Diamond Jubilee Inspiration- Collected Galleries

This week’s challenge at Sew Weekly left me drawing a blank at first.  “Diamond Jubilee? What can I possibly sew for that?” I thought.  The challenge is pretty broad, though- anything a British royal has worn is fair game.  If only my Lobster Dress was closer to completion…

I don’t tend to follow the Royal Family, but I do find them more enchanting than regular celebrities.  (After all, they have pageants, horsemen, Tudor-capped guards and arcane social protocol.)  While I searched for design inspiration for the challenge, I became completely distracted reading about the Queen- first about her fashion and style, and also by her life.  Queen Elizabeth is a Great Lady, in the truest sense of the word “lady.”  I can’t quite grasp the number of people in power this woman has met over the course of her reign- this apparently soft, gentle woman has met everyone.

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And she looked amazing doing it.  In reading about the Queen, her position and her clothing, I ran across several stunning galleries and images which I’ll share here.  This collage is one of my favorites- The Queen dresses impeccably, always tasteful but she doesn’t wear beige, and seldom wears pastels.  She wears colors to stand out from the crowd.

click for source

The Queen was never exactly a trendsetter- though in her younger years she was as chic as she is tasteful.  Dior conceived this dress as part of the New Look in 1947.  It’s my favorite in the Dress for the Occasion gallery (check it out, you can zoom in on the frocks!).

click for source

If you can keep your hat when all about you   

    Are losing theirs…

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,  

Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch…

Then you’ll be a Queen.

Click to view The Guardian’s gallery on 60 years of Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth’s style lives beyond fashion, beyond chic.   The protocol of her position governs her wardrobe choices, including her old-fashioned affinity for hats.  Check out Vanity Fair for a beautiful gallery on the Queen’s hats through the decades.

Click for another large, beautiful gallery of the Queen

Which rules, what protocol?  According to Vogue:

It has often been said that the Queen dresses for the practicalities of her role: Her hems are weighed down so they don’t blow up; her skirts must be long enough for dignity sitting on a podium or descending airplane steps; her fabrics mustn’t crease; her colors must stand out in a crowd; and her hats must show her face. And yet, the messages that accompany the outfits are much more interesting than that, and particularly so on state visits. On these occasions, there is an international relations mission to be accomplished. And here the wardrobe plays a vital part.

How fascinating, how practical!  I suppose this means no linen suits for the Queen- but I can’t imagine she’d wear polyester, either…
Silk boucle woven with ribbon doesn’t wrinkle, though- and I bet the pure silver and gold embroidered dots help!  The Queen wore this to the Diamond Jubilee pageant- 1,000 ships, barges and boats parading up the Thames in her honor.  My mind says “what a waste of money” and my heart says “what a lovely way to honor this wise old woman.”
The Queen’s Granddaughter-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge, also appears to be taking the royal protocol for dress and finding her own style.  She wore this customized McQueen frock to the river pageant.  I wonder if her hems are weighted, too?  At any rate, the modest, thrifty and chic young princess seems to slip naturally into the Queen’s sartorial shadow despite her middle-class roots.
And that’s where I picked up my Challenge inspiration- that dress on the Duchess.  As much as I loved learning more about Queen Elizabeth’s dresses and reign, I’m drawn to this v-neck lace yoke.
I’m working with cotton-linen jersey, silk organza and delicious, luxe cotton guipure lace.  I’m a little late completing this week’s challenge, but I’m thrilled to be working with this lace- it has sat in my cupboard for far too long.  I’d take it out once in a while, finger the design and put it back for fear of “hurting” it.  It’s not a wedding dress, it’s rather more wearable.
What’s your favorite Queen look?  We’re all from different places on the globe- tell me, is this Jubilee business all over the news and tv?  Or is it quieter?

19 comments

  1. oooh that black Dior dress is delicious. It looks like it would be so flattering as well! I love the fabrics you’ve chosen too – can’t wait to see them made up!

    • I know! I keep wanting to make something two toned like that- darker in the middle, paler on the outside.

      Thanks… I’m having fun playing with them. Almost-comparable-to-wedding-dress fun because of the organza and lace, but it’s bite sized.

  2. I’ve seen the Queen twice (like from 2 feet away) and can remember her being tiny, and very ‘put together’ with matching accessories and of course, hat, so that’s how I think of a Royal outfit. Katherine Windsor has definately chosen an excellent style/role model! And I for one have never seen so much red, white and blue. X

    • Oh cool. :) I’m sure she has quite a presence… I found quite a few articles on the Catherine/Queen relationship and how close they are, but you never can tell… :)

      Did you go to the pageant? I would have if I were there.. I love a good crowd in the streets and some pageantry…

  3. You can only imagine what her closet looks like as she never throws anything away. Her daughter Anne is the same, she has been recycling her own clothes for decades. I’d love to see the hats up close and of course the crowns! I lived in the UK for 8 years with my British husband but this sort of pageantry didn’t occur. He has been on the Royal yacht for a business event to meet the Queen and Prince and one of his colleagues went into the royal loo to steal a piece of toilet paper as a souvenir.

    • I like that- not throwing anything away.. Recycling clothing…

      For quite a few years the royals sort of kept their heads down a bit, didn’t they?

      • Certainly after Diana died the whole royal family was subdued and everyone waited until the dust settled before there were public displays of wealth and pageantry. The public waited and waited for the Queen to make a formal statement after the car crash but she hesitated for days and it left a bad feeling and bad taste in everyone’s mouth that she just did not care.Our friends and neighbors in Liverpool were in a state of shock and really grieving for her 2 young sons.

  4. I absolutely adore the Queen–she truly is amazing. A lot of people just look at things from the outside and think she does nothing, but her duties are far greater than any of mine and, I’m sure, most other people. The Jubilee hasn’t been extremely big here in America, at least in my region, but it has been on the TV and Internet. I wish I had been able to be in London…

    Personally, it’s difficult to pick out a specific outfit I like most on the Queen; they’re all so wonderful! My favorites are those from the 50s and 60s, though she always looks great.

    • If nothing else, she knows *everyone*. That’s power and responsibility… I think there’s a place for a hereditary monarch who lives as a symbol of the nation- a long-termer who can see further behind and further ahead than a short-term elected official. She’s like a guardian.

      I’ve been really enjoying the Jubilee coverage on the net, too. (Obviously!)

  5. I love that black dress, and can’t wait to see what you come up with :). I must admit I have quite a soft spot for the Royal family. My grandma’s a staunch royalist with all the books and memorial mugs and things, and when I was little I actualy thought she *was* the queen. I learned much later that my mom and her sister thought the same thing when they were very small…

  6. Pingback: Getting Creative with a 1930′s Blazer « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

  7. Oh to have the occasions to wear such lovely and practical garments. And I think your project is a lovely one – the lace is gorgeous. I will watch (and learn) with eagerness.


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