Fashion Rules: The Queen’s Dresses at Kensington Palace

In honour of Her Majesty’s 90th birthday, I would like to share photos I took of her 1950’s to 1970’s dresses that were on display at Kensington Palace’s Fashion Rules exhibition last December. These dresses were lent by The Queen.

Formal gown, duchesse silk satin with beaded embroidery by Norman Hartnell, 1963. Worn for the opening of the New Zealand parliament during a Commonwealth visit in 1963.

Formal gown, duchesse silk satin with beaded embroidery by Norman Hartnell, 1963. Worn for the opening of the New Zealand parliament during a Commonwealth visit in 1963.

Evening gown, silk satin with beaded embroidery by Hardy Amies, 1961. Worn for the premiere of 'The Guns of Nazarene' at the Odeon Leicester Square in 1961.

Evening gown, silk satin with beaded embroidery by Hardy Amies, 1961. Worn for the premiere of ‘The Guns of Nazarene’ at the Odeon Leicester Square in 1961.

Evening gown, silk satin and lace by Norman Hartnell, worn in the early 1950's for a formal engagement.

Evening gown, silk satin and lace by Norman Hartnell, worn in the early 1950’s for a formal engagement.

Dinner gown, silk organza by Hardy Amies, 1959. Worn in Nova Scotia during a Commonwealth visit to Canada in 1959. The mayflower is the provincial flower of NS.

Dinner gown, silk organza by Hardy Amies, 1959. Worn in Nova Scotia during a Commonwealth visit to Canada in 1959. The mayflower is the provincial flower of NS.

Evening gown, silk satin by Norman Hartnell, 1961. Worn at a banquet hosted by President Ayab Khan of Pakistan on the 1st day of a tour of Pakistan and India in 1961. The dress is fashioned in the national colours of Pakistan.

Evening gown, silk satin by Norman Hartnell, 1961. Worn at a banquet hosted by President Ayab Khan of Pakistan on the 1st day of a tour of Pakistan and India in 1961. The dress is fashioned in the national colours of Pakistan.

Evening dress with illustration

Silk chiffon dinner dress with beaded embroidery by Ian Thomas, 1976. Worn during a state visit to the USA in 1976 and for several formal occasions in 1977.

Since 11 February 2016, a new set of dresses worn by HM The Queen, Princess Margaret, and Diana, Princess of Wales, have been put on display as part of Fashion Rules: Restyled. The exhibition ends on 5th January 2017.

Update (May): In the second part of Fashion Rules, we see two new dresses of The Queen’s on display. These have been lent by Lord Linley and Lady Sarah Chatto, the children of the late Princess Margaret. The dresses belonging to The Queen have been returned to her (some of which may be on display at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, and Holyrood Palace as part of Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queens Wardrobe).

Hardy Amies evening dress, 1979

Silk chiffon evening dress with embroidery by Hardy Amies, 1979. This flowing kaftan shape dress was worn during a state visit to the Middle East in 1979. She wore this when she met with the Emir of Bahrain.

Hardy Amies evening dress, 1972

Silk satin evening dress with beaded embroidery by Hardy Amies, 1972. This was worn during a state visit to France in 1972 and for the popular official Silver Jubilee portrait photograph in 1977.

Update (13 June): Thanks to fellow royal tweeter @lettienets, I found out that 4 new dresses belonging to The Queen are now on display at Fashion Rules: Restyled!

Replacing Diana’s ‘Swan Lake’ dress at the front is the ‘Flowers of the Fields of France’ dress by Norman Hartnell from 1957. The Queen wore the dress on the first night of her royal tour of France to the Elysee Palace. The elaborate fleur-de-lis embroidery took three years! The dress is part of the V&A Museum’s collection.

Queen - Floral Beaded Dress

This light orange / peach evening dress with beaded embroidery was designed by Ian Thomas in 1974 and belongs to The Queen. When The Queen first wore this dress to Rossini’s Cinderella opera in 1976, the sleeves were floor-length, which I think looked more elegant. The sleeves were later altered to the current length for a gala concert for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in 1982.
Queen - Peach Dress

Before Queen Elsa debuted her famous Frozen gown, Ian Thomas designed this silk crepe evening dress in 1979 for The Queen’s state visit to the Arab States of the Persian Gulf. She wore this dress at a banquet given by the Emir of Kuwait. The beaded embroidery on the sleeves are exquisite! This dress belongs to The Queen.

Queen - Turquoise Dress

Replacing Princess Margaret’s bombshell blue dress is this ‘acid yellow’ silk organza evening dress with sequins by Ian Thomas. This dress also belongs to The Queen and was worn on a state visit to Germany in 1978.

Queen - Yellow Gown

Newly added (December 2016):

A silk organza evening dress with beaded embroidery by Ian Thomas, 1974. Lent by HM The Queen for Royal Fashion Restyled. The Queen wore this during the farewell banquet during the 1974 Commonwealth Games in NZ. She also wore it to the premiere of 'Murder on the Orient Express' in London.

A silk organza evening dress with beaded embroidery by Ian Thomas, 1974. Lent by HM The Queen for Royal Fashion Restyled. The Queen wore this during the farewell banquet during the 1974 Commonwealth Games in NZ. She also wore it to the premiere of ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ in London.