Elizabeth II’s Paris dress

30 May 2011

Photo: Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Photo: Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

It often feels like the Queen has been an older lady (this is me at my most tactful) for literally as long as I can remember, so I thought it would be nice to have a look at this rather lovely Norman Hartnell dress that Her Majesty wore on a state visit to Paris in 1957.

Elizabeth II in Paris, wearing her Hartnell dress, 1957.

Remember the dress that Queen Victoria wore in Paris that I posted a couple of days ago? Well, I don’t think the pressure to look as elegant as possible when on show in the French capital had abated one whit over the course of a century! I think the Queen probably looked amazing in this gorgeous gown, which is rather poetically called ‘The Flowers of the Fields of France’ – what do you think?

Photo: Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Photo: Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

 

Lavish gold and white beadwork encrusts this ivory evening dress worn by Queen Elizabeth II on a state visit to Paris in 1957. The dazzling, jewel-like details of the embroidered design include miniature bees, grasses, wheat and wild flowers. These motifs are worked in relief in faceted glass, gold beads, brilliants and variously shaped pearls, mother-of-pearl and gold petals. It also features an extravagant back bow. The design of this single-occasion gown diplomatically refers to French motifs, including the flowers of France and large gold bees, the emblem of Napoleon. It was intended to both compliment the French nation and draw attention to the Queen.’ — Victoria and Albert Museum description.

Photo: Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

This dress was worn on the Queen’s first night in Paris, the 8th of April 1957, when she attended a state banquet at the Elysée Palace then went to the opera and must have been a dazzling sight!

The dress was worn with a necklace (of 4 stones with centre drop jewel) and small earrings, a tiara, and long white evening gloves adorned with a bracelet (or small watch) on the left wrist. The Queen also wore the jewelled Badge of the Legion d’Honneur and sash from her right shoulder to her waist (left). She also carried a small white handbag and wore a white fur stole for travelling.’ — Victoria and Albert Museum.

Photo: Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

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