‘Kate factor’: Britain’s Princess of Wales wears stunning white gloves by Irish designer Paula Rowan

"Gloves and royalty have a long-standing history and to dress the hands of the princess has left me somewhat speechless!"

Dublin glover Paula Rowan is celebrating the latest landmark in her career after Britain’s Princess of Wales wore Paula's white gloves to a State Banquet in Buckingham Palace this week.

Kate wore Paula’s 'Monserrat' elbow-length to the event honouring President Yoon Suk Yeol and First Lady Kim Keon-hee of South Korea.

Elbow-length gloves have traditionally been worn for formal, court and state occasions and the gloves were customised by Paula for the princess.

Made from Ethiopian lambskin, the 12-button gloves were worn by the royal with a white Jenny Packham gown.

The princess wore earrings that had belonged to the late Queen while her tiara, the Strathmore Rose, had once belonged to the Queen Mother.

 The royal recognition is the latest in a long line of celebrity clients for the Irish designer whose gloves have been worn Lady Gaga, Madonna and Kendall Jenner.

Paula is not the first Irish designer to be worn by the Princess of Wales. Catherine, when she was Duchess of Cambridge, wore dresses by Dubliner Orla Kiely.

The Princess of Wales is also one of the many British royals who wear pieces by the Irish hat designer, Philip Treacy from Ahascragh in Co Galway.

Britain's Prince and Princess of Wales ahead of a state banquet at Buckingham Palace for the state visit to the UK by president of South Korea Yoon Suk Yeol and his wife Kim Keon Hee. Photo: PA 

Philip has been a close personal friend of Queen Camilla for many years, long before she joined the royal family. She chose to wear one of his pieces for her wedding in April 2005 and there were many of pieces in evidence at the coronation service in Westminster Cathedral.

Based at her store on Dublin's Westbury Mall, Paula's gloves have been seen at the MET Ball, Oscars and Golden Globes and have appeared in glossy publications including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar the New York Times and Wall Street Journal and now adorn the hands of the most influential in fashion, Kate Middleton.

Reacting to the news today, Paula said: "Her Royal Highness, Catherine Princess of Wales exemplifies impeccable, discerning style and classic feminine elegance.

"I am so honoured and thrilled that she chose to wear my Paula Rowan gloves for such a momentous event, said Paula whose gloves are stocked in Selfridges in London and Bergdorf Goodman in New York.”

The 'Montserrat' 12-button silk-lined gloves have a 12-inch cuff that finishes at the elbow and can be ruched to bring down the length.

The white ones worn by the princess were a special commission and the style in black, red and grey are currently available to buy in her store for €445. They are also available in a longer, 16-button length and a shorter, eight-button style.

The exposure that comes from the Princess of Wales wearing her gloves this week can only boost the profile of the Irish brand which Paula set up in September 2008.

It was unfortunate timing to start a business the day Lehman Brothers crumbled, but the Dubliner navigated the crash, and has since built a brand with a big international clientele, and many relationships that started out with tourists and guests from the neighbouring Westbury Hotel. Word spread around the world and the small glove and handbag boutique became a go-to destination for customers seeks ‘couture for the hands.’

Paula could be on the receiving end of what’s known in fashion circles as the ‘Kate factor’ because items worn by the royal have a habit of selling out in record time.

International stylists have been using Paula’s designs in cover shoots for all the top glossy magazines around the world including Italian and US Vogue.

Her gloves have been used widely on red carpets and earlier this year she received enormous press attention in the US after her gloves featured in the Sex And The City spinoff, And Just Like That.

Madonna and Arianna Grande have both worn the ‘Montserrat’ but in the longer style. Supermodel Anok Yai wore them to the Met Gala in 2022 and only last Monday, Paula posted a pic on Instagram when Sabrina Elba wore them to the Met Gala, accompanying her actor husband, Idris.

Paula grew up in Blackrock, south Dublin. Her family were in the seed business but her ambition has always been to make her name “synonymous with gloves”.

It was a real coup for Paula and international recognition poured in last July after Lady Gaga kicked off her ‘Chromatica Ball’ stadium tour in Germany, wearing three different styles of her gloves. Interest in the accessory designer from Dublin grew when Gaga also wore her gloves in the ‘House of Gucci’ movie, choosing them over Italian ones, which one might have expected.

Tatler magazine in the UK recently singled her out as an accessories designer to watch. Madonna wore her ‘Montserrat’, ‘Lola Mongolian’ and ‘Barbara’ styles in a video, and the ‘Hayley’ cuff on the Graham Norton show.

Achieving global recognition for a niche fashion brand headquartered in a boutique off Clarendon Street is no mean feat. During lockdown Paula put her mortgage on hold and focussed on her gloves, and that worked in her favour.

At the time she said: “I genuinely believe that when you set up a creative business of any sort, it has to be driven by a passion and that you are totally interested and committed in what you do.”