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Is Kate Middleton's Fashion Influence Fading Already?

She may be Britain's style sweetheart, but across the Atlantic commentators are taking a less favorable view of the Duchess of Cambridge's status as a fashion icon.

As hundreds line up to see Kate's £250,000 Alexander McQueen wedding dress on display at Buckingham Palace, Gregg Andrews, fashion director of American department store chain Nordstrom, told the Reuters news agency that in his opinion Kate is a fashion follower, not a leader.

HOT SHOTS: Kate Middleton

"She's stylish, but she's not setting trends, she's following trends," Andrews said. "If you take Kate out of the Royal Family, put her on a street in New York, you wouldn't look at her twice. She's a beautiful woman, but she blends into a crowd."

Meanwhile Ken Downing, fashion director of high-end department store Neiman Marcus, expressed doubt as to whether the so-called "Kate effect" would stand the test of time, The (London) Times reported. "Is she iconic at the moment? Time will tell. She's certainly influential. In the position that she's in you can't be simply stunning as she is and not have influence," he said.

Their comments come not long after Kate fell victim to the sharp tongue of esteemed British designer Vivienne Westwood. Despite winning plaudits elsewhere for capably mixing high street and designer looks, Westwood has deemed Kate's style "ordinary." "It seems to me that her image is 'ordinary woman,' " said Westwood. "High Street Shopper. I just think she should be an extraordinary woman, wherever she gets her clothes from."

But perhaps we should not remove Kate's fashion crown quite yet. American designer Diane Von Furstenberg has sung the Duchess' praises, saying, "I think she is irresistible, she is so beautiful," with Anna Dello Russo, style maverick and editor-at-large of Vogue Japan, also celebrating Kate's style. "I love it. She's modern, really modern. She's smart to mix cheap clothes with, like, Alexander McQueen. That's a great message to the younger generation because it's a democratic approach."

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