Beyoncé meets Bridgerton in the new exhibition Crown to Couturea veritable fashion festival which will be inaugurated at Kensington Palace on April 5th.
Through a carefully curated selection of over 200 piecesthe exhibition draws a parallel between the glitz and the ceremonial of rug red contemporary and the pressure to «see and be seen» at Georgian court. The unique creations worn by Lizzo, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and others are juxtaposed to the clothes worn by prominent figures of the eighteenth century in the State Apartments, which, coincidentally, are where the exhibition is set up.
Spectacular in their own right, these formal rooms are transformed by a carefully curated display of turn-of-the-century accessories, jewelery and clothing; each space is centered around a particular theme. The journey begins with the «preparation», where a video of Kendall Jenner with Met Gala hair and makeup is played on a loop, along with the display of a large toilet set that belonged to Charity Treby, wife of George II’s Master of the House. The vital importance of the is explored underwearof the trick and stylists in creating the perfect look. Frances Abingtonnicknamed «the original stylist» and credited as the character who more than any other influenced the fashion of the time, is a particularly fascinating revelation.
As the name suggests, i jewels they are at the center of the exhibition. Contemporary wonders like the diamond ring designed by Thelma West and worn by Rihanna at the 2021 Met Gala and the earrings Disk by Fernando Jorge worn by Emily Blunt at the 2019 Palm Springs Film Festival, they orbit a central display of three truly dazzling tiaras. A highlight is the Queen Vittori’s Emerald Tiaraa, created by the Queen’s jeweler, Joseph Kitching, in collaboration with her husband, Prince Albert, known for his love of jewelery and his creative flair.
At the celebration ofI arrive in style – the personalized ensemble Sun God by Billy Porter and The Blonds for the Met Gala 2019, next to Queen Charlotte’s saloon chair (by Bridgerton ) – follows one of the most extraordinary moments of the exhibition: the King’s Gallery. Once the center of activity of the Georgian court, the large space serves as the backdrop for a number of red carpet looks so iconic that information placards are hardly needed to identify who wore them. Billie Eilish, Blake Lively and Iris Law they are among the modern masters of fashion whose dresses have been immortalized.
In a glass case a few yards away is a yellow mantua worn by Lady Helen Robertson of Ladykirk at her court debut c.1760. Then as now, the visual impact was fundamental. Made from a beautiful fabric and 3 meters wide, Lady Helen paid attention to the quality and size of her to ensure she was noticed by the monarch. Like any fan of Bridgerton you know, making a good first impression would have been essential to become the “diamond” of the season.
Inside the King’s Presence Chamber, the monarch gives way to modern pop culture royalty. The look of Beyoncé for the 2017 Grammy Awards, designed by Peter Dundas, is displayed in the room where monarchs once received courtiers, ministers and foreign ambassadors. Many visitors confessed to bowing in front of the imposing pregnant mannequin.
The design features of each room are reflected in the choice of exposures: the King’s Drawing Room, famed for its ornate chandeliers, hosts Moschino’s custom chandelier made for Katy Perry at the 2019 Met Gala; while Giles Deacon’s model for Billy Porter at the 2020 Oscars finds its place in the Dome Roomwhich inspired the piece.
The final highlight of the exhibition is found in the winding path through the Queen’s Gallery, flanked by contemporary looks inspired by 18th century British and French fashions. Edward Crutchley, Simone Rocha and Erdem: the silhouettes, fabrics and patterns that inspire this generation’s brightest designers are, as visitors learn as they step out, rooted in the drama of the past.
Crown to Couture will open to the public on April 5, 2023 .
The Historic Royal Palaces is particularly grateful for the support of Garrard, the Blavatnik Family Foundation and Cunard, who have supported the project.
Foundation and Cunard, which allowed the realization of the exhibition.