NEW DELHI: The designer of one of the dresses worn by the Duchess of Cambridge in India has revealed secrets of how the Duchess has off-the-peg clothes completely re-made to suit her own particular style.
Anita Dongre, a Mumbai-born designer, said a dress she sold to the Duchess was radically altered before she wore it to play cricket in a park on Sunday.
Ms Dongre, who started her label seven years ago, said the Duchess's personal assistant and stylist Natasha Archer had picked up some clothes from her London store a month ago, but she had no idea the Duchess had chosen to wear one of them until she saw pictures of her in Mumbai. The pounds 165 "Gulrukh" dress was almost unrecognisable from when it left the shop.
"It was a real surprise," she said. "I was at home when I saw the pictures and was so delighted." More surprising was the fact that the Duchess's team had redesigned the dress, which was originally full length and included a traditional stole in matching fabric.
"Her stylist has taken the stole and converted part of that into the belt and then chopped it off so it can be worn as a dress.
"She's amazing - it looks so contemporary. She looked beautiful."
Miss Archer began working at Kensington Palace as the Duchess's PA, and was first identified as one of her team of image-makers when she was seen carrying a suitcase into the Lindo Wing or St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, following the birth of Prince George.
Since then she has been credited with helping the Duchess to become more glamorous, regal and bold in her style choices.
Ms Dongre is now also offering the Duchess's customised version of the dress - provided you can wait. The website currently shows a two-week wait for a pounds 165 version of the dress worn by the Duchess, while the original is for sale with a six-week wait for pounds 414.
Archer's input did not, however, prevent a wardrobe malfunction for the Duchess yesterday. While the Queen has weights sewn into the hems of her dresses to ensure she never suffers a "Marilyn Monroe moment", it seems Miss Archer has not picked up on that tip.
On a visit to India Gate in New Delhi to lay a wreath at the memorial to 74,000 Indian soldiers who died fighting in the First World War, the Duchess's cream Emilia Wickstead dress billowed in the wind until she took evasive action. The royal couple carried out one of the most sombre engagements of their tour, laying a wreath of beneath the sandstone arch, and observing two minutes' silence. With the arch acting as a funnel for the breeze, the Duchess had to clasp her hands in front of her to prevent the pounds 1,700 outfit from causing embarrassment.