The Duchess of Cambridge loves the store’s houndstooth dress so much that she’s worn it on two recent public engagements. Claudia Winkleman glittered on Strictly in this season’s sequined mini dress a few weeks ago and Holly Willoughby wears so many of their figure-hugging skirts on This Morning, it’s hard to keep track.

The store is Zara, the High Street brand that has become the largest clothes retailer in the world thanks to the retail giant’s skill at producing stylish, affordable fashion. Remember the black and white £40 polka dot dress that became a worldwide sellout in 2019, inspiring its own Instagram account?

Now there’s a new woman at the helm and while you might not have heard of her until now, you may well have some of the pieces she’s championed in your wardrobe

Like many successful retail executives, Marta Ortega Perez started out on the shop floor 14 years ago at the King’s Road branch of Zara. With her flawless, but Spanish-accented English she was easily recognized amongst the many other employees who were making their way up the ladder.

Marta Ortega Perez, 37, (pictured) is going to replace Pablo Isla as chairman of Inditex in April, filling the position her publicity-shy father vacated back in 2011

Marta Ortega Perez (37), will replace Pablo Isla in April as Inditex’s chairman. She fills the spot her father, who was a publicity shyy, left back in 2011.

Only one thing. As the young woman did stock checks and folded clothes her colleagues noticed that she was wearing a Rolex.

To be fair, the store assistant in question could probably have splashed out on a Rolex for every employee if she so wished, because Marta, then 23, was the youngest daughter of Amancio Ortega, the owner of the Zara empire and the world’s 11th richest person, with a fortune currently estimated in the region of £58 billion.

Marta is 37 now, very chic and impeccably connected. She’s also hard-working. Nevertheless, unless you are a reader of Spanish gossip columns, there’s a good chance you will never have heard of the woman who is now one of the most influential in fashion. Marta is the younger sister of two other siblings and was last week named successor to Inditex (the retailer that has Zara, Massimo Dutti and Uterque)

Pablo Isla, a twice-married mother of two will be replacing Pablo Isla in April as chair. This is the same position that her media-shy father left in 2011.

Amancio, now 85 but still heavily involved in the business despite being technically retired, is the archetypal self-made man, a railway worker’s son who left school at 13.

Amancio, his first wife Rosalia Mera who passed away suddenly in 2013, started his clothing line in 1975. They had two children together, Sandra, 53, and Marcos, Marcos who was born with cerebral palsy severe.

Marta’s mother is Flora Perez, an attractive young member of staff with whom Amancio struck up an affair (and later married, in 2001, having divorced Rosalia in 1986).

Marta is a favourite with Hola!. Pictured: Marta attends a fashion show by her father-in-law.

Marta (pictured) is a keen equestrian and a regular front-row fashion show attendee

Marta (pictured) who is a favourite with Hola!, is a keen equestrian and a regular front-row fashion show attendee

Marta arrived first, though, in 1984, quickly becoming the apple of her father’s eye. She enjoyed the benefits of a privileged upbringing (her father acquired a horse farm, largely to serve her passion for horses) and studied at a private Catholic school in Spain, then an international school in Switzerland before heading to London’s European Business School.

Glamorous – she once reportedly posed semi-naked on a Barbados beach for Italian fashion photographer Mario Sorrenti – her friends include Queen Letizia and Athina Onassis (granddaughter of the Greek shipping magnate).

Still a passionate equestrian, she is also a frequent attendee of front row fashion shows. No wonder she’s a favourite with Hola!, Spain’s equivalent of celebrity magazine Hello!

It is clear that she comes from the same family as her father, a man whose unwavering footsteps she emulates. Marta has been quietly learning the family business with stints in London, Barcelona and Shanghai, as well as Arteixo, the small town near La Coruña, Spain, where Inditex is headquartered.

Her father may be The Boss but her first job was behind the tills in London’s King’s Road store 

Like her father – the man they call The Boss – Marta prefers to base herself in the shared open-plan space of the company offices. Every morning, after dropping off her eight-year-old son at school, she joins executives to review the current ‘bestsellers’.

Amancio claims to be modest despite the 100ft Drizzle yacht, country estate and private jet. Similarly, while Marta owns plenty of couture pieces, not to mention the Hermès handbags, Celine shoes and Marie Lichtenberg diamonds, day-to-day she favours dressing from the family brand – clothes which she always pays for from her own purse.

Amancio is well-known for his inability to be seen. He has a large London property portfolio. It wasn’t until 2001 that he reluctantly allowed his photograph to be released for the first time.

However, his daughter is not shy in front of the camera, and her social media accounts are private. This was her first major interview. She spoke to The Wall Street Journal in January.

Marta (pictured) is said to be visiting Zara stores almost weekly and has been credited with strengthening the retailer¿s brand image

Marta (pictured) is said to be visiting Zara stores almost weekly and has been credited with strengthening the retailer’s brand image

‘You never know your future, and I’m open to it. However, to be completely honest, I want to remain close to this product. I think that’s what my father always did,’ she declared.

She is said to be a hands-on player, visiting Zara stores almost weekly and has been credited with strengthening the retailer’s brand image, leading several campaigns and launches.

The past is where you will find clues about her work ethic. A school friend once said: ‘You couldn’t say Marta was a pupil who got outstanding grades, but she did show willpower and a spirit of work which was very much in the style of her parents.’

Marta spoke French and Italian in her Wall Street Journal interview. Marta also speaks French, Italian, and French. Marta admitted that it was difficult to get started with the London company. ‘The first week I thought I was not going to survive,’ she said. ‘But then you get kind of addicted to the store.’

Since then, Marta – described as ‘humble’ but with ‘strong opinions’ – has worked in different departments, from finance to sales and even design.

She owns couture but wears Zara to work — and buys it herself 

As her father, she was married twice. In 2012, after dating several eligible men, she married fellow showjumper Sergio Alvarez Moya, in a private ceremony on her father’s estate.

No expense was spared — the altar was designed by sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor with entertainment from The Pointer Sisters — and Charlotte Casiraghi, daughter of Princess Caroline of Monaco, was among the 200 guests.

While the groom wore a suit by Massimo Dutti, Zara’s sister brand, the bride’s gown was designed by Narciso Rodriguez. They had a son, but they split up in 2015. She began to fall for Carlos Torretta (a modeling agent, and the son of Roberto Torretta.

If anything, their 2018 wedding was even more glamorous than Marta’s first. Spanish newspapers branded the nuptials the ‘wedding of the year’.

Marta wore no fewer than four couture creations, her blush gown by Valentino’s creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli, flown in by the designer in person.

Fabien Baron, who is independent creative director at Zara, said Marta (pictured) ¿brings a layer of sophistication to Zara that maybe Zara didn¿t have before¿

Pictured: Marta at a showjumping competition.

Fabien Baron, who is independent creative director at Zara, said Marta (pictured) ‘brings a layer of sophistication to Zara that maybe Zara didn’t have before’

There followed a tuxedo-inspired suit, a pink bow dress and — the piece de resistance — a sequined, backless dress for the evening celebrations at the Royal Yacht Club in La Coruña.

The 400 guests enjoyed performances by Norah Jones, Jamie Cullum and Coldplay’s Chris Martin. Peter Lindbergh, a legendary fashion photographer captured it all.

Torretta now works in Inditex’s public relations department and the couple, who share a duplex in La Coruña, have a one-year-old daughter. Marta ‘brings a layer of sophistication to Zara that maybe Zara didn’t have before’, says Fabien Baron, independent creative director at the chain.

‘Her father built a business, and [Marta] is building a community that will help the company go to another level.’

Xabier Blanco, a journalist and biographer of Amancio, said of the move: ‘This succession has been in the offing a long time. Inditex is in good hands, Marta has a deep understanding of the business.

‘The father prioritised things like the shop front and Marta right now is a shop window. One day she wears clothing and then the next they are gone.

‘Her succession is another masterstroke by Amancio Ortega, a man who has always known how to do things at the right time.’