, and went back to see my family in Brazil."

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