According to her dresser and personal assistant Angela Kelly, the Queen rarely wore clothing publicly more than three times, and items were spaced as to not appear too frequently. Nevertheless, the Queen was a thrifty soul at heart, and re-wearing and re-using were not unknown to her. We’ll take a look at a famous re-wear today, but if you are interested in other repeated outfits, Vogue has an excellent article here.
One of the more well known rewears of the last few years was this famous Norman Hartnell gown, originally designed for a 1961 state dinner in Rome. The dress was constructed of Peau De Soie taffeta and organza, with Duchess satin trim and diamanté embellishment. It featured wide-strap sleeves, a defined waistlline, and a bubble hem. The Queen added a fur wrap and the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara.
The dress also proved surprisingly versatile. The Queen “dressed down” and paired it with the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara – but no orders or sashes – to wear to the Lawrence of Arabia premiere.
The Queen again made it more regal during the State Opening of Parliament. The Imperial State Crown, the Parliament Robe of State, and the grand collar of the Order of the Garter were all in evidence. Note the waist and remember that the Queen gave birth to her fourth child between the third and fourth outings: bow down and appreciate that.
You tell me: does the hem appears to have been altered for this outing? It would make sense, given that there was enough going on – decoratively speaking – already. Reducing visual clutter would be a wise move. However, the only photos I find are inconclusive and the question is open.
Of course, the gown is most recently known as the wedding dress of Princess Beatrice. It was altered by Angela Kelly’s team to add some sleeves (of the puffed variety!) and it appears even more work was done around the hemline – a band of fabric looks to have been added to accomodate the height difference. The Princess added to this sweet homage to her grandmother by wearing the same tiara young Princess Elizabeth did to her own wedding.
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