venerdì 1 novembre 2013

"Fashion Rules" Exhibition at Kensington Palace - Part I, The Queen's Dresses

I spent a few days in London earlier this month, as a birthday treat, and of course while I was there I took the opportunity to visit the "Fashion Rules" exhibition at Kensington Palace, featuring dresses worn by the Queen, Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales, so here's a (long overdue) blog post about this visit!

Described on the Palace's webiste as "a feast for the eyes and a nostalgic glance back at recent decades", the exhibition features exquisite gowns from the early 1950s to the late 1980s, some very rarely seen in recent years.

As photography was allowed throughout the Palace and the exhibition, here's a selection of my personal favourites among the dresses on show, starting from the very beginning, dresses worn by the Queen from the early 1950s through to the late 1970s.

Norman Hartnell, 1963.
A formal gown of oyster-coloured duchesse satin embroidered with pearls, beads, diamanté and sequins in a striking diamond pattern, with bugle beads forming tassel drops, alternately in silver and gold. Worn by HM The Queen for the opening of the New Zealand Parliament, during a Commonwealth visit in 1963.
Hardy Amies, 1957.
Evening gown of grey satin, with gradated beading in an intricate fern motif.
Worn by HM The Queen for a dinner at the German Embassy in London in 1958, as seen below, when she accessorised it with the impressive Dagmar necklace, once belonging to Queen Alexandra.
Hardy Amies, 1959.
Dinner gown in grey silk organza, my personal favourite among the Queen's gowns present at the exhibition. Worn by HM The Queen in Nova Scotia, during a Commonwealth visit to Canada in 1959, it is embroidered throughout with pink silk, spangles and bugle beads in a mayflower motif, the provincial flower of Nova Scotia.

In the background, evening gown of white and emerald green silk duchesse satin, Norman Hartnell, 1961.
The dress has a theatrical waterfall train and is plain on the front in order to display clearly the Queen's insignia of the Order of Pakistan worn across the chest. Green and white are the national colours of Pakistan and the dress was worn by the Queen at a banquet hosted by President Ayub Kahn of Pakistan, on the first day of a six-week tour of Pakistan and India in 1961.

Norman Hartnell, early 1950s.
Apricot silk satin and lace evening gown, embellished with gold thread.
The lace design is influenced by the traditional Carrickmacross lace technique which originated in Ireland in the 1820s and is similar to the technique used on the wedding veil of the Duchess of Cambridge. Worn by HM The Queen in the early 1950s.

Norman Hartnell, 1972.
Matching silk dress and coat with fur trim.
Worn by HM The Queen for the silver wedding anniversary thanksgiving service at Westminster Abbey, 1972, and for several other formal occasions.

Ian Thomas, 1976.
Dinner dress of silk chiffon with beaded embroidery and elongated sleeves which reach to the floor.
Worn by HM The Queen during a state visit to the USA in 1976