Friday, June 1, 2012

THE WEEK IN FASHION: A QUEEN SPECIAL

 Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

Our usual round-up of the week's news is taking on a new guise today. In celebration of the Diamond Jubilee, we're talking all things Queen related, from her corgis to the new look Donatella is proposing for her...

In a recent interview with The Sunday Times, Stewart Parvin, the Queen's dress designer for the past 11 years, has given some fascinating insights into the behind-the-scenes operation which ensures Her Majesty never has a wardrobe slip-up.

“[The shoes] have to be immediately comfortable . . . She does get someone to wear them. The Queen can never say, ‘I’m uncomfortable, I can’t walk any more.’ She has the right to have someone wear them in.”

“She does drop on the shoulder slightly, as people do, so we put an extra pad in one shoulder,that’s the kind of thing we do for most people.People have one arm longer than the other, one leg longer, so that’s what the fittings are for, to make sure everything’s as perfect as it can be.”

“Every dress has got a name — we’ll get that in an email. It’s the only way we know which is which. There is one called Buttercup, which is a really popular one. So they can ask, ‘Have you got Buttercup?’ ‘Oh it’s that yellow dress!’ The one thing that she likes, so she wears it a lot.  Then they catalogue where the outfit has been worn — so if she was going to meet President [Barack] Obama, she wouldn't wear the same dress. That’s why people will think she wears things once, because there’s such a system.”

The Queen in her favourite yellow hue (image from royal-splendor.blogspot.com)
“She does like quite an outrageous print. Things that are bold suit her, and she knows that”
Her Majesty's version of 'outrageous' (image from thetimes.co.uk)
Donatella Versace appeared at the Oxford Union this week where she was interviewed by the brilliant Tim Blanks. Among the questions he asked was who the designer, known for her sexy, skin baring designs, would like to dress. Her answer? "If I could dress anyone I'd like to dress the Queen - she can handle anything. I'd put her in black - she never wears black - and add a little leather, maybe. A little rock 'n' roll."

Could this be the look the Queen works at Monday's Jubilee concert?
The Queen wears Versace AW12, with a little help from FEAL
In the run-up to Jubilee weekend, many of the Queen's secrets have been uncovered. Ok, so we're not talking hard-hitting scandals here, but more answers to niggling wonderments about how on earth everything seems to always run so smoothly for Elizabeth II...

In The Queen's handbag- a Launer, of course, a handkerchief, lipstick, a tiny mirror and a copy of the day’s programme. However, a Lady-in-Waiting is always on hand with the 'brown bag' which holds a spare pairs of tights, gloves, sweeteners and a moist, lavender-scented cloth in case of extreme heat.

Her Majesty travels everywhere with sixty vials of homeopathic medicine

She drinks only Malvern water- still only. If she is forced to go without then she apparently suffers withdrawl symptoms. 

The royal hairdo has barely changed throughout its sixty years as the Monarch's crowning glory. But ever noticed that there is never a flyaway hair or loose curl? Well, that because 'liquid concrete', so her staff call it, is applied to the Queen's hair to ensure that it remains perfectly styled, even in gale force winds.
Forever loyal to her 'liquid concrete', Her Majesty's style has been almost as
long serving as the woman herself (image from Tatler, June 2012)
And how does Her Majesty avoid Marilyn moments? Well, first of all, the linings of each of her outfits is a size smaller than the outfit itself which keeps everything firmly in place. In addition, small lead weights, usually used on curtains, are sewn into the hem of the Queen's skirts to prevent them flying up in the wind. Genius, non?

If you haven't seen enough pictures of the Queen yet, then The National Portrait Gallery is now hosting The Queen: Art and Image. The exhibition features 60 portraits which sum up her reign up to this weekend's Diamond Jubilee. One of my favourites is this one from 1952, the year of the coronation, by Dorothy Wilding and hand coloured by Beatrice Johnson.

The Queen in 1952 by Dorothy Wilding (image from the times.co.uk)
We all know that the Queen is owner of a full on hareem of corgis (I know that's the wrong collective noun, but it sounds good). Thus, the breed has become inextricably linked to royalty. Anya Hindmarch is celebrating the Jubilee by stationing corgis Linnet and Willow outside her stores around London this weekend. There are also special edition Maud clutches (pretty sure Duchess Kate has a few nf these) which come with paper tiaras and guides to being Queen for a day. Hindmarch has also recruited @Queen_UK- the twitter account which sends tweets as if from her Majesty- to post tweets for her throughout the celebrations. Example tweet:

"Gary Barlow's popped over. He got one a "new song" for one's Diamond Jubilee. What part of "new handbag" wasn't clear?"

Corgis take up residence at Anya Hindmarch (image from Anya Hindmarch on Twitter)

After sixty years on the throne, Tatler decided it was time the Queen had her own cartoon...
Cartoon from Tatler, June 2012
It looks like the amazing weather might be over so Pimms this weekend won't be quite the same. Never fear because we can now make our very own cocktails with Her Majesty's preferred tipple, Dubonnet. Here's how to create a Diamond Dubonnet
INGREDIENTS

25ml Tanqueray gin
50ml Dubonnet
2 drops Orange bitters

Top sparkling English wine or champagne

Garnish: Edible diamonds (available here)

METHOD

Shake gin, Dubonnet and orange bitters together and then double strain into glass. Top with sparkling English wine or champagne and drop a handful of edible diamonds into the flute

A diamond dubonnet (image from dailymail.co.uk)


One of my favourite tweeters, Derek Blasberg posted this yesterday: "I'm so sad to miss the Jubilee celebrations this weekend in London. I mean, imagine all the puns about queens and crown jewels I could make" Oh Derek, our weekend will be all the poorer for not having your witty commentary on events. However, let's be cheered by the fact that Karl Lagerfeld will be letting us all know his thoughts on French TV channel France 2
King Karl's jubilee illustration (image from fashionista.com)
To round off our Queen news special, we have a video for the proper royal obsessives amongst you; it shows Her Majesty enjoying one of her horses race. A very sweet look at the Queen as a real person and an excellent representation of how brilliant lilac and baby pink look next to one another. We also wanted to put up Cassetteboy's amazing mash-up of Andrew Marr's The Diamond Queen documentary, however I've just seen that it's been taken down due to copyright issues- boo too. Keep checking YouTube to see if it gets reposted, it's most witty. In the mean time, Happy Jubilee weekend from Melanie and myself at FEAL!


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