HALF an hour after the Duchess of Cambridge wore a dress designed by a Fiji Fashion Week 2011 winner, online interests in the designer's label increased.
FJFW 2011 Children's Wear Designer of the Year and Pacific Designer of the Year winner Ellena Tavioni catapulted to instant international stardom in the Solomon Islands yesterday when Princess Kate Middleton made a last minute decision to don a garment now nicknamed the Kate Middleton dress.
In a move uncharacteristic of the British Royal Family, Princess Kate decided against a garment prepared months before in London after finding the Kate Middleton dress laid out for her in her Honiara hotel room, a reported Solomon Islands government move, said FJFW in a statement.
FJFW managing director Ellen Whippy-Knight congratulated the Cook Islands Resortwear manufacturer. "TAV has shown at FJFW the past two years and we are looking forward to possibly seeing her again this year, although we will understand if she is now too busy given her instant stardom," Ms Whippy-Knight jokingly said.
"In a single half hour the Duchess catapulted Ms Tavioni and TAV Resortwear to international stardom and we at FJFW are excited for Ellena and for her company."
FJFW said TAV online retailers and those in Fiji had received sudden interest in TAV wear overnight, given the royal 'endorsement'.
In Fiji, TAV childrens war is sold at Aladdin's Cave and women's wear is sold at Bernadette Rounds-Ganilau's Pearl Traders and Outfitters.
Mrs Ganilau said it was exciting that a designer of her caliber who is well known to local fashion followers has received this kind of attention.
"I am just so proud of Ellena because she does a lot of civic work and is quite a socially responsible businesswoman," Mrs Ganilau said.
"Over the years, she has always been on hand to clothe the people of the Cook Islands representing her country overseas.
"TAV has dressed the sports teams of the Cook Islands to the Pacific Games, people going abroad to attend conferences and seminars and very recently she dressed all the leaders at the Forum Island Leaders meeting held in her country.
"She does a lot of work, never in the front crowing about it too. We have been friends for many years and in that time, I have always known her to be a diligent worker going about her way building her business."