In celebration of the Queen's 90th birthday year, a selection of pieces from her incredible wardrobe will be put on display. Evening gowns worn during State Visits and overseas tours are the dazzling centrepiece of the exhibit alongside Her Majesty's childhood pantomime costumes and outfits.
The exhibition, titled 'Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen's Wardrobe,' will be open from Saturday 17 September at Windsor Castle in the George IV-designed Semi-state apartments which are only open to the public for part of the year and are still regularly used by the Queen for State and private entertaining.
The display will reflect her Majesty's support of British couture throughout the decades, and curator Caroline de Guitaut told Hello! that the Queen took a keen interest in fashion and regularly went to fashion shows held at the Incorporated Society of London Fashion Designers. She said: "There is a dialogue between the Queen and her couturiers. Queen understands very well how her dress can enhance her role. She never wears taffeta because it’s noisy and creases and there are certain types of fabric that are not appropriate."
Gowns from designers including Sir Norman Hartnell, Ian Thomas and Angela Kelly will be on displayn including a stunning design by Angela Kelly worn by the Queen during her first State Visit to Ireland in 2011, paying a subtle tribute to the host country by being embellished with over two thousand shamrocks, representing the national emblem of Ireland. Another gown which paid tribute to the host Nation is a stunning Sir Hardy Amies silk-organza evening gown embroidered with sprigs of blossom, the regional emblem of Nova Scotia.
Caroline told Hello!: "I thought it was important to bring together clothes which have meaning and have been worn here at Windsor." She also revealed that Sir Norman Hartnell was a favourite of the Queen Mother, saying: "In a sense the Queen inherited Hartnell and worked with him until his death in the 1970s. It's a small group of British Couturiers that has given a continuity to the Queen's look. Her steadfast support for British couture has been key to her life in fashion really."
Outfits from the Queen's younger years will also be displayed, and give an insight into her Majesty and Princess Margaret's childhood growing up in Windsor castle during WWII. The collections includes a Girl Guides uniform, a riding hat from her childhood, boots and riding crop and an 'Aladdin costume' from a Christmas pantomime every year, which will be put on display for the first time.
Furthermore, a selection of the Queen's hats, including those worn at Royal Ascots over the years, will also be on display, along with her stunning evening dress worn in the official Diamond Jubilee portrait. In fact, around 150 outfits have been shown at the Queen's official residences in 2016, with each Palace have a particular type of content which is associated with the location.
The Palace of Holyroodhouse explored the use of tartan in royal dress, while the exhibition at Buckingham Palace showed the fashions through ten decades including ceremonial and military attire worn at wedding and christenings.