To mark London Fashion Week we're taking a look at the Royal fashion designers commemorated on stamps.
London Fashion Week takes place from 15 to 19 February at The Store X on the Strand. Designers will be showcasing their work from all around the world with many British participants.
Great British Fashion
British fashion designers featured on their own stamp issue in 2012, documenting decades of British fashion. Some of which have been asked to design for royalty.
Norman Hartnell produced many outfits for the Queen Mother who encouraged her daughters to also wear his creations. Hartnell submitted designs for Queen Elizabeth II’s wedding dress and was officially given the commission a few months before the wedding. The dress was inspired by Botticelli’s Primavera and was covered in beaded flowers.
The couple were married a few years after the end of the Second World War and as Britain was still recovering, the dress was produced with clothing ration coupons.
The dress was produced from satin, decorated with crystals and thousands of pearls. It had a 15-foot train which flowed down the aisle of Westminster Cathedral. The dress has subsequently been displayed at Buckingham Palace as part of the Royal Collection.
Norman Hartnell was later asked to produce Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation dress. Hartnell submitted numerous designs and worked with the Queen to produce the dress she wanted. To symbolise her new role the dress included emblems from the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.
A painting of the Queen at the coronation was produced by Terence Cuneo (famous for his railway paintings). The head and shoulders of this image featured as the 2nd class stamp in the Royal Portraits issue of 2013. The image depicts the Queen wearing the King Edward’s Crown which weighs over 2kg.
Hardy Amies, the Savile Row designer, first designed outfits for the Queen to accompany her tour of Canada. This led to a lasting working relationship for Amies producing the Queen’s touring attire and Hartnell her home attire. After Hartnell retired Amies took on more of her wardrobe and was knighted in 1989. The following year he retired from producing the Queen’s clothes leaving room for younger upcoming designers.
When we think of fabulous hats you tend to think of weddings, the races and of course Queen Elizabeth II. Our monarch has been seen in countless hats during her reign by numerous designers. Four designers were chosen for the Fabulous Hats issue of 2001, including those that have designed for royals.
Philip Treacy has designed hats for acclaimed designers and many of the royals. He produced the wedding hat for the Duchess of Cornwall and hit the papers with the “Pretzel” fascinator worn by Princess Beatrice at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Many of Treacy’s hats were also worn by the guests at the wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markle last year.
Fashion Design is an art form and as such it has been celebrated on stamps. This Fashion week we may see designers who could be dressing the Royals in the future.
– Georgina Tomlinson (Deputy Curator of Philately)