mercoledì 25 dicembre 2013

Royal Family Celebrate Christmas in Norfolk

This morning the British Royal Family attended the traditional Christmas Day service at St. Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham estate.

Via Google Maps
The perfect chance for us royal watchers to take a peek at the Royals' outfit choices - and of course this year the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with baby Prince George joined the rest of the Royal Family in celebrating Christmas at Sandringham (more on last year's Christmas festivities can be found here).

So, without further ado, let's have a look at what Kate (and everyone else!) wore.

Early this morning, the Royal Family gathered to take communion. Below we see the Princess Royal, the Duchess of Cambridge and the Queen (in a rare public appearance wearing a fur coat).

The Duchess was wearing the same cream wool coat she debuted earlier this year at the wedding of Mark Tomlinson and Laura Bechtolsheimer in Arosa, Switzerland and a tartan shawl in festive shades of red and green.

The Duchess and the Queen can be seen greeting each other with a kiss while Prince Harry looks on. Awww!

Later in the day and after a change of clothes, the Royal Family was back at the church for the 11 a.m. service conducted by the rector of Sandringham, Jonathan Riviere.

The Queen was in a burnt orange wool coat by Stewart Parvin, black fur hat with matching black fur-trimmed gloves and one of Queen Victoria's bow brooches (made by Garrard & Co. in 1858 as a set of three) to add sparkle.



The Duchess of Cambridge wore a forest green felt hat by Gina Foster and repeated her Alexander McQueen Black Watch tartan coat dress, first seen on a visit to her old school, St. Andrew's Pangbourne, in November last year. She was also wearing her Kiki McDonough green amethyst earrings (believed to be a 2011 Christmas present from Prince William) and a pair of black gloves with bow.




Zara Phillips (seen above with Princess Eugenie) was also in attendance, baby bump warmly wrapped up in a red coat with matching feathered hat.

Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie of York.
Afterwards, at 3 p.m., it was time for the Christmas message from the Queen, a tradition that dates back from the times of her grandfather, King George V, who broadcast the first Christmas speech in 1932.
The Queen addressed the nation from the Blue Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace, wearing the same primrose yellow dress by Angela Kelly she wore at the wedding of William and Kate in 2011 and the flower basket brooch which was a present from her own parents on the birth of Prince Charles in 1948. I adore the fact that the Christmas tree behind her was decorated with baubles in matching shades of blue and gold!
Hope: The Queen has spoken about Prince George in her Christmas broadcast, and said the birth of a baby allows people to think about the future with renewed 'happiness and hope'
On the table beside her, framed photos of her parents, the Queen Mother and King George VI, and the iconic picture showing four generations of the Royal Family taken after Prince George's christening on 22 October 2013.
Behind the scenes, never seen before footage filmed at the christening photo shoot was included in the Christmas message; two clips are shown below:
Posing up: As the behind-the-scenes footage was shown, a voice, thought to be Mr Bell, could be heard saying 'One, two, three'
Behind the scenes: Never before seen footage of the christening photograph was shown during the Queen's message
(All photos from the Daily Mail unless otherwise stated; a transcript of the Queen's Christmas speech can be found here; link to the video on YouTube's Royal Channel can be found here).

lunedì 23 dicembre 2013

"Fashion Rules" Exhibition at Kensington Palace - Part II, Princess Margaret's Dresses

Here comes Part II of my post series about the the "Fashion Rules" exhibition at Kensington Palace, featuring dresses worn by the Queen, Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales (here you can have a look at the previous post, featuring the Queen's gowns).

Evening dress of cream silk satin with beaded embroidery by an unknown designer, 1951.
A glamourous party frock, with a rather risqué, for the times, plunging neckline and halter-neck straps, which marked a departure from the demure style traditionally favoured by memeber of the royal family.

Princess Margaret wearing the gown at a film premiere in London, 1951. Photo

Day dress of grey lace and tulle with matching bolero by Norman Hartnell, 1952.
This is really beautiful seen in person, the photo doesn't do it justice, and one of Princess Margaret's favourite dresses and worn on a number of occasions, including when posing for an official portrait by Dorothy Wilding in 1953, as seen below. 

Evening dress of silk gazar with beaded embroidery by Norman Hartnell, 1977.
Worn by the Princess at the Silver Jubilee celebrations and to present a music award to pop group ABBA, as seen below.


Silk caftan and turban by Carl Tomas, 1976.
Fashioned from luxurious Indian sari silk, this ensamble was designed especially for a fancy dress party on the Caribbean island of Mustique, where the Princess had a private residence, and reflects the growing popularity of the "ethnic" trend during the 1970s. The Princess wore the ensamble both with and without the jewelled turban, as shown in the photos above.


Fur coat by Marc Bohan for Christian Dior, circa 1960s.
Fur coats like this wear in fashion during the 1960s and 1970s, and Princess Margaret owned several of a similar design.

Day dress with antique needle lace panel, by an unknown designer, circa 1960s.
This dress has a short hemline, in keeping with the 1960s fashion for miniskirts, and is embellished with exquisite Belgian antique lace, dating between 1870 and 1890; together these elements contribute to creating a whimsical feel echoing the romantic trend popular in the 1960s and 1970s.
To be continued with Princess Diana's dresses...

venerdì 1 novembre 2013

"Fashion Rules" Exhibition at Kensington Palace - Part I, The Queen's Dresses

I spent a few days in London earlier this month, as a birthday treat, and of course while I was there I took the opportunity to visit the "Fashion Rules" exhibition at Kensington Palace, featuring dresses worn by the Queen, Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales, so here's a (long overdue) blog post about this visit!

Described on the Palace's webiste as "a feast for the eyes and a nostalgic glance back at recent decades", the exhibition features exquisite gowns from the early 1950s to the late 1980s, some very rarely seen in recent years.

As photography was allowed throughout the Palace and the exhibition, here's a selection of my personal favourites among the dresses on show, starting from the very beginning, dresses worn by the Queen from the early 1950s through to the late 1970s.

Norman Hartnell, 1963.
A formal gown of oyster-coloured duchesse satin embroidered with pearls, beads, diamanté and sequins in a striking diamond pattern, with bugle beads forming tassel drops, alternately in silver and gold. Worn by HM The Queen for the opening of the New Zealand Parliament, during a Commonwealth visit in 1963.
Hardy Amies, 1957.
Evening gown of grey satin, with gradated beading in an intricate fern motif.
Worn by HM The Queen for a dinner at the German Embassy in London in 1958, as seen below, when she accessorised it with the impressive Dagmar necklace, once belonging to Queen Alexandra.
Hardy Amies, 1959.
Dinner gown in grey silk organza, my personal favourite among the Queen's gowns present at the exhibition. Worn by HM The Queen in Nova Scotia, during a Commonwealth visit to Canada in 1959, it is embroidered throughout with pink silk, spangles and bugle beads in a mayflower motif, the provincial flower of Nova Scotia.

In the background, evening gown of white and emerald green silk duchesse satin, Norman Hartnell, 1961.
The dress has a theatrical waterfall train and is plain on the front in order to display clearly the Queen's insignia of the Order of Pakistan worn across the chest. Green and white are the national colours of Pakistan and the dress was worn by the Queen at a banquet hosted by President Ayub Kahn of Pakistan, on the first day of a six-week tour of Pakistan and India in 1961.

Norman Hartnell, early 1950s.
Apricot silk satin and lace evening gown, embellished with gold thread.
The lace design is influenced by the traditional Carrickmacross lace technique which originated in Ireland in the 1820s and is similar to the technique used on the wedding veil of the Duchess of Cambridge. Worn by HM The Queen in the early 1950s.

Norman Hartnell, 1972.
Matching silk dress and coat with fur trim.
Worn by HM The Queen for the silver wedding anniversary thanksgiving service at Westminster Abbey, 1972, and for several other formal occasions.

Ian Thomas, 1976.
Dinner dress of silk chiffon with beaded embroidery and elongated sleeves which reach to the floor.
Worn by HM The Queen during a state visit to the USA in 1976

giovedì 12 settembre 2013

Jacqueline Kennedy's wedding dresses

Apologies for the long radio silence!
It's been quite a while, but first the holidays, than a couple of very stressful week while I got masses of paperwork ready for my upcoming bar examination, have prevented me from updating regularly.

But here I am, back again with a brand new post on Jackie and John Fitzgerald Kennedy's wedding, exactly 60 years ago to this day, 12 September 1953.

Theirs was the original "wedding of century", pre-Charles and Diana, pre-Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier, just good old 1950s glamour.

60 anni fa le nozze di John e Jackie Kennedy

Jacqueline's wedding dress has gained iconic status over the years and has always been a particular favourite of mine, so here is a more-in depth look at it.
Made by African American dressmaker Ann Lowe, it had a traditional 1950s ballgown silhouette, with a full skirt and an off-the-shoulder, portrait-neckline bodice.
Ann Lowe in her New York atelier, Ebony magazine, December 1965.

The whole creation was made of 50 yards of ivory silk taffeta; the skirt was embellished with artificial mini orange blossoms. The lace veil was a family heirloom, having belonged to the bride's grandmother, as was her pearl necklace. The diamond leaf-shaped brooch she wore pinned to her right breast was a gift from her parents, while her diamond bracelet was a wedding gift from the groom as, of course, was her emerald and diamonds engagement ring.
Ritratto di Jacqueline Bouvier in Kennedy sposa

The wedding bouquet was made up of orchids, waxflowers, and miniature gardenias in shades of white and pink (to complement the colour scheme, as the ten bridesmaids wore pink silk dresses, made by Ann Lowe's studio as well).
A line-up of the bride and bridesmaids.
The bridesmaids dresses were pink silk faille with red silk sashes.
The dress, along with the bridesmaid's dresses, suffered a horrible mishap just ten days before the wedding, when it was damaged beyond repair in a flooding that occurred at Ann Lowe's New York studio. Luckily, working round the clock just before the wedding day, Miss Lowe and her staff were able to replicate all the dresses - and so the world could see Jackie in all her fairy-tale princess glory and start, right then, to fall in love with the Kennedy myth, I suppose!
A detail of the antique lace veil.
It was, reportedly, not one of Jackie's favourite dresses (she would have preferred, apparently, a more streamlined silhouette and a simpler design, but she deferred to the Kennedy family's wishes for a more traditional wedding gown), but in my opinion it was way more beautiful than the Valentino creation she wore to her second wedding, on 20 October 1968 to Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis.
This was a relatively simple ivory silk gown, with a pleated, on-the-knee skirt and a rather austere, high-necked top with lace inserts and a row of self-covered buttons adorning the back.
Historic: Jackie Onassis wedding dress from 1968 can also be viewed
Details can be seen more clearly in this photos of the dress from the 2012 exhibition "Valentino: Master of Couture" at Somerset House in London (although quite why the exhibition curators choose to complete the dummy with a platinum blonde wig is beyond me!).
So, leave a comment below and tell me: which dress is your favourite, the 1953 one or the 1968 one?
Historic: Jackie Onassis wedding dress from 1968 can also be viewed