REISS IS THE WORD: Reiss, a British brand beloved of the Duchess of Cambridge, is expanding rapidly into the U.S., its popularity fueled in part by the new royal connection. Earlier this week, the British brand opened shops-in-shop at Bloomingdale’s in SoHo and Roosevelt Field in New York, and will open four more spaces at Bloomingdale’s stores later this month. By the end of the year it will have a total of 13 shops-in-shop. While the brand doesn’t quantify the “duchess effect” on sales, a spokeswoman said the young royal’s impact has been nothing short of phenomenal.

“We have noticed a significant increase in terms of brand interest and awareness globally, and it has strengthened our existing markets and attracted attention in markets we are yet to enter,” she said. Kate wore Reiss’ cream Nanette dress for her engagement portraits, and the caramel-colored Shola bandage dress for her meeting with the Obamas last spring. The bright blue, double-breasted coatdress she wore earlier this week for her maiden speech in East Anglia was also a Reiss.

This story first appeared in the March 23, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“From a sales perspective, both [the Nanette and Shola] dresses sold out very quickly online, and in the U.S. the Shola dress sold out before stores even opened their doors. People were calling our customer services number, and buying over the phone,” she said. With regard to the Shola, she said the surge in Web traffic caused the Reiss Web site to crash, and then the dress promptly sold out online within hours after the service resumed. It also sold out in all stores, including those in the U.S. “We reordered the dress and it sold out again very quickly,” the spokeswoman said.

The Nanette was a slightly different story: It was no longer available by the time the official engagement portraits came out, but Reiss rereleased it due to customer demand. “We sold out very quickly online. At one point we were selling one per minute for a few hours until the dress sold out,” she said.

As for the Trina — the blue dress that Kate wore earlier this week — that was from the autumn 2008 collection. It’s no longer for sale, but Reiss said there was a “significant uplift” in its online traffic as soon as the pictures of the duchess were published.

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