Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Lilibet is hot

A short piece of mine in today's Guardian on the new style icon, Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II:

Decades of viewing Her Majesty in canary-coloured sacks, matching handbags and two-inch heels, with her hair unchanged since her youthful profile on the stamps, we forget that once she was, if not a trendsetter, nonetheless wearing the newest styles by the hottest, albeit British, designers. In the 60s even she wore a miniskirt, demonstrating the more iron strictures of style 40 years ago, when designers dictated hemlines.

But Elizabeth II, unlike her predecessor, Elizabeth I, who appears in her portraits immolated behind ruffs and pearl-encrusted bodices, has had to wait until old age to be declared a fashion icon.

It was Vogue who started it, when, two years ago, it declared her one of Britain's most glamorous women. She was photographed by Annie Leibovitz, who only does true celebrity. Now the launch issue of Katie Grand's long-awaited style magazine Love, focusing on the fashion icons of our generation, has a naked Beth Ditto on the cover and inside, model Agyness Deyn in ice blue satin Lanvin gown, white lace gloves and tiara, dressed as the Queen. And, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Commonwealth, an exhibition of six decades of royal couture goes on display at Buckingham Palace in July so we can glimpse how her taste has altered, or not, throughout and even before her reign.

Love magazine's Deyn photo is a weird combination of HRH and Marilyn Monroe. Spookily, Monroe, had she lived, would be the same age as the Queen: the two women were born only two months apart and both came into their own in an age of postwar glamour. Even their figures - the large bust and small waist - are similar.


Toby Wollin said...

Yet, my favorite photo of HRH has to be that family snapshot you had on recently, with her at the beach, in wide legged pants, a very gay(in the old fashioned sense) blouse and a sun hat. She looked happy and relaxed and very very pretty.

sophies said...

Deyn should give up her day job. Queen lookalike is definitely for her

lagatta à montréal said...

I always thought of the late Princess Margaret as the fashion icon in the Firm, when she was a beautiful young woman - guess Lilibet had to dress for duty from a very young age. Remember my mum explaining to me decades ago why HM wore what seemed like such gaudy colours for a woman of her class, having to be seen in a crowd; moreover she is short.

The whole family were very chic indeed in mourning black at Diana's funeral.

Duchesse said...

Did you see the pink dress the Queen wore when she was famously photographed embracing Michelle Obama? I thought she looled terrific.

Anonymous said...

I recently read your book, The Thoughtful Dresser, and was rather confused at the way you decribed the Queen as 'dumpy', regarding her as without fashion sense. As an 80 year old woman, she dresses immaculately for her age (no mutton dressed as lamb leather jackets, for example), and has a strong sense of personal style.
She frequently sets trends on and off the catwalks - inspiring looks at Dolce and Gabbana, for example, and no doubt influencing the Shoreditch crowd's now best loved Barbour jacket - and yet you disregard all of this in your book. Interesting to see that you change your tune completely with a little nudge from Katie Grand and co.

mq, cb said...

She's HM, not HRH.

George S said...

Her Agyness?

mariam syff said...

so the queen is a fashion icon?

why not? she could well be.
isnt it just a matter of perspective? a bit like the fashion shows where clothes and accessories are not made to wear exactly as presented and paraded but more to give one ideas of mixing, of matching or not matching, of colour and pattern. and style-especially style, especially individual style!
hey, look at the new chanel image: could you get more conservative? black, long, closed at the neck, with boots so no part is visible...the difference is the clothes are worn by young goodlooking,slim and tall teenagers, or just out of being a teenager rather than by some short, stout, busty, unsmiling female of a certain age.(and i do not mean the queen)
the difference is in the wearing, not the age,-let s be clear on that.
so, yes, the queen is a fashion icon-most definitely so.
what is a fashion icon but clothes on a certain person which catch our attention-for the better or the worst? and isn t it also that certain personage who catches our attention-again for the better or the worst?
and isnt it up to us to simply make the best of even the worst?

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s. said...

God bless her. Send her victorious, happy and glorious, long to reign over us and a fashion icon to boot.

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