"All eyes are definitely on Kate!" says maternity fashion designer Liz Lange. Of course, she's talking about the Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (aka Kate Middleton), who announced her pregnancy by way of the royal family December 3, after she was hospitalized with severe morning sickness. "We haven't had a pregnant woman whose taste we all emulate since Jackie Kennedy was pregnant on the campaign trail with her husband," says Lange.
In recent years, Kate has become a fashion icon, with women all around the world looking up to her style — soon after she wears an item (especially an affordable one), it sells out of stores. And after her royal wedding to Prince William, the bridal fashion industry very obviously changed — designers were inspired by Kate's royal-meets-modern-chic wedding gown, and it showed in their new gowns. Now that Kate's pregnant, how will maternity fashion be affected? Here, three big names in the industry reveal their predictions to us.
Maternity style predictions for Kate
Forget sticking with basic black — Kate is into color, and the pros say that will continue into her pregnancy. "Kate loves jewel tone dresses that are simple, elegant and ladylike," says Lange. "I am hopeful that women will see through Kate's example, that colors other than black can be extremely slimming and quite beautiful in a pregnant body."
She's likely to keep pairing high-end designers with affordable ones, such as Zara, and adding on-trend touches to timeless clothes. "Kate loves to mix modern designs with contemporary classics, and now that she's pregnant, I don’t see this changing." Baukjen de Swaan Arons, co-founder and design director of Isabella Oliver.
And pay special attention to Kate's accessories. "She'll continue to impress us with her expert layering and we'll see a lot of fabulous blazers and fitted lady-like coats," says Olivia Capone Myers, design director for A Pea in the Pod. "Her maternity looks will be enhanced by those refined touches she's known for: chic clutches, bow belts and demure pumps."
Kate's also likely to show off her bump with fitted styles that aren't skintight — nothing too flowy, except maybe at the very end of pregnancy, says Lange. Capone Myers says to look out for Kate wearing lace, "a key trend for spring."
"Kate is also a wonderful ambassador for the British Fashion Industry and I can see her continuing to champion British designers," says de Swaan Arons.
Her influe ** nce on other pregnant mamas-to-be**
"I think Kate's love of feminine silhouettes will influence a lot of future moms-to-be," says Capone Myers. "I'm excited to see more women who are expecting embrace the super-flattering sheath dress silhouette that Kate wears so well. I see her inspiring women to wear bold color."
"Her looks will show women that they can remain stylish and chic during pregnancy and don’t have to change their fashion tastes when they find out that they are expecting," says de Swaan Arons.
What they'd design for h** er**
So, if these designers were to dress Kate, what would they have her wear? One word: Dresses!
"I would design a bunch of simple fitted dresses for her in figure flattering shapes and colors such as emerald green, royal blue, purple amethyst and shades of red," says Lange. "I personally wear dresses all year long and find them the easiest most comfortable way to dress when pregnant. Kate needs dresses that can take her from ribbon cuttings to black tie events with effortless ease."
"Kate is already a fan of classic wrap styles similar to those Isabella Oliver are famous for," says Arons. "These designs offer a smart and stylish look and allow for a growing pregnancy bump."
"Moving into spring, our collection will have an expert selection of dresses and separates in a vibrant color palette that would be perfect for Kate’s day-to-day wardrobe," says Capone Myers.
How she'll change the maternity fashion industry
The pros say that Kate's style will impact their designs — and maternity fashion around the world.
"Since the announcement of her pregnancy, awareness of maternity fashion has been at the forefront of the industry’s mind," says de Swaan Arons.
"I am already infusing more elegant details into my designs," says Capone Myers. "There is no doubt that we'll see a shift toward more sophisticated dressing when it comes to maternity wear."
Lange agrees: "I foresee a very elegant future."
Do you think Kate Middleton's maternity style will influence yours? Are you excited to see what she wears when she starts showing?