• Hartnell to Amies, Couture by Royal appointment

    by  • November 16, 2012 • News, Uncategorized • 0 Comments

    © Norman Parkinson Limited/Courtesy Norman Parkinson Archive.

    A celebration of the golden age of glamour in couture, Hartnell to Amies, couture by Royal appointment was top of Life.Style.etc’s to do list when it opened at the Fashion and Textiles Museum London this week. 

    Today we like to think of Britain, and especially London, as one of the leading fashion capitals of the world. But this wasn’t always the case; before the 1920’s London couture was heavily inspired by Parisian fashions, with most affluent women choosing French designers over our homegrown designers.

    Designer Norman Hartnell turned this on its head when he opened his Mayfair store on Bruton Street in 1923, designing for aristocrats and the Royals, then famously designing Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation and wedding dresses.  This Royal patronage helped in securing London as an international fashion mecca and opened the gateways for other couture designers in Britain to follow in his (extremely elegant) footsteps.

    © Norman Parkinson Limited/Courtesy Norman Parkinson Archive.

    Second only to Hartnell, Hardy Amies was also a firm favourite with the Queen, he was first commissioned by her in 1951 and continued to design her clothes for the next five decades. Amies was in tune with the ‘New Look’ of Christian Dior’s full skirts and timeless silhouettes, but his clothes were not only fashionable but affordable.

    During the 1950s British Couture flourished, as women emulated High Society and the Royals, sustaining a luxury industry employing thousands. Sadly the arrival of ready-to-wear and Swinging London in the 1960s meant a natural end to London’s couture houses as increasingly women bought off-the-peg creations and the occasions for formal evening wear declined.

    But there are murmurings of a revival for the Norman Hartnell name, so couture lovers watch this space…..

    © Norman Parkinson Limited/Courtesy Norman Parkinson Archive.
    © Norman Parkinson Limited/Courtesy Norman Parkinson Archive.

    Hartnell to Amies; Couture by Royal Appointment is on at The Fashion and Textiles Museum London until 23rd February 2013

    Something for the weekend perhaps…

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