While it may be true that she was rarely spotted front row at Fashion Week, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, was in fact one of the Industry’s most under-hyped icons.
As the modern Elizabethan era has come to an end in spite of the recent passing of Queen Elizabeth II, her legacy in all aspects of life is being brought to our attention. But it is her fashion legacy that we are here for.
It is because Queen Elizabeth didn’t give off the style and glamour that we are used to seeing in the fashion industry, that her subtle style has gone generally unnoticed throughout her 70-year reign.
But, it is safe to say that we are definitely recognising her as the style icon she was.
Beloved by the World
As such a loved figure who was always in the public eye, it makes sense that the Queen always prioritised dressing well. After all, to be royalty, you have to do more than just maintain the crown and monarchy, you also have to look the part.
As per Elle, “The overarching message that the Queen’s wardrobe told was one of a quieter, more subtle influence.”
Making a Statement
Queen Elizabeth’s style drew from her personality. Her outfits reflect more than just royalty, they emit notions of subtle confidence and unwavering integrity. And as the most powerful woman in the world, her fashion made a statement in terms of femininity, a quality that she held close and never neglected throughout her reign. She was ultimately a woman to look up to. Per Elle,
“The message she sent to the commonwealth and the wider world was one of feminine strength, never intimidated by the meetings of senior dignitaries her diary scheduled or falling victim to needing to dress to ‘keep up with the boys.’”
From brooches, to dress suits, to brimmed hats and painted pumps, the Queen’s fashion was a statement in itself, not to mention her top-handle Launer handbags. For her, this was a uniform. Her style was savvy and mostly understated, but it was also a means of communicating with her people. And this wasn’t just in recent years.
Stunning the Crowd
Throughout her 70-year long reign, although many outfits had to be more diplomatic and significant in message, she never failed to stun the crowd.
Though it’s important to remember the essence of her outfits – her colour choice. Over the decades, Queen Elizabeth has managed to incorporate nearly every colour of the rainbow into her head-to-toe monochromatic looks. And not to forget, certain outfits have held some of her more specific messages.
So, here are 6 times the Queen has used fashion to convey some subtle, yet sartorial statements.
Queen Elizabeth II’s Wedding Dress
- According to the Royal Collection Trust, Queen Elizabeth II used her wedding dress to comment on the economic crisis underway in Britain circa 1947. The ivory silk, features crystals and 10,000 seeded pearls, with a 15-foot star-patterned train. It was “inspired by the famous Renaissance painting of Primavera by Botticelli, symbolizing rebirth and growth after the war.”
Visit to 20th Century Fox Film Studios
- On her visit to the 20th Century Fox Studios in Los Angeles, California in 1983, intentionally wore a white dress covered in poppies. This outfit was worn as an ode to California, whose state flowers are poppies.
State Visit to Ireland
- Although not obvious, in 2011 the Queen chose to wear an all-white dress embellished with nearly 2,100 shamrocks embroidered to the bodice, to the State Dinner in Ireland. Which as expected was subtly sending a sign of respect to Ireland as they hosted her.
Opening of British Parliament
- Following the controversies of the Brexit referendum, Queen Elizabeth opened the UK Parliament wearing a blue coat and yellow and blue floral dress. She chose a matching hat that boasted yellow flowers. It was assumed by many that her clothing choice of colours that reflected the EU flag drew her disapproval of the Brexit movement.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Wedding
- As we know, this was not a coupling the Queen nor the Royal family approved of. But, her choice of green and purple on the day of the wedding, suggested otherwise. As per colour consultant June McLeod, “green is a highly significant color worn as a sign of respect and intention for the future’ and as for purple, she said “[it] is a proud colour, also symbolizes cleansing and indicates a passion for creativity’.” Which could of been hinting at a silent approval?
COVID-19 Address to the Nation
- During her address to the nation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Queen Elizabeth chose to wear an emerald green dress. It has an accompanying diamond and turquoise brooch. As per Bustle, “the green tone was likely chosen to symbolize growth and renewal, but the brooch was a family heirloom: a gift from Queen Mary upon her death in 1953.”
But when we think about The Queen in a more contemporary setting, we think of how her personal style has rubbed off onto her family members. Specifically, Princess Kate and Princess Meghan. Per Elle,
“Look to the wardrobes of Duchesses Cambridge and Sussex and you’ll notice the Queen’s approach to colour permeating… It’s clear to see that Catherine and Meghan have taken note.”
And it wouldn’t be fair to give all credit to The Queen herself. As with all people with high status, there’s usually someone behind the scenes pulling all the strings. For Queen Elizabeth, Angela Kelly has been at the helm of her wardrobe for 20 years.
Queen Elizabeth II will be celebrated for more than her royal status and her legacy in the fashion industry will live on for eternity.
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