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Issa Designer, Famed for Kate's Engagement Dress, Quits Her Line

05/23/2013 at 12:30 PM ET

Kate Middleton Issa DressBauer-Griffin. Inset: Getty

Since Duchess Catherine stepped out in that iconic blue dress to announce her engagement to Prince William back in 2010, the British label Issa London has skyrocketed in popularity and almost become synonymous with the Duchess’s refined style (she’s in another Issa creation, left).

Now, its founder and creative director Daniella Helayel has decided to move on.

Speaking exclusively to PEOPLE, Helayel says, “It was amazing creating Issa … but now I’m ready for a new challenge and a new beginning. Something bigger and better coming soon.”

She added in a statement to WWD, “Creating Issa has been one of the most rewarding things in my life. I may be leaving, but the Issa girl will live forever in my heart.”

PHOTOS: See Kate’s chic maternity style here!

Founded in 2004 when the Brazilian-born designer noticed a gap in the market for pretty day-to-night dresses for her glamorous friends, the label achieved global success after the loyal patronage of celebrity friends, in particular the Duchess of Cambridge. In fact, Kate’s overnight boost for the brand created so much publicity and demand that it nearly bankrupted Issa as it struggled to keep up.

While the departure is said to be by mutual agreement (Helayel sold a majority share of the company in 2011 to Camilla Al Fayed – daughter of former Harrods owner Mohammed Al Fayed) Helayel will stay at the label to complete the Banana Republic Issa London collaboration, due in stores in August, and will depart at the end of the year, the label confirms in a statement.

Helayel will be succeeded by Blue Farrier, who has previously worked at Chloé, Stella McCartney and Anya Hindmarch.

–Monique Jessen

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