On a whistle-stop tour of London in 2011, President Obama and his wife Michelle met with key members of the royal family, including The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. For the occasion, Kate wore her Reiss Shola dress.
The Duchess looked wonderful in the camel coloured bandage dress for the meeting. Both royals were happy, glowing and tanned, fresh back from their Honeymoon.
Today, the Reiss Shola dress is still one of the Duchess’ most sought after pieces – but sadly, it can only be purchased second hand from eBay.
The brand only released a run of 1,000 units of the Shola dress before it sold out. They then re-released a limited run of 600 units as a one-off, due to its popularity, but those quickly sold out too. Here’s a graphic that was on Reiss’ website in 2011:
According to a spokesperson for Reiss back in May 2011, 20 units of the Shola dress sold online within the first two minutes of Kate’s appearance with the Obamas. They called the situation “Shola-mania!” The Reiss Shola dress was so popular when Kate wore it in 2011, that the high street chain’s website crashed as people logged online to buy it.
In September 2011, Reiss decided to re-release the Shola dress with an updated design and in new colours for the change in season. The dress was called as “Lolla” and it came in blue and red. Here’s an image I used on the blog, back in 2011:
(This dress is now also sold out)
Back in 2011 and 2012, the Reiss Shola dress made headlines around the world after The Duke and Duchesses’ high profile meeting with the Obamas. As a consequence, many high street brands took it upon themselves to make cheaper, affordable copies. Most stores sold ‘RepliKates’ of the bandage dress. Here’s a couple I listed on the site back in 2011/2012 (they’re no longer available for sale).
At the time of the Obama meeting, the media noted that while Michelle Obama and Samantha Cameron looked wonderful in their dresses by high-end fashion designers, it was Kate’s high street dress that stole the show. The Duchess looked perfect for less than £200, meanwhile, the President and Prime Ministers’ wives looked wonderful in dresses worth six times more than Kate’s.
A similar dress for 2016:
We know that Kate’s a fan of L.K. Bennett, she’s worn the brand a number of times over the last few years. The company have just released this peach coloured dress with capped sleeves and cinch waist.
While it’s not identical to the Shola dress, it is a good alternative if you’re looking for something similar, perhaps to wear to work or for an important job interview. Shop it here.
About The Reiss Shola Dress:
Reiss describe the Shola dress as:
“A timeless, figure hugging dress that’s sure to catch an eye. It has a box neckline, asymmetric overlays on the skirt and a band around the waist. Shola fastens with a concealed zip at the back.”
Here’s a screenshot of the dress on Reiss’ website back in 2011:
Shop Reiss Dresses:
Kate & Reiss:
The Duchess of Cambridge hasn’t just worn the Shola dress from Reiss. She has worn a number of pieces publicly over the last few years. She famously wore the Reiss ‘Nanette’ dress for her engagement portrait with Prince William (below) and then again during the Canada tour in 2011.
She then wore a blue belted dress from the brand during a visit to EACH’s Treehouse Hospice in March 2012 (see above) and the grey ‘Delany’ jacket during a visit to the Shooting Star House in December 2013.