By ZOU MIAO
Fashion & Style correspondent
BEIJING (China Daily Show) — Has Kate Middleton become Wait, Middle Kingdom?
That’s the question fashion experts and time-rich Royal Wedding watchers are asking this week, following sightings of regal lady-in-waiting “Waity” Kate Middleton at a downtown – and downmarket – clothing destination in Beijing’s Silk Street Market.
The news has set the fashion world alight with fruitless gossip.
Within hours, chaos had descended on the popular tourist destination, after Vogue flew in dozens of interns to pester vendors, many of whom refused to answer questions until reporters paid 800 yuan each for a “silk” dressing gown.
“It’s good. Last price, no joking with me!” 28-year-old Xiao Liu retorted to a question about whether Kate planned to have classic and sophisticated elements to her dress or would instead opt for a lighter, springtime feel, possibly using organza lilies of the valley to offset the conservative mood.
Designer Oscar de la Renta was meanwhile reported to have hurled a stiletto through the window of a Los Angeles branch of Vivienne Westwood upon hearing that 76-year-old unknown Yan Miao, a migrant tailor from Sha’anxi Province, was seen deep in discussion with the future Princess over the weekend.
Remarks such as “You want winter coat?” “You’re my friend!” and “I just got a bunch of Daniella Issa Halayel in, can give you good price” were all overheard by local blogger Shan Jingping, who broke the story later that day on her BeijingDoll website.
Harper’s style editor Valentina Rubchenka told China Daily Show that she and Yan had long been friends.
“We always catch up when I’m in Shanghai, yaah. I admire Yan for her common touch. I’m not saying she’s déclassé. She’s what I would call a ‘real’ woman” Rubchenka revealed. “She may not be well-known to the masses but those of us in fashion have always had the name Yan Ma on our Rolodex.”
If true, the hiring of Yan will be a bold move in more ways than one.
“Kate’s dress will probably be too small and may well include toxic chemicals,” said Shanghai fashion expert Huang Po. “And it will almost certainly fall off mid-way through the ceremony.”
Middleton was later seen marching determinedly out of the Silk Market with a North Face jacket she managed to bargain down to 180 yuan and four pairs of knock-off Guiseppe Zanotti shoes that normally retail for thousands of dollars each.
Cost to Kate? “She wouldn’t go above 100 kuai a pair,” recalled seller Xi Miao, 22. “Tough customer. We eventually settled on 450 for the whole lot. She’ll be back.”
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Full details of the China Daily Show interview below:
China Daily Show: Was that Kate Middleton who just came in?
Vendor: What do you want: Hat? Gloves? I have summer collection just in.
CDS: What can you tell us about [wedding designer] Yan Miao’s designs? Does she favour a retro look or can we look forward to some fresh colors and perhaps an elegant, sexy even precious feel?
Vendor: Miao is good friend. But very expensive. I’m cheap. Come, I show you.
CDS: This season’s New York runway has been influenced by English tones and styles such as traditional plaid and 30s style necklines. Would you say this is due to the Middleton look? How do you think this will influence Yan’s dressmaking?
Vendor: Don’t tell anyone, I give this T-shirt to you only 400 yuan, OK? Deal?
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