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Designs fit for the Queen: Couture By Royal Appointment

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Couturiers to the Queen, Norman Hartnell, Hardy Amies and Frederick Fox, are celebrated in an exhibition called Hartnell to Amies: Couture By Royal Appointment  that opens on Friday in the Fashion and Textile Museum.Exploring the impact that the Queen's patronage has had on British couture in the 20th century, the collection on display includes creations worn by the Queen herself.So brides-to-be will have little further to go than our home capital of London for regal wedding day inspiration and timeless, royal elegance.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Glamourous and romantic eveningwear was key to the well-known fashions of the 1950s and 1960s and no-one showed off this better than Norman Hartnell's famous in-house embroiderers.With fitted waists and floor-length silk skirts, the designer's elegant gowns attracted royal and aristocratic customers, including our very own Queen Elizabeth II. Of course, Norman's most iconic design was the Queen's wedding dress in 1947, and later her Coronation dress of 1953.As part of the Jubilee year, Celia Joicey, Head of Fashion and Textile Museum, said that the prized institute was "delighted that this exhibition celebrates the important role the Royal Family play in promoting British fashion."The process and craft involved in making the intricate hats and headpieces that royals are often seen wearing is also explored, as 'Hartnell to Amies' highlights the milliner’s role through the work of Australian-born designer Frederick Fox. His most famous designs are the hats he created for Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mother, among many other celebrities worldwide.

Norman Parkinson, Vogue

Filled with glittering tulle gowns, the exhibition acts as a major retrospective of London couture design. Dennis Nothdruft, Curator of Fashion and Textile Museum, spoke of the "creativity and craftsmanship of these designers" as "breathtaking and deserving of contemporary attention".And you'll no doubt be stunned by the timeless quality of photos by Norman Parkinson who captured the glamour and luxury of high-society women wearing the most exceptional tailoring.The legendary photographer for Vogue was instrumental in taking portrait and fashion photography beyond the stiff formality of his predecessors and injecting an easy and casual elegance into his images. The exhibition also features images never seen before by the public eye.The exhibition runs from November 16, 2012 – February 23, 2013

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