Do you think Kate Middleton’s the first to rock it in the royal fashion stakes? Think again! Even Queen Victoria’s haute happenings would hit the newsstands the very next day. So who are the other reigning style queens in fashion history? We spoke exclusively to Dierdre Murphy, Collections Curator at the Royal Ceremonial Dress Archive at Kensington Palace (aka the soon-to-be home to Kate and Wills) to uncover just who the other top ranked regalistas are…
“She was quite radical for her time.” Dierdre told us of Queen Alexandra of Denmark’s turn of the century taste, “In the 1910s she was quite a trend setter and the media wrote a great deal about her.” After wearing high-necked pearl chokers to cover up a childhood scar Kind Edward VII’s wife kicked-off a really big jewellery trend that society ladies still followed for years and years.
“I think in the same way that you see the Duchess of Cambridge wearing high street brands and very glam eveningwear the Princess of Wales seemed in many instances to be accessible to everyone.” Dierdre explained, “That famous sheep jumper she wore was from a reasonably affordable label and as soon as everyone saw the photograph they all went out and bought the same one.” Hmmm sounds familiar! “Her colourful suits and hats were really wonderful, too. And the early ‘90s sleek evening gowns by Catherine Walker were especially good. No doubt, everybody wanted to look like her!”
From Margaret’s signature cigarette holder to gracing the cover of Time Magazine, she’s always been seen as the cooler sibling to Queen Elizabeth II. “Women definitely wanted to dress like Princess Margaret.” Dierdre told us, “She didn’t have the same difficult restrictions on her wardrobe and she had quite a different style to many other royals. She always wore those enormous Dior couture ball gowns in the 1950s – who wouldn’t want to wear something like that?” Too true.
You may not be that familiar with Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent and wife of Prince George, but during the 1930s she’s was quite the style icon. Dierdre told us, “She wore these amazingly glamorous 1930s evening gowns and with her statuesque figure and short finger-waved hairstyle, she was the absolute picture of the decade.” And a perfect influence for the current jazz trend this spring/summer!