10 February 2016

Royal Exhibition of the Day: February 10

It's going to be a banner year for royal style exhibitions in the United Kingdom. Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style will catalog the Queen's style over her 90 years in three separate exhibitions starting on April 21 - her 90th birthday - at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. You can also visit Kensington Palace (while popping in at Wills n' Kate's for tea, as you do) and check out their latest style showcase. Fashion Rules Revisited, opening February 11, includes outfits from Diana, Princess of Wales, as well as the Queen and Princess Margaret.

It's a little too easy to call any given Diana dress "iconic", though her final Mario Testino photoshoot certainly gave this green velvet buttoned dress its place in history. She was said to have capitalized on the jacket styling by ordering a matching jacket made for Charles. The Catherine Walker dress sold for $24,150 at her 1997 Christie's dress auction.
Her love for velvet continued with the Catherine Walker gown on the right, where a black velvet top with red piping sets off a full silk tartan skirt. Unsurprisingly, the gown was originally ordered for dancing at Balmoral and was later worn elsewhere before bringing in $46,000 at the 1997 auction. In the background on the left, you can see an orange Hardy Amies dress worn by the Queen in 1979.

Another notable Catherine Walker on display is this ivory silk crêpe one-shoulder gown decorated in a floral pattern of sequins. Diana wore it in Brazil in 1991, and it's a dress I love more in theory than in execution. (That single full sleeve does make it seem like two dresses worn at the same time.) To the right is a Hardy Amies gown from the Queen and an ivory Bruce Oldfield and peach Catherine Walker from Diana.

The Diana dresses are certainly drawing the press for this exhibition, but what intrigues me the most are the items from Princess Margaret. The dresses and accessories from the Queen's late sister include a scarf hand painted for Margaret by Christian Dior himself. There were few more glamorous than Margaret in her heyday, so you know her wardrobe yields some true treasures.
Right?! The beading alone on this Norman Hartnell gown of Princess Margaret's is to die for. Would I still swoon if someone wore this today? Oh...I think it's a safe bet.

For more sneak peeks at Fashion Rules Revisited, see this fantastic Vogue article and gallery, or photos at the Daily Mail.

Photos: via Getty Images