As you know if you followed me and Heather on a variety of social media during our recent Visit Britain trip, we saw two exhibits of royal fashion while we were in the UK, and I promised a full report. In short: Both were terrific. And both exhibits really delve into topics we discuss here a lot — namely, why certain gowns are chosen for certain events, and the high level of wardrobe planning that goes into dressing someone in the public eye.
When we were in Scotland, we saw the newest of the two, “Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style From the Queen’s Wardrobe.” It’s a beautifully curated three-room experience that displays everything from ball gowns to suits to hats, along with photos from when The Queen wore the outfits. What’s more, it’s part of a special trio of similarly themed exhibits that we were told do not repeat each other, and will all be on for a limited time at different points of the year and at different royal residences, with only a short period of overlap in which you could see all three. So PLAN ACCORDINGLY, because it’s worth it, and here are the logistical details to juggle:
Constituting the largest collective display of The Queen’s dress ever mounted, the first exhibition will open at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh for Her Majesty’s birthday on 21 April 2016 until 16 October 2016. The second, and largest exhibition will be at the Summer Opening of the State Rooms, Buckingham Palace, from 23 July to 2 October 2016 and the third will open at Windsor Castle from 17 September 2016 to 8 January 2017.
Apparently the Buckingham Palace exhibit will have over 100 looks (!!), so essentially I demand that at least one of you go to that one and the Windsor one and report back. We have a few shots of what we saw in Edinburgh, courtesy of their press office, and I have to stress that it really is a fabulous sight to behold.
Earlier in the week, we saw “Fashion Rules” at Kensington Palace, which has selections from Princess Diana’s and Princess Margaret’s wardrobes, as well as other items from the Queen’s, and it is ALSO excellent. That one has been on for a while — I think it is at least semi-permanent — but it seems that they cycle items in and out, since there were looks there that Heather didn’t see when she’d visited a few years ago. They allow photos, and I took many, which I bring to you today. Further, both that and the new Royal Collection exhibit feature original fashion drawings (such as the image that opens this slideshow), and those are so awesome. I want to have some of them framed to hang in my house. They’re amazing pieces of art, and thank goodness someone thought to keep them.
While I’ve got you here, we also saw the History of Undercrackers Exhibit at the V&A, which was also very good. We went the day that I was in my most excruciating foot pain, and there was something poetic about the fact that I kept noting to Heather how extremely uncomfortable corsets looked whilst I was unable to walk thanks to choosing to wear attractive but heeled boots that day. (In my defense, those shoes are usually very comfortable, but we’d taken like 30,000 steps the day before and my feet were in outright rebellion like my American forebears.)
[Photos: Royal Collection Trust, Jessica Morgan]