Daniella Helayel, the designer of the fashion brand Issa London, has been a name in the industry for nearly 10 years. But when the British royal-to-be Kate Middleton chose to wear one of her dresses to meet the media as she and Prince William announced their engagement, Helayel became front-page news. She is known for her vibrant prints, but her plain, midnight blue, silk jersey wrap dress sold out instantly on Matches.com. Speaking to Sophie Jones-Cooper, Helayel says: "Kate's a very elegant woman with a classic and effortless sense of style and Issa is all about effortless glamour and making a woman feel confident and comfortable." The Brazilian-born designer originally studied law in Rio de Janeiro before moving to New York to train in fashion. Following the launch of her label in 2001, Helayel held her first catwalk show in 2003 and won celebrity fans such as Naomi Campbell, Madonna and Kylie Minogue. Today her designs are stocked in boutiques around the world and online, including here in the UAE at Harvey Nichols, Bloomingdale's, Boutique 1 and S*uce.
MY CAREER HIGHLIGHT IS... the first time I dressed Madonna. It had been my childhood dream to dress my idol when I grew up.
MY LIFE MOTTO IS... dream and dream high.
THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE I HAVE EVER BEEN GIVEN... as Sophia Loren once said: "If you can learn to use your mind as well as your powder puff, you will become more truly beautiful."
MY FAVOURITE MEMORY... paragliding in Rio from Pedra d'Garea to Sao Conrado, when I was about 17. It was the biggest adrenalin rush.
FIVE WORDS TO DESCRIBE YOU... It's only just the beginning.