The Dress Kate Middleton Wore When She First Caught Prince William’s Eye

'His eyes were like stalks'

Long before she became the regal Duchess of Cambridge that we know today, Kate Middleton was a college student who just happened to catch the eye of none other than Prince William—thanks to one particular dress.

The pair famously met when they were residents at St. Salvator’s Hall at St. Andrew’s University in Scotland, but it was a then 19-year-old Kate’s daring runway moment at a 2002 school charity fashion show that apparently became the catalyst for their romance.

As for the dress that has become known as one of the Duchess’ most controversial looks ever? It was a sheer, strapless $58 black-and-gold midi dress with turquoise bands at the neck and hem.

As the tale goes, William reportedly paid $400 for a ticket to sit in the front row, and as she made her way down the catwalk in the dress, the Prince was stunned and apparently turned to his friend Fergus Boyd and whispered, “Wow, Fergus, Kate’s hot!”

Kate Middleton's Charity Fashion Show Dress

The couple’s friend Pat Duncan later confirmed in a 2011 interview that it was that very moment that Kate caught William’s eye.

“It was the end of their first year. I was there, and in person there were a lot of attractive girls,” she said.

“She was in a very daring dress, in a sheer stocking-like dress. He was sitting front row and his eyes were like stalks.”

The dress’ designer Charlotte Todd sold the piece in 2011, the same year in which the royal pair wed, at an auction for over $180,000.

Kate Middleton's Charity Fashion Show Dress

And while Kate would never wear the dress today, she did have a good sense of humour about her bold catwalk moment when chatting to a crowd of St. Andrew undergraduates at the school’s 600th charity event in the year after her wedding.

“I hope you weren’t involved in the fashion show,” she joked.

“You never know what you are going to be asked to wear!”

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