You know when you hear about your crush attending a party and you invest what seems like a year into your outfit and makeup? Then an hour before the bash, you get the text saying they can't make it. NBD as your soul implodes and evaporates into ASHES.
A haute version of the same situation happened to Ralph Lauren recently at his gala at the Windsor Castle. According to The Daily Beast, the designer had been expecting the universe's clothes crush/idol/demigoddess, Kate Middleton, to attend alongside her husband Prince William to Lauren's charity dinner. Lauren reportedly shelled out $2 million to sponsor the gala, which went to benefit Prince William's charity, the Royal Marsden cancer hospital. Yet, less than six weeks before the event, Lauren received news that Middleton would not be able to attend the event. In fashion PR years, six weeks is the equivalent of an hour, especially with a headlining name like Kate Middleton.
Although the event was attended by several famous faces including Emma Watson, Kate Moss, and Benedict Cumberbatch, no guest can compare to the profitable effect of Kate Middleton's style choices (sorry, not even Kate Moss!). There's even a movement named after her, "The Kate Effect," because whatever the Duchess wears, quickly sells.
Understandably, it makes sense that Lauren would be upset, but it would have looked horrible for him to back out of the event (the designer's PR camp said the same thing, as well). Sometimes, it is better to simply smile through a no-show and curtsey, no matter how much it's secretly tearing you up inside.