Fresh after making headlines for her "girlfriend stole my look" dresses worn by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, London-based Kiwi designer Emilia Wickstead is expanding her fashion empire.
During her trip to the UK this month, Ardern wore a Wickstead calf-length cream 50s-style "Alice Dress" during a meeting at Downing St with the now-resigned British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The $3000 dress, with its high collar and pocket detail, was almost identical to one worn by Kate Middleton during a royal tour of India and Bhutan in 2016.
The only discernible difference was Ardern's collar was 2022 pointed while the Duchess' 2016 version was round.
Renowned for dressing famous and powerful women, Wickstead has also dressed Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and in January this year Spy reported a strong move into A-List entertainment names, including popstars Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande, and actors Diane Kruger, Olivia Colman and Emma Watson.
Wickstead's flagship store moved into upper-crust Sloane St in 2014 after five years at another London location, after her designs were embraced by the cream of London society. Now she's on the move again, opening a new store a few doors down, allowing her to double the space and the range of offerings.
Wickstead described her new store as "handsome" to the Financial Times, leaving behind the old store's pastels and sherbets and replacing them with ivory silk walls, mahogany doors, rust-coloured carpet, polished chrome and checkerboard floors.
"Our brand before was quite pink and feminine, but I feel like this store is all-encompassing," Wickstead told the FT.
Wickstead's new store includes a bar upstairs, an accessories section and a VIP suite from which Wickstead will operate her other specialty - made-to-measure and bridal services, as well as creating bespoke fashion - that is becoming increasingly lucrative - for a small customer base.
Downstairs will feature a new homeware line of linens, glassware, china, cutlery, and an entertaining area, as well as vacation wear and sleepwear.
Homeware is a natural addition for the 39-year-old designer. Many of the fabrics from her last collection would look just as fabulous on a sofa or look chic as a tablecloth.
It's been 14 years since the daughter of 1980s and 90s Parnell designer Angela Wickstead launched her business from her home in Chelsea with £5,000 from her then-boyfriend, now husband, Brazilian banker Daniel Gargiulo. One of her breakthrough moments came in 2010 when pregnant Samantha Cameron wore a blue Wickstead dress on the night husband David was elected UK Prime Minister. It wasn't long before the Duchess of Cambridge began wearing Wickstead and the Kiwi designer has become one of the duchess' favourite designers, often recycling dresses and wearing the same design in three different colours.
Last week at the Royal Charity Polo Cup the Duchess looked sensational in a $2500 off-white, sleeveless Wickstead midi dress with black strip detail, a design previously worn by Ivanka Trump.
Increasingly Wickstead's creations are being spotted on the US red carpet circuit, be it award ceremonies, premieres, or glitzy New York openings.
Outside the UK, the designer's e-commerce business is going off, with sales in the US currently outstripping those in the UK.
Wickstead hasn't forgotten her New Zealand roots though. In 2016 she was the international guest at iD Dunedin Fashion and more recently, in a nice touch, has collaborated with fellow Kiwi-born, London-based jewellery designer Jessica McCormack.