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Sample sales at Mawi December 2012

It took not less than two years to have Her Majesty The Queen’s outfit ready for the central celebrations. The white outfit worn by Her Majesty for the Thames River Pageant on 3 June was inspired by the jewelled, white costumes favoured by Elizabeth 1 and was designed to stand out against the deep reds of the Royal Barge,  Spirit of Chartwell.

For the Jubilee Concert on 4 June, The Queen’s shimmering golden dress echoed the colour of the Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace, around which the concert took place. Angela Kelly explains that the fabric itself made reference to The Queen’s long reign, as it was bought overseas in 1961.

On the day itself, The Queen’s outfit is prepared with a choice of brooches, a handbag, gloves, headscarf and shoes.  A precise record of the outfit worn to each engagement is kept in the Dressers’ wardrobe diaries.

Angela Kelly, Personal Assistant, Adviser and Curator to Queen Elizabeth II and now author of Dressing The Queen: The Queen: The Jubilee Wardrobe also tells the story of her team’s involvement in the  behind-the-scenes planning of the James Bond sequence in the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony on 27 July, including the creation of two identical dresses.

Angela Kelly takes the reader through the entire design process, from initial sketches and fabric swatches to the choice of accessories to complement the finished outfit.  The author explains how, once fabrics and design sketches are approved, a technical drawing is created from which the pattern is made. A prototype or toile is often used to work out the detail of a difficult design, before a fitting with Her Majesty takes place.  Fittings, which may last half a day, involve work on four or five outfits, complete with hats.  The next time The Queen will see the finished garments is a day or so before an  engagement, when she tries them on.

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