To celebrate the recent and exciting news about the fastest selling dress in over 25 years of brand history, we sit with Rachel and ask her about THAT Birthday Dress & other highlights in her extraordinary career as a childrenswear designer.
Rachel, it was so fun to see Princess Charlotte in the Floral Button-front Dress for her 6th Birthday! Tell us how you felt when you saw the photo?
It was such a treat to see! It was a delightful surprise, I wasn’t expecting it at all and was gardening at the time. I became aware of the picture when my friends and family started sending me messages asking if the dress was one of ours.
The interest in the dress after the picture was released was huge, we had completely sold out within 12 hours. We had lots of messages from customers asking if they could still order it, so we set up a pre-order system and it will be back in stock in a few weeks. The Prince George items sold extremely quickly but it seems that girlswear is even more popular!
You have this dress style in the collection every season (and this isn't the first time Princess Charlotte has worn it!) Tell us what makes it such a timeless design?
We were honoured to have Princess Charlotte wear our Ditsy Floral Button Front Dress at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2019. As a keen gardener myself, it was wonderful to see this dress worn in such a harmonious garden setting.
We have a Heritage Collection of all our favourite and most popular classic designs, many of which have been worn by Royal babies’ and children. These are available to purchase all year round.
Personally, I think the Duchess of Cambridge is always spot on with her own fashion choices. What was wonderful about seeing the Duchess’ own children wearing Rachel Riley outfits is that it kick-started a revival in traditional children’s wear. It’s very common these days to see children dressed in smocked outfits & classic styles.
As we always say 'classic style never goes out of fashion'
Prince George has also been photographed on numerous occasions wearing your outfits. Which outfits were they and what makes them so great for formal occasions?
To our surprise and delight, the first Rachel Riley outfit he wore was our Sailboat Smocked Dungarees on his First Official Engagement on the Royal Tour of New Zealand and Australia in 2014.
For the announcement of his new baby sister, Princess Charlotte, and for the Queen’s 90th birthday, Prince George was photographed in our Cord Short and Shirt Set which then became the third bestselling item in our brand’s history.
Our Red Smocked Set became an instant bestseller when Prince George was seen wearing this outfit at Princess Charlotte’s Christening and also for his second birthday official portraits.
I think what makes these outfits so popular is that they are traditional, stylish and effortlessly charming making them wonderful for photographs and also for family heirlooms and can be worn for many generations.
I am honoured that the Royal Family and so many people from across the world appreciate the quality and styling of our collections and I am excited to continue to offer timeless and traditional styles for many years to come.
Aside from Royalty, you have many other celebrity customers & fans, can you tell us about some & why they love the designs so much?
We’ve been lucky enough over the years to have many celebrity customers shop with us. We have seen in the press the children of David Beckham, Beyonce, Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Sarah Jessica Parker, Katie Holmes and others wearing our clothes. And of course there are many others that I am not able to mention! It is fun to see the different ways they style our clothing.
Of course, all of our customers are special to us and we delight in seeing so many families enjoy and cherish our clothing. I also like to see younger siblings wearing outfits from their older siblings. I now see we are dressing children of our first customers, so we now have the pleasure of dressing a new generation!
What other significant moments would you say have been the highlights of your career as a childrenswear designer so far?
My proudest moment will always be the day that I decided that I was going to take the plunge and start my business! I had 3 small children under the age of 5 but was undaunted in my determination to create joyous children’s clothes and the vision and the excitement (as well as the determination) for my business remains undimmed.
Of course it is exciting to see the children of celebrity customers and Royal children wearing our clothes, but I design collections with all children in mind, and I am truly grateful for the enthusiasm and satisfaction from all our customers.