The dawn of Dhela
Brazilian fashion designer Daniella Helayel bounces back from the 'Kate Effect' with an exotic new label
When Kate Middleton announced her engagement to Prince William in 2010, it wasn’t the sparkling sapphire on her ring finger that caught the press and public’s attention, but the equally striking blue dress she chose for the occasion.
A slinky silk wrap number in a suitably regal navy blue, the dress became an overnight sensation and cemented the soon-to-be Duchess of Cambridge’s burgeoning reputation as a royal style icon. Issa, the label behind the dress, and its creator, Brazilian-born designer Daniella Helayel, were instantly catapulted to international fame.
With Issa, Rio native Helayel dressed some of the world’s most influential women, with A-list fans of the designer’s colourful cocktail gowns and flattering tailoring including Jennifer Lopez, Madonna and Naomi Campbell. In 2013, however, Helayel took the unexpected step of selling Issa to take time out and focus on a new fashion venture, Dhela, which she launched earlier this year to critical acclaim.
Instead of being a complete departure from Issa, Helayel’s Dhela is described as the 'evolution' of her personal style and 'design DNA'. It reflects the designer’s current position – both personally and creatively speaking. The inaugural spring/summer 2017 collection certainly embodies the hallmarks of Helayel’s flamboyant yet elegant style, with floaty chiffon dresses alongside beautifully cut silk jumpsuits, flirty wrap dresses and daring gold ensembles. In the designer’s own words, the brand has been created 'for a glamorous, global woman who is looking for timeless, elegant styles to take her from day to dinner.'
Though ideally suited to St Tropez soirees or strolls along Ipanema beach, the DHELA capsule collection remains true to Helayel’s desire to make clothing that’s accessible, flattering and unashamedly feminine – something the modern woman can throw on effortlessly. The brand will release three collections a year: cruise, spring/summer and autumn/winter. Two standalone boutiques have been launched in Tokyo, with more global store openings on the way.