Fashion Rules: exhibition of royal dress

Exhibition of garments from the collections of The Queen, Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales displayed at Kensington Palace.

From left to right: Diana, Princess of Wales evening dress, Zandra Rhodes; HM The Queen evening gown, Hardy Amies, and silk coat with fur trim, Norman Hartnell

Fashion is a powerful force, with even the royal family bowing to its rule. A fabulously glamourous new exhibition at Kensington Palace charts the sartorial choices of three of the most stylish female royals – and how their dress reflected the vogue of the period.

The elegantly tailored waistlines of The Queen’s dresses of the 1950s, the chic short hemlines and jewel-like colours of Princess Margaret’s wardrobe of the 1960s and 1970s, and the punches packed by the bold, embellished pieces worn by Diana, Princess of Wales in the 1980s make Fashion Rules a true adventure into royal style.

Photography and film footage will be shown alongside the 21 dresses, resulting in a nostalgic look back at royal fashion from the last six decades. There are a number of quirky facts that younger visitors might find interesting, such as the need for formal royal clothes of the 1950s to be created in pale colours that would stand out on black and white film.

For the show to be held within Kensington Palace is more than fitting, especially as it was once home to both Princess Margaret and Princess Diana.

“The exhibition completes the story of 20th century monarchy at Kensington Palace,” says Cassie Davies-Strodder, curator of Fashion Rules. “The Palace is a magical setting to celebrate these modern royal women in their fashion heyday, providing a rare opportunity to get up close to these wonderful dresses and be transported to the times in which they were worn.”

The exhibition will run for the next two years. Passes are included in admission price to Kensington Palace.

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