This is the Savile Row bespoke tailor that dressed the likes of Fred Astaire, Rudolph Valentino, Charlie Chaplin, Noel Coward, Sir Laurence Olivier and Duke Ellington. They recently celebrated their 100th anniversary, and over their century of dressing the British upper-class and the American movie star, have managed to maintain their classic elegance like good British chaps. If you happen to be in London, do visit… if you can gather enough pomp to walk through those doors.
As promised, here are some images of the real King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (yes, that is the Queen Mother who passed away in 2002, mother of our current Queen Elizabeth II). There are some photos of them in the 1920s, before Edward abdicated and George was forced to take the throne (at that time they were called the Duke & Duchess of York), through to photos of them in war-ravaged London in the early 1940s. I believe the latest photo is 1951 (she is wearing a ballgown, crown and white furs).
The LIFE photograph is of a very young Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, before she married George (she was Scottish nobility). In another photo you might notice Eleanor Roosevelt standing between King George VI and Queen Elizabeth – this was during an inspection of English war conditions in 1942. The photo of the King & Queen, with two young princesses, waving on the balustrade, is VE Day (8 May 1945), announcing and celebrating the end of the war. On the left that is Princess Elizabeth (now our Queen), in military uniform.
Well, The King’s Speech is the Golden Globe favourite (which makes it an Academy Award favourite too, of course), with seven nominations. I can’t wait to see it – I adore Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush, how could it not be wonderful? And the story! All us Swing Fashionistas know about Edward VIII, who abdicated to marry the American divorce, Wallis Simpson (since he was such a style icon for the 1920s and 30s, and besides, oh what a love tale!). But I certainly never knew this side of George VI and the Queen Mother’s story. When my mum explained it to me the other day I was very touched. This should be wonderful!
Anyway, plenty of fashion to admire. I’ll post some images of the real King and Queen, who Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter are depicting, since I can see the film is aiming to be historically accurate.
So I was procrastinating a few days ago, browsing vintage dresses on eBay with no intention of buying (no seriously, I went on a November shopping spree, so no more this year!). And I got to thinking about the photographs of vintage clothing for sale online. What a resource! When somebody sells a vintage dress online, they photograph the dress from all angles, with closeups of details and embellishments – they show more detail in those photos than most costume museum archives! It’s an amazing historic record. Plus, so many of these dresses are one of a kind, or at least, the last of their kind.
But the photos are online only as long as the item is for sale, and given that it’s changing hands to a new owner, it may never be seen again! Once the listing is deleted, that photographic record is lost to us! Sitting there, I had a terrible panic that we were losing a valuable resource, oh my word! And proceeded to nab as many photos of the 1920-1940s dresses listed as I could. So yeah, an hour later…
Anyway, what do you think? I’ve always liked to post the lovely vintage things I see on eBay and Etsy, here on SwingFashionista. That way, even if none of us get to buy them, we can still enjoy the pictures, get inspired by the style, and maybe even use them as a reference for making our own. And well after the original listing is gone and the item has headed on to its new owner. But now I feel like I’m on a mission!
What are your thoughts? Want to join my mission? Do you have that same photo-saving habit I do? Do you have a folder on your desktop, filled with photos of pretty things from the glorious internet? So why not start your own blog? Or send them to me and I’ll always post any gathered photos of original 1920s – 1950s fashions here on SwingFashionista. Drop a comment if you have a thought!
Oh yeah, and to satisfy, here are some of those photos 😉