Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Farewell to the Queen!

As the Queen heads out of Halifax, we breath a sigh of relief that the city will return to normal (following the insanity of Canada Day). Although I missed out on seeing her during her visit, I am sure she wore some dashing hats and bright colors.

The Queen's history is tightly linked to fashion. Following her coronation as Queen, she embarked on a six month tour of the Commonwealth. She enlisted the help of Norman Hartnell, influential designer and dressmaker to the Queen, to create over 100 new outfits for the trip! The clothing sent subtle but deliberate messages about the queen's status, and paid homage to the places she was visiting.

Although she moved from fairytale ball-gowns, to crisp tailoring, and back to softer lines depending on the decade, the Queen can't be described as a slave to fashion. Another of her personal designers, Hardy Amies, revealed in his autobiography that he often tried to persuade her to wear shorter skirts, but that she always made her decision based on what she might be doing in her travels - while visiting Pakistan she was once asked to ride an elephant! A short skirt simply would not do!

Both designers described her as a woman who listens to advice, but who has a keen sense of what suits her and is not swayed by the fashions of the day.

Of course, her fashion challenges are much different than those that we deal with in our everyday lives - she was once presented with a ceremonial feather cloak (above) from the Maori people of New Zealand - imagine accessorizing that!

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