As people all over England prepare to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in June, we take a look at the woman who has not just ruled our country, but also left a fashion legacy.
Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne in 1952, but was officially crowned in 1953. With the Jubilee celebrations coming up, your customers are likely to be looking emulate the Queen’s style across the decades.
Her coronation dress was designed by Norman Hartnell and took 16 months to make. It was most important that the Queen would be comfortable in her dress, as the day and ceremony were very long. She personally chose Hartnell and her only specifications for the dress were that it should be made of white satin and be similar to her wedding dress, which Hartnell also designed. As the coronation was televised, it was vital that the Queen’s dress was of the highest quality, as people around the world would be watching. Michael Pick has collated a beautiful coffee-table book about Hartnell’s fashion legacy, which shows many of his designs and can be used for inspiration.
To source similar clothes, Silk Rose by Claire Perkins Couture is a starting point. Perkins was Hartnell’s apprentice and worked on the Queen and Queen Mother’s clothes on several occasions.
Below is a portrait of the Queen and Prince Phillip following her coronation.
Aside from the fashion of the coronation, souvenirs from the day will also be popular with customers looking to create an overall regal feel to their house this Jubilee. This mug encapsulates the opulence and style of the day and is perfect for all drinking occasions.
The Queen chose Hardy Amies as her personal designer in the 1950s and the best examples of his work can be seen in the Queen’s 1969 birthday portraits, taken by Royal photographer Cecil Beaton. Hardy Amies’ designs can still be bought, with many bespoke retailers selling them for low prices.
Throughout the year, the Queen makes state visits to many different parts of Britain and the World. This is the perfect opportunity for the Queen to showcase her style, and this video of her visit to Scotland in 1977 shows her arriving on the train wearing a brown fur coat and a paisley scarf wrapped around her head in a turban-style, which is still popular today and many eBay sellers offer cheap, similar items.
The Queen’s designer for the 1970s was Norman Hartnell’s one-time assistant, Ian Thomas. In designing the Queen’s outfits, he tried to capture the relaxed style of the decade, mainly using chiffon for beautiful, flowing dresses. When he died, Maureen Rose continued to design for Her Royal Highness until the late 1980s.
Today, the Queen’s outfits are mainly designed by her Personal Assistant and Royal Dresser, Angela Kelly. Interestingly, she often uses older materials and pieces from outfits previously worn by the Queen, incorporating them into newer, more up-to-date designs. So, Elizabeth II really is the Queen of vintage!
In 2007, Buckingham Palace held an exhibition of some of the Queen’s most memorable outfits, from state visits and other important events. This video shows the Queen being introduced to the exhibition before it opens to the public and showcases some beautiful dresses belonging to Her Majesty.
Also, aside from the Queen, who can forget Kate Middleton’s beautiful wedding dress? It was designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen whose designs are readily available, for example from net-a-porter.com.
See the March issue of VV Magazine for more items from 1953 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee