The Duchess of Cambridge dazzled in yellow at the Opera House.
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, may be worth $2 billion to the UK fashion retail industry according to consumer analysts Mintel, but the "Replikate" phenomenon is lining the pockets of many enterprising eBay users around the world.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that whatever Catherine wears to official functions sells out in minutes. However, just who is purchasing the designer and high-street wares? Fans of the former commoner-turned-princess? Or savvy style watchers who are becoming the sartorial equivalent of real estate 'flippers' by purchasing the Duchess' looks and reselling them to spin a personal profit?
Catherine wore a Zimmermann dress on Friday. Photo: Janie Barrett
Judging by the rampant sales of the dresses Catherine has worn on the Australian tour, it's the latter.
While there are numerous blogs, Twitter and Instagram accounts dedicated to observing the monarch's style, including @HRHCatherineMiddleton, What Kate Wore and What Would Kate Do?, which even has a recipe section called “Cooking with Catherine”, online buyers and sellers are taking the opportunity to cash in on the Duchess.
The dress she wore in Brisbane on Saturday, a cotton number by London designer LK Bennett, sold out on official e-tailer sites before the Duke and Duchess had even descended the stairs of their plane at the RAAF base Amberley.
The Duchess of Cambridge wore a $500 Diane von Furstenburg wrap silk-jersey dress to the Blue Mountains on Thursday. Photo: Reuters
The white dress covered with blue poppies, with an initial retail price of about $440, was available to purchase on eBay less than an hour later, for three times the retail price.
The “new with tags” dress was promoted using photos of the Duchess on the tarmac in Queensland and gave shoppers the option to buy it immediately for more than $1200.
The $500 Diane von Furstenburg wrap silk-jersey dress she wore for a visit to the Blue Mountains on Thursday sold out on the official DVF website in eight minutes.
Catherine wore a cotton number by London designer LK Bennett on Saturday. Photo: Harrison Saragossi
Soon after there were more than 20 of the brand new dresses available in a variety of sizes online via consumer selling sites. All of the advertisements, each asking for about $200 more than the recommended retail price, boasted photos of the Duchess wearing the dress in Australia.
Australian designers commissioned by Catherine's style team to provide wardrobe options for the royal tour, Nicky and Simone Zimmermann, got the royal seal of approval on Friday when she wore a $495 day dress from their upcoming summer collection.
However, the Sydney-based designers managed to outsmart this emerging black market as the dress is not available for public consumption until mid-June.
On her arrival in Australia on Wednesday, the Duchess dazzled in a bright yellow column dress by Roksanda Ilincic, a London-based Serbian fashion designer. A version of the dress is still available online for $1694.