21 April 2016

Happy Birthday Queenie

Today; 21, April, we celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday, and with this in mind, we have decided to put the spotlight on one of Her Majesty's favourite fashion designers; Norman Hartnell (1901-1979). June Victor at Vintage Modes, Grays, has a covetous collection of Hartnell finery on offer, as she also does at sister centre Alfies

Hartnell came to prominence when he gained the Royal Warrant as dressmaker to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in 1940 after designing the famous 'White Wardrobe' (photographed by Cecil Beaton) in the late 1930s, which changed the Queen Mother's image forever. These elegant Norman Hartnell gowns were worn on a royal visit to France, aimed at strengthening Anglo-French ties. The French press praised the demeanour and charm of the King and Queen during the successful visit, augmented by Hartnell's wardrobe.

A Hartnell gown designed for Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in the 1930s, part of “The White Wardrobe".

Hartnell went on to design gowns for the two most important occasions in the Queen's life: her wedding and her coronation. Six years after Hartnell designed Queen Elizabeth’s sumptuous wedding dress in 1947, he was commissioned to design the coronation gown - the iconic dress of the mid-twentieth century - and Maid of Honour gowns. It took eight months of research, design and workmanship to make the intricate embroidery of the coronation gown. The Queen was so pleased with the outcome that afterwards Hartnell began to exclusively create her entire wardrobe and produced many of her finest evening dresses. Hartnell gained the Royal Warrant as dressmaker to Queen Elizabeth II in 1957.

Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown. The crystal and seed pearl roses, wheat sheafs and leaves embellishment took 350 seamstresses seven weeks to complete.

The Coronation Gown: The dress was to be an historic masterpiece befitting the occasion.

The largest display of the Queen's dresses and accessories, including Hartnell's designs, will open to the public later this month to mark the monarch's 90th birthday. The exhibition - Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from the Queen's Wardrobe - is today being held at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, her Scottish home in Edinburgh.

However, if you long for a highly sought after Norman Hartnell piece of your own, then look no further than Vintage Modes, Grays.

Rose pink silk velvet matching dress jacket trimmed with beading, late 1950s early 1960s, offered by June Victor at Vintage Modes 

Stunning 1950s black silk velvet couture dress with matching jacket trimmed with lace embellish, offered by June Victor at Vintage Modes 

1960s Bugle beaded cocktail dress, offered by June Victor at Vintage Modes 

1950s silk crepe outfit, beaded trim and mink cuffs,  offered by June Victor at Vintage Modes 


Rare 1950s vintage flower and drop Norman Hartnell necklace, offered by Arabella Bianco

We have also spotted these fabulously royal items at Linda Bee's stand at Grays



Vintage crown shaped perfume bottle, from Linda Bee.

Vintage crown shaped perfume bottle, from Linda Bee.

Vintage crown shaped diamante brooch, from Linda Bee.


All items posted are for sale. If you have any queries please leave a comment or visit us at Grays in Mayfair, London Alternatively you can call us on 020 7409 0400 or email info@vintagemodes.co.uk

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