29 July 2016

Royal Exhibition of the Day: July 29

Buckingham Palace just threw open their doors for summer tours, and this year's special exhibition is so perfectly tailored to this blog, I could cry.

Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen's Wardrobe is really an exhibit in three parts. The first opened at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in April, the second is open now through October 2 at Buckingham Palace, and the third opens at Windsor Castle in September. Between the three, more than 150 outfits from the Queen's wardrobe will be displayed.

Buckingham Palace has the Queen's two most famous outfits, her 1947 wedding gown and her 1953 coronation gown. Both highlights of Norman Hartnell's distinguished couture career and true showcases for British craftsmanship, they're on display together for the first time. (That Botticelli-inspired embroidery on her wedding gown's sheer train never gets old. It's so dreamy.)

I'd like a number on the tonnage of beads and other sparkly bits on display here, because no one does embellishment quite like Her Maj in the evening. The exhibit showcases the skill required to make these outfits as well as the thought and diplomacy behind them (above, blue and white with maple leaves for Canada, yellow with wattle sprigs for Australia, blue with Olympic ring-esque details for Montreal in 1976). The outfits span all the decades of the Queen's life, right up until today; above, you can spot the yellow outfit she wore for her 90th birthday service this year and the radioactive green she busted out at this year's Trooping the Colour.

There's a true mix of stuff on display here: the family christening gown, the dresses worn by Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret at their parent's coronation, military uniforms, jubilee outfits, outfits worn to family occasions, and more. Even the dapper Duke of Edinburgh gets a nod - one of his suits is included! (Above, a rousing game of match the outfit to the family wedding.)

Check in at the Jewel Vault in the coming weeks for flashbacks showcasing some of these special outfits and the events to which they were worn. I also recommend checking out the Royal Collection Trust's Instagram, where they've been posting fascinating close ups and videos. And if you're going - or have already been! - to these exhibitions, do tell: What are you most looking forward to seeing?