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Royal Style: A History of Influential Women

Posted on 21 April 2016

Queen Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I was known to use any situation to her political advantage. Rich and lavish gowns impressed people of the era so her wardrobe was specifically designed to impress and be suitable for a ruling monarch. The thick fabrics and jewels conveyed wealth. Elizabeth had a fondness for foreign styles and was largely responsible for bringing European styles to England which has a significant impact on the style of the time. Her ladies in waiting would wear her old dresses, high society women would aim to emulate her, eventually her styles would trickle down to wider society.

Queen Victoria in her wedding dress by Winterhalter, 1842
When Queen Victoria first took the throne at aged 18 she embraced the styles of the time, large sleeves with details such as ruffles and full skirts. Throughout her reign, as she gained popularity, women all over the world strived to emulate the queen. Her wedding dress was the inspiration for thousands of women’s gowns and the wreath of orange blossoms she wore became iconic bridal headwear from then on.

Princess Elizabeth square dancing - 1951
The Queen, Elizabeth II, as a young monarch, did inspire many trends. The square-dancing skirt she wore whilst on a state visit to America caused a storm and everyone was trying to replicate her style. As the years have passed, The Queen has had to evolve into an older, more age-appropriate style and distance herself from the passing trends of each decade.

Queen Elizabeth II
In recent years The Queen’s style has been classic and inspiration for older women as she embraces bright colours and contemporary cuts. While not your typical fashionista, The Queen always looks immaculate and has created a style that will not look out of date (as some trends can) on the pages of history books.

Princess Diana 1994
Princess Diana inspired many fashion trends that are still followed today. Her style was individual and progressive and was one of the first royals to be followed for her casual as well as her formal style. Whether in jeans or a formal dress, Diana was always photographed and was quickly an established trend setter, known for tight outfits and very daring necklines for a member of the royal family.

Princess Diana - Wedding Dress
Her wedding dress by Elizabeth and David Emmanuel catapulted her into the world’s media and transformed her into a global fashion icon. It was always clear that Diana loved clothes, choosing the best designers to clad her in simple tailoring and luxurious materials that would become her trademark.

Kate Middleton
Kate Middleton’s wardrobe blends classic style with contemporary dressing. Since her engagement to Prince William, everything from her engagement ring to her hair style have been copied by the public. Kate is a champion of British designers and the British high-street. Dresses she is photographed in sell out within a matter of hours, known as ‘The Kate Middleton Effect’. Is has been estimated that she has brought over £1.5 million to the British economy and is responsible for popular British brand Reiss to open several stores across America since Kate has been photographed in several of their pieces.

Image sources:
http://ndla.no/en/node/98522
http://thedreamstress.com/2011/04/queen-victorias-wedding-dress-the-one-that-started-it-all/
http://www.elleuk.com/fashion/celebrity-style/queen-elizabeth-ii-s-style-through-the-ages
http://www.instyle.com/celebrity/princess-dianas-most-iconic-style-moments
http://www.popsugar.com/fashion/photo-gallery/21232087/image/21232134/Kate-Middleton-Style
http://www.harpersbazaar.com/fashion/trends/g1498/iconic-royal-wedding-gowns/
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturenews/11491388/Square-dancing-unruly-Dont-tell-the-Queen.html

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