An anonymous Hasidic teen was the inspiration behind Kate Middleton's wardrobe, news media reported recently, revealing that the coat most famously worn by the UK's queen-to-be was modeled after a jacket sewn for a religious boy from Jerusalem.
The designer behind Middleton's favorite label, Katherine Hooker, has become the darling of the fashion world practically overnight – and it all began with a fortuitous visit to Israel over a decade ago. Hooker told New York Magazine last month that her successful label was inspired by an item she picked up at a second hand store.
Kate sporting Hooker's design in 2006 (L) and another variation earlier this month (R). (Photo taken from Daily Mail)
"I bought a young boy's Hasidic coat in a junk shop," she said. "And it was an old one, like when clothes used to be made for people as opposed to mass market. I was 18 and tiny and skinny, and it fit me absolutely perfectly; it was made for a 14-year-old boy or something."
According the report, Hooker loved the coat so much she found a tailor in India who agreed to replicate it for her. The jacket grew popular among her friends, and after making several more duplicates she opened her own shop in London, in 2004. Middleton and her sister, Pippa, soon became patrons of the establishment, and the rest is history.
In addition to the Middleton sisters, the store is now being frequented by princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, as well as a dozen other members of the royal family.
Inpiring garments? (Photo: Noam Moskovich)
Although the now-older gentleman whose childhood coat caused the hoopla is mostly likely unaware, Middleton has become a fashion role model for quite a few religious and ultra-religious fashionistas, who favor the duchess' modest style.
Describing the frock-like garment that the Daily Mail recently dubbed "Kate's favorite coat," Hooker told the British newspaper that it was made of "black silk with a little collar, cut small shoulders, straight down." She said it is similar to her label's current Opera coat, but with a different collar.
The shtetl tailor who was behind the original capote's design would be shocked to find out that his creation was the muse behind items that currently sell for as much as $1,750.