We are used to the Kate Effect, that phenomena in which literally anything the Duchess of Cambridge wears sells out in minutes, but now there is a new lady on the block, ready to steal the fashionista crown. Nigella Lawsom appeared on the US TV show called The Taste, and instantly set the switchboard alight, as callers demanded to know where she got the scarlet red dress she was wearing.
The dress in fact, was a £175 ‘wiggle’ dress, so called as the hem is narrower than the hips which forces the wearer to walk with a slight wiggle, and Nigella had loved the look of them so much, that she’d purchased four of them from a tiny boutique in a West Country store. After details of the store were published in a tweet by Nigella to her 300,000 followers after the show had ended, the store was inundated with callers all wanting to buy a ‘Nigella’ dress.
The store is called Deadly Is The Female vintage store and is situated in Frome in Somerset, and the dress is known as ‘The Billion Dollar Babe’ and costs £175. Within hours of Nigella tweeting the details it had sold out. Founder of the store, Claudia Kapp said: “Nigella is exactly the kind of shapely woman we cater for. We are absolutely delighted that she choose the dress.” It will come as a huge delight to Nigella that she has impressed the ladies of America, as she has made no secret of her desire to crack the States, something that is notoriously difficult to do.
And she will be pleased to learn that the debut episode of the show attracted a massive 6.1 million viewers, more than any other show at 8pm on Tuesday, and won rave reviews for Nigella. In several newspaper reviews, she was spoken about very highly, with The New York Times talking about her ‘polish and humour’ and Time magazine praised her ‘passionate, telegenic star power’.
Although in the UK, the 53-year-old Domestic Goddess is well known to even people who are not interested in cooking, over in the States, she would have been known to only the most hard-core cooking aficionados who managed to catch her show on a little-watched cable network. The show she is appearing on is rather like the culinary equivalent to the BBC1 singing show The Voice, in which judges have to ‘blind’ taste test dishes without knowing who has cooked them. Nigella is one of the judges and has been paid a reported £250,000 to appear in and executive-produce in the show.
She commented: “I wouldn’t normally do reality TV but I liked the idea of doing a show that has integrity. We are trying to be constructive and convey enthusiasm. Food on TV can be dominated by chefs and, while I love chefs, to me, real cooking is home cooking. I felt it was important that home cooks be represented.”
On the show, she flirted outrageously with fellow panellists , who include chef Anthony Bourdain, a former heroin addict who is an established star in the US.
Last night creator Chris Coelen credited Nigella’s ‘down-to-earth, no-nonsense style’ with making it a hit, saying: ‘I am sure 2013 will be the “Year of Nigella” in America.
‘She is an amazing woman to work with and she told me she’d been offered several opportunities in America over the years but that she was waiting for the perfect show. Her dream has always been to conquer America and she is now well on her way. She – we – are all thrilled with how well it did it the ratings.’
One thing is for sure, if she loves a dress she wears it more than once, as Boutique owner Kapp disclosed, this is not the first time Nigella Lawson has worn the wiggle dress: “Nigella Lawson first wore it for a Radio Times photoshoot last September and she loved it so much that she now has four. I think she loves the fact that it accentuates her womanly curves and is the perfect colour for her complexion. It was already selling well, but once she wore it again last week and tweeted our details, we had so many people requesting it that we sold out in hours and had to order more in.”