LONDON It was an age when looks were all things, when updos, jeweled hair, broad skirts, and diamonds as big as Robin’s eggs opened the gates of Kensington Palace, in the audience of the kings, queens, and Georgian princes of England.
Men, with shiny shoe buckles and added silk boots to create the illusion of muscular calves, were just as conscious of status as the ladies. They put on peacocks, hoping that they would have power to engage with the royals, politicians and citizens in the palace, in addition to being the king’s henchmen.
A new exhibition at Kensington Palace, “Crown to Couture,” looks to showcase the glamorous, state-obsessed Georgians and how they used dress and elaborate hair, makeup and jewelry to access the royal court of 18th-century Britain.th* and in the morning 19th* centuries under the reigns of George I, II, II and IV.
It also looks at how their legacy lives on on the red carpet today.
The show, which runs from Wednesday until Oct. 29 It runs at Kensington Palace, has more than 200 shows and contracts costumes and decorative objects. The gowns in Britain range from the widest surviving ball gown, which measures nearly 10 feet, to the light Moschino chandelier that Katy Perry wore to the 2019 Met Gala.
There are historic gowns with shimmering silver threads that are meant to sparkle in the candlelight, outshining the gold dress Peter Dundas wore to Beyoncé’s 2017 Grammy Awards. This display is in the place where kings once received courtiers, ministers, and foreign ambassadors.
The sponsors of the show are the Blavatnik family foundation, Cunard and Garrard, so there is a treasure trove of jewelry available to match in the greatest fashion.
The room features a vintage gold and diamond tiara made by Verdura in 1957 for Betsey Cushing Whitney, wife of the US Ambassador to the Court of St. James, and a fifa tiara, set with rich diamonds, once upon a time. she was Princess Louise, the niece of Queen Victoria.
“The stakes are very high for these types of palaces,” said Polly Putnam, curator at Historic Royal Palaces, a charity that looks after public spaces in Kensington Palace, the Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace, among other historic buildings.
Putnam said potential guests can also make a profit or hire merchandise and bring a cookie, instead of a real ornament.
In the end, it was up to the Yeomen of the Guard, the Pontic-era royal runners, to make the final call. If potential visitors to the court looked rich or well-educated, they would drive them away. if not, it was time to return home and change clothes.
Voemen were not the only social explorers and social climbers.
The Georgian era also saw the birth of a modern form of the press, with publications such as The Derby Mercury criticizing the appearance outside Kensington Palace, describing it as “plain flat”, one of the biggest insults in the journalist’s arsenal.
In the show, Putnam also draws parallels between the role of a stylist, then and now.
A celebrity stylist of the Georgian era was Frances Abington, a famous London actress from the middle of the 18th century, who introduced new styles on the stage, and was depended on to advise great women. Reynolds and Johann Zoffany, two portraits of the Abington show.
In the show, Putnam highlights the work of contemporary stylists including Rose Forde, Elizabeth Saltzman and Sam Ratelle, the latter of whom worked with Billy Porter on the upcoming 2019 Met Gala. Sol Porter’s God outfit was designed for the occasion by New York-based label The Blonds.
The show also looks at the fantasy of clothing as a political statement.
On display are dresses with environmental motifs from Vivienne Westwood’s spring 2008 show; of Judith Leiber, a splendid bride, who sings “Liberty” specially made for the show, and a black dress with the words “Vote.”
Designed by Christian Siriano, Lizzo wore the dress in the 2020 US presidential election.
Those forms are meant to echo the political expressions that some wealthy Georgians wanted to make. Depending on their preferences, some Georgians wore hair ribbons that read “God Save the King” or gray cloths with candle smoke to create political slogans.
The Pontic period was also the time when Britain consolidated its empire and began trading with the rest of the world, and many external resources were on display.
Dresses include finely woven Jamdani dresses from India, a paisley printed trunk dress and a show-stopping, cream-embellished shirt by Tan Gallia, a British-American designer and TV personality.
The moral of the show? Almost 200 years after the last King George died, style still matters.