HM The Queen - A Tribute to a Fashion Icon
Tributes have been pouring in for the death of HM The Queen Elizabeth II. We have been reminded of her outstanding loyalty and an immense sense of duty, of her kindness and her humility. She was an inspiration to us all in many things, not least fashion. Alongside her wicked sense of humour and love of animals, her sense of fashion is intertwined in her reign as the longest serving monarch of all time.
Read on for highlights over the years and why she has inspired the world with her unwavering style. . .
A Sense of Occasion
The Early Years, unwavering elegance with her beloved Philip, seen wearing long evening dresses adorned with glittering jewels.
The late Queen has always seemed to have a natural sense of what to wear for all occasions. Whilst observing traditions, The Queen added her own sense of style to her outfits, often to put people at ease or to communicate a hidden message of support. Her reign has seen so many changes taking place, both culturally and politically. Her style choices reflected these changes.
And of course, she must have been influenced by the countless dignitaries and celebrities who have graced her doors. In 1956, Queen Elizabeth II met Marilyn Monroe at the Royal Film Performance of The Battle of the River Plate. She has met 13 out of 14 US presidents (and their wives), including USA royalty The Kennedys in 1951 (Jackie was reportedly a little unkind of our Queen). The Queen has met Frank Sinatra (and Nancy); Michelle Obama, The Beatles, Charlie Chaplin, Madonna, Nelson Mandela and all the 007's of Bond fame (to name just a small few of the massive list of celebrities and their partners). So, whether she was wearing neon green at The Trooping of the Colour, or softer chiffon layer cocktail dresses for less formal events, The Queen was always the best dressed but styled with considered elegance.
A Fashion Icon
The love of colour. Pretty in pink, The Queen
Newspapers are filled with photographs of HM with touching glimpses of Royal Life. Our grief as a nation remains deep. As a world community we unite to grieve.
But we find some kind of solace in looking back at her achievements. The Queen was a fashion icon, per se. She was the most photographed woman in the world.
She was famously quoted as joking: If I wore beige, nobody would know who I am."
A Pop of Colour - " If I wore Beige Nobody Would Know Who I Am."
HM The Queen loved a pop of colour, in her later years, she was rarely seen without a matching colour block jacket. Or her famous handbag.
We get the sense The Queen choose her own outfits, with inticate detail. She was reportedly one to put on her own make up, an understated natural style to show off her cheeky smile and warm twinkle of the eye.
"Our role as her dressers is to ensure that Her Majesty is appropriately attired for each occasion," her dressmaker Angela Kelly writes in her book "The Other Side of the Coin" (available to buy at all good bookshops).
"I look for movement with soft light materials, and might even switch on a fan to see how they behave in a breeze"
"As the light changes, or when Her Majesty moves to an interior space, this will have an effect on the colour and texture of the fabric, and this must be taken into account."
Hats Off - Hip, Hip, Hurray!
Hats off to HM The Queen: Her love of accessories is legendary.
The Queen always had a personal touch and was willing to spend time with the people she met. Her outfits were designed to help put people at ease. Her ensembles were also designed to be seen. Imagine standing for hours in a crowd, expecting a glimpse of The Queen, only to find you were unable to spot her. A hat played a crucial role on her visits. At least the crowd could go home and say they saw her at close quarters (even if it was just the hat they saw). We think this is probably the reason The Queen loved her statement hats. Her daughter-in-law Sophie, Countess of Wessex, revealed in the documentary The Queen at 90: "She needs to stand out for people to say, "I saw The Queen'.
"Don't forget when she turns up somewhere, the crowds are two, three, four, sometimes 10, 15 deep, and someone wants to be able to say they saw a bit of the Queen's hat as she went past."
HM the Queen was the most recognisable person in the world and carried with it immense kudos and power. Her love of fashion can be seen when she was seen at the iconic FROW in 2018 with Anna Wintour. We remember the world being brought to a standstill at the sight of the elderly Queen, huddled on the packed FROW at the start of British Fashion Week 2018, glued to the catwalk in front of her. It seemed a genuine fascination, taking great delight in the people in front of her. And she appparently put a nervous Anna at ease by revealing she had been in a fashion show before she was made monarch. (We have recently been asked to remove the image of The Queen with Anna Wintour as unfortunately this imagery is not in the public domain, sadly).
Writing recently in the British Vogue, Wintour revealed this little known fact.
Anna continued in her written tribute this week: "She said it with joy and humor that bounded around the room, lighting it up: An everyday occurrence for Her Majesty, an unforgettable one for the rest of us."
Finally, may we send our thoughts and prayers to HM King Charles III and the whole family at this sad time