Overcast

Winnipeg, MB

14°c Overcast

Full Forecast

Europe

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Kensington Palace displays glamorous royal wardrobe from Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret, Princess Diana

Posted: 09/14/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

Advertisement

  • Print

LONDON -- Before Kate Middleton, other members of the royal family were fashion trendsetters: Queen Elizabeth II, her sometimes risque sister Margaret, and the glamorous Princess Diana.

The couture on display in a new exhibit at Kensington Palace shows that each, in her way, made a style statement in Britain and beyond.

Princess Margaret -- the queen's younger sister -- dressed in some of the boldest styles of the day and was looked up to as one of fashion's leading ladies. And Diana practically embodied the '80s style and was scrutinized for what she wore wherever she went.

"We're looking at how the three women dressed to the trends and how they adapted those rules to the rules of royal dressing," said Cassie Davies-Strodder, the exhibition's curator.

The show, which opens Thursday, features 21 couture dresses from the three royals' wardrobes, ranging from regal silk gowns worn by a young queen in the 1950s to the sparkly and sequined numbers Diana sported in the 1980s and 90s.

While Diana's gowns are likely the biggest draw for many visitors, Davies-Strodder said she was nowhere near as adventurous in her style as the fun-loving Margaret, who threw famous parties and mixed with pop stars like The Beatles. The princess, who died in 2002, was a trendsetter in the Swinging London scene of the 1960s and '70s.

"She wasn't the monarch, so she had greater freedom to follow changing fashions more closely. She was really part of the chic London set at the time, and what she wore was news," she said.

Among the outfits worn by Margaret on show was a dramatic long kaftan and turban set, reflecting the "ethnic dressing" trend of the '70s, worn at a party on the Caribbean island of Mustique in 1976. Another eye-catching display was a glamorous, jeweled ball gown with a Marilyn Monroe-style halter neckline worn in 1951.

"It's very Hollywood and quite risque -- it was quite shocking at the time, especially because she was also seen smoking a cigarette," Davies-Strodder added.

The full-length gowns worn by the queen when she was in her 30s, shown in adjacent rooms at the palace, were traditional and demure in contrast.

All featured a feminine nipped-in waist and were designed in pale creamy shades of peach, cream or grey -- royal designers preferred light-colored clothes because they show up better in a large crowd and on black and white television, Davies-Strodder said. The dresses also illustrated what "diplomatic dressing" was all about. For a tour of Pakistan the queen wore a gown in the country's national colours of green and white, and when she visited Canada she sported a dress embroidered with mayflowers, the provincial flower of Nova Scotia.

A final room featured five dresses worn by Diana that showcased her "Dynasty Di" days: All big padded shoulders, dropped waist, lots of sparkles and high drama. There was a spectacular blue velvet sequined dress with a flirty, flouncy skirt and an oversized bow, and a sleeker white one-shouldered column gown that showed how Diana progressed toward a more sophisticated look in the 1990s.

And what about Kate -- how will her style be seen 50 years on?

Davies-Strodder was diplomatic in her reply. "All the reporters ask me this. I would say you need some perspective, say 25 years, to know that," she said.

The show, called "Fashion Rules," will be displayed at Kensington Palace for two years.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 14, 2013 E11

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.