Queen Elizabeth IIBritain’s longest-reigning monarch, who died on Thursday, remained adamant mother of her political leanings throughout her time on the throne, as her role in her country’s constitutional monarchy was regulated. However, an indelible part of her legacy – along with her unwavering dedication to her country, tradition and the symbolism of the crown – is to create the prototype for a kind of power women’s clothing. only in the second half of the 20th century.
“I must be seen to be believed,” queen say famousand since the moment she became a sovereign in 1952, at the age of 25, she has dressed herself for that purpose.
Due to being limited, for the most part, to funs and pantomimes (also participating in about 300 public events a year), she understands deeply that visuals can speak anyway. mass – and that she not only dressed her people but also for posterity. More than the sparkly evening gowns she wore as a young queen, a bit dusty and post-World War II fairy glamor but one piece with pre-existing royal fantasies. That was her only contribution. Her skill is to create a new ground while convincing the world that she is taking her job seriously, keeping the tradition alive.
She is a seasoned and dedicated fashion diplomat, paving the way for Michelle Obama and Duchess of Cambridge (among other women whose roles require proficiency in political semiotics) to work with designers and brands to open the arms of friendship across borders. She has used her position to illuminate the local industry before Brigitte Macron or Jill Biden.
And she’s a master of dressing for the media: initiating (and spreading) the habit of wearing a light-colored suit as a way to blend in with the establishment and stand out from the crowd, thus providing provides a strategic template for characters like Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel and Nancy Pelosi.
Long before Kim Kardashian showed up at the Met gala 2021 in a full-length black and jumpsuit, emphasizing the fact that she’s already so ubiquitous in popular culture that she’s recognizable only simply by her outline, the queen, a small woman in a hat with a handbag ripped from her arm by a crook, recognizable only by her silhouette. That’s why no matter which actress is playing Her Majesty (Claire Foy, Olivia Colman, Helen Mirren, Emma Thompson, Imelda Staunton), she can easily see the part.
Although Elizabeth has gone through many trends as prime minister (15) and president of the United States (14), including the eras of mods, punks, Teddy Boys and Sloane Rangers, she has never followed. they. She set it for herself. And though her style is often described as discreet, she’s way ahead of the curve in her approach.
The consistency of her dress is a sign of credibility in the face of global change, a physical manifestation of her work as a living history icon and a tool of recognition. used with predictable accuracy. After all, she learned to appreciate the use of uniforms very early, when she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1945.
Her strategy lab started in 1953 with her coronation robe, an ivory satin style embroidered with the kingdom’s selection of flora – including English rose, Scottish thistle, Welsh leek, Irish shamrocks, Canadian maple leaf, New Zealand silver fern, rice Pakistani noodles, Australian bellflowers and South African protea – the beginning of what would be decades of diplomatic symbolism. So much so that Daniel Conway, a lecturer in politics and international relations at the University of Westminster, told CBC in 2016 that it had become an important part of “British foreign policy.”
The Queen wore a green and white maple leaf dress at a state dinner in Ottawa in 1957; a white dress decorated with orange California poppies for a Hollywood dinner with Ronald and Nancy Reagan in 1983; A pink dress embroidered with peony, China’s national flower, ate with Deng Xiaoping in 1986. She arrived in Dublin in 2011 in a bright green dress and coat when she became the first British monarch. first visit to the Republic of Ireland.
But her intentions are not limited to her trips abroad; She is also acutely aware of her place on the domestic agenda.
She decided on her tone-on-tone look from hats to suits or dresses and coats to two-inch pumps, to make her subject easily recognizable, and she faithful to it for many years, a lighthouse in periwinkles, roses, jade, lilac and grapes. “I can never wear beige because no one will know who I am,” she once admitted Robert Hardman, royal biographer. On her 90th birthday, her lime green suit was so bright it got its own hashtag: # neonat90. Indeed, her use of color inspired Sali Hughes’ book, “Our Rainbow Queen,” one of at least seven books on the queen’s style. (Repetition, when necessary also acts as armor against the arrows and arrows of public opinion.)
Norman Hartnell (who made the queen’s wedding gown and coronation) and Hardy Amies were her original local tailors, followed in recent years by Stewart Parvin and Angela Kelly, high-dressing experts her senior for more than two decades (and author of two books on royal style). The queen’s famous boxy handbags (she has more than 200) are from Launer London, which she gave royal orders to in 1968; Her cotton shirts are from Grosvenor Shirts Ltd. on Jermyn Street.
Weekends and holidays at Balmoral in Scotland have allowed her to shine with Scottish tartan tops and English tweed. In 2018, she sat in the front row at London Fashion Week to open Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Designwas given to a young designer, thus extending her patronage far beyond what she could wear on her own.
Her political savvy extends to recycling the garments and fabrics already in her wardrobe that have since become part of the celebrity sustainability drive. And, in response to the changing public sentiment, she elected in 2019 to Don’t wear real fur (unless it’s already in her closet).
That she did all this while somehow being seen as unfashionable, using the security of frugal and boring conformity to disguise her choices. how tactical he is, a master at going in the wrong direction. And as those gowns and suits move from her wardrobe into museums and royal archives, to be preserved for future study, they should be remembered not only as relics of a dynasty, but also as instruments of a different, special kind of modern reality.