Did Kate Middleton Bless LK Bennett, or Curse It?

Kate’s shoes removed during a mosque visit in Malaysia.
Image: Getty

LK Bennett, a Kate Middleton fave, is preparing to file for administration, which basically Britain’s version of a bankruptcy. What went wrong for the brand, whose sleek, relatively affordably priced Sledge heels basically epitomize the modern self-presentation of the royal family?

Well, it turns out that the “Kate Middleton effect” can be as much curse as blessing.

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As AdWeek explained, LK Bennett makes for a cautionary tale about an essentially “high street” brand—which is sort of like a British mall brand, in that implies a certain accessibility and wide availability—trying to go luxe:

The Sledge pumps were the perfect combination of high and low; priced at just under $300, they were expensive enough to be a significant purchase, but still attainable to many. The brand was the pinnacle of affordable luxury: getting something that felt and looked exclusive and high-end at a reasonable price.

But changing brand perception can be a tricky business. As L.K. Bennett grew and expanded, the brand began to change, zeroing in on luxury and seemingly attempting to shed its high street label. (When the news of the company’s administration filing broke, customers took to Twitter to complain about the brand raising its prices after Middleton started wearing it.)

The brand will go into administration unless Bennett herself—who sold the company for quite a good chunk of money in 2008, before repurchasing it in 2017 after it began struggling—can find new investors in the coming days. Sky News reported that this puts hundreds of jobs in jeopardy.

Nor is this the first example of a brand encountering trouble after rocketing to international fame in the wake of Kate Middleton wearing their stuff—Issa, the designer that made her engagement dress, has gone out of business entirely. Something for Meghan Markle’s preferred brands to remember before making any big decisions!

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