Vivienne Westwood and Stephen Jones have teamed up with photo-illustrative photographer Simon Procter on the launch image for Royal Ascot 2011.

The image consists of a racing scene overlaid with fashion photography, as models pose in two bespoke couture pieces and one demi-couture piece from Westwood’s Gold Label collection, against a background of Ascot dating from 1818. Westwood’s dresses pay homage to the past; the black and white frock is inspired by Audrey Hepburn’s dress from the racing scene in My Fair Lady, while the ombre silk dress in the centre reflects early Victorian-era fashions, constructed with a special taffeta fabric which features 300 different, individually colour-dyed hues.

Meanwhile, Jones’ hats similarly recreate historic style moments, from the ombre silk period bonnet from the first century of Ascot (centre hat) to the Edwardian fascinator (left), which riffs on Cecil Beaton’s designs for My Fair Lady. Finally, a signature top hat – made of lacquered straw – is seen at right, complementing Westwood’s lipstick red suit.

Remaining true to production formats in the late 1800’s, the bespoke couture has been specially constructed from a select taffeta, named Quality Viola, using 300 different colours, with each and every thread individually colour dyed.

Vivienne Westwood comments on her involvement: “Royal Ascot is a British institution for showing off clothes and I like to take advantage of any opportunity to do that.”

Royal Ascot will take place from 14 June to 18 June, and fashion fans should look out for the daily fashion show featuring designers like Westwood and Jones, plus Amanda Wakeley and House of Hardy Amies. Tickets are now on sale.

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