Camilla Al Fayed, daughter of Harrods owner Mohammed Al Fayed, just bought a controlling stake in Issa. This otherwise unremarkable news is actually completely fascinating because of two key points: Camilla’s brother Dodi died with his girlfriend Princess Diana in that tragic car crash, and Issa is one of Kate Middleton‘s favorite brands.
Al Fayed now has a 51 percent stake in Issa, which was previously self-funded by designer Daniella Issa Helayel, who owns the other 49 percent. Al Fayed intends to take the brand global in her new position as chairwoman, with Helayel retaining her role as creative director. In their first steps toward expansion, they’ll soon venture into the world of e-commerce, as well as open a store in London.
Issa suddenly became high profile when Middleton announced her engagement to Prince William in a blue Issa dress. If you’ll recall, Helayel was long considered a front-runner in the royal wedding dress race. While that honor ultimately fell on Sarah Burton, Kate did wear Issa on her Canadian tour.
Kate fans around the world have been dying to get their hands on Brazilian designer Helayel’s creations, and Al Fayed wants to make it happen. Of course, we can’t help but think about the connection between Al Fayed and Princess Di. Not one but two memorials to the couple have been erected at Harrods, one of which includes an engagement ring Dodi bought for Diana the day before they died.
Al Fayed and Helayel are understandably excited about their partnership. As Al Fayed told Women’s Wear Daily: “I believe in Daniella’s creativity; she is a friend. I admire her passion and drive, and I see potential in making Issa a global lifestyle brand.” Helayel agrees: ”The investment will help to grow the business and take it to the next level. I looked at a lot of investors, and Camilla came with the best fit. She has the infrastructure behind her, she’s well connected, and she will open a lot of doors.”
Also, it’s totally awesome to see women making these kind of moves. (And we’re definitely not complaining about being able to be like Kate in the near future.)