Designer Diaries – Queen Silvia and Yuki

A sharp-eyed Baguette noticed that Queen Silvia’s clothes are becoming more structured as of late, and less sequiny. This led to a discussion of doing a fashion retrospective of the long-serving Queen’s design evolution. We have that post on deck, but in the meantime we need to take a look at an interesting fashion detour. Yes, Silvia loves her feminine and conventional designs, but there is on avant-garde designer she’s worn a lot, and re-worn a lot, too.

Gnyuki Torimaru was born in Japan in 1937. Like many designers we have reviewed in this space, he didn’t start off in fashion. He studied architecture before moving to England to attend the London College of Fashion. He graduated in 1966 and then worked for Hartnell and Pierre Cardin before launching his own collection in 1972. He has designed for a range of price points, from affordable lines to couture.

He became fairly well-known after designing clothes for Princess Diana’s high profile 1986 visit to Japan. He used a new pleated fabric and technique, which has shown up over and over again since that era. His pieces are quite identifiable, since he is known for creating flowing sculptural garments.

If that sounds like an oxymoron, it is a bit. He is known for starting his pieces by cutting in a circle and then draping them over the form to allow for flow. This results in a seamless garment with a lot of volume. He is also known for bright and brilliant color. Given that these are not classic, subdued, pieces, it’s amazing how often Queen Silvia repeats them.

Last week, Queen Silvia attended the Birgit Nilsson Prize ceremony wearing a repeated purple Yuki design, a purple gown with draped sleeves and a deep v-neckline. She filled that space with a waterfall of necklaces (possibly amethyst, but hard to tell).

She previously wore this gown on October 2017 for the Representation Dinner, where it was paired with another fabulous necklace.

This gown was also worn for a tiara event (which one, I have not been able to identify), where the deep purple color worked well with her sash and order. That neckline accomodated Queen Josephine’s Diamond Stomacher necklace (which requires a lot of real estate).

The Queen wore a white pleated Yuki gown at the 2006 Nobel ceremony. This gown also saw state visit duty during the trip to Thailand in 2003. I feel this gown, while certainly visible and grand in it’s own way, does not allow for the wearing of grand necklaces quite as well.

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Not all of the Yuki designs include pleats, but they definitely include a lot of fabric. The Queen wore this draped red number for the 2007 Nobel ceremonies. (It has been repeated also, although I couldn’t find any good photos of it).

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We are back to pleats for the 2011 Spring Childhood Gala. This is not the most flattering photo of this dress (by far) however you can see it in motion here. We again have a bright color and a deep v-neck.

We are back to no pleats, just flow, for Silvia’s appearance at the 2015 Polar Music Prize.

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We mentioned Diana at the beginning of this post. Since she’s the most famous Yuki wearer, it’s worth looking at her bright blue gown from the trip to Japan in 1996. Although the dress caused a lot of fashion buzz at the time, Diana did not quite “take” to Yuki as Silvia has. This dress was part of her famous Christie’s dress auction. It was Lot 68, with the description: ‘A Long, Pleated Fortuny-Style Formal Dinner Dress in Royal Blue by Yuki.’

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What are your thoughts on Yuki's designs?