Kensington Palace has been given a facelift by some of Britain’s leading fashion designers including Vivienne Westwood, William Tempest, and milliner Stephen Jones. The idea is to prove that the royal palace is not boring and to attract new people to come and see it.
Stephen Jones used to be a physics student before he started making hats. He said, “Theory of motion, theory of gravity, when he (Sir Isaac Newton) saw the apple falling he thought, “Oh, that’s how it worked!” In fact, millinery is all about defying gravity because fashion designers are all about draping the body whereas millinery is all about construction that stands away from the body.”
William Tempest has re-designed Queen Victoria’s bedroom to reflect her difficult relationship with her mother. He said, “I really focussed on her childhood and her time in the palace. She didn’t enjoy it that much, she felt really restricted, really isolated. She didn’t really have a good relationship with her mother. So the dress for me, is kind of like an explosion of the birds which grant Victoria’s wish so she could fly out of the palace.”
Joanna Marschner, the exhibition’s curator, said: “My graet wish, our great wish, though this exhibition is to change people’s expectations of perhaps what a royal palace may have to offer. The palaces are full of extraordinary histories, they’re very human histories. They can be very emotional histories.”
The fabulous dresses on display were created for the seven princesses who have lived in Kensington Palace through the ages. Vivienne Westwood designed one for Princess Charlotte, who was a bit of a rebel.
The display includes is a crown and a pair of red ballet shoes which belonged to Princess Margaret, and a white lace dress which was worn by Princess Diana.
The Enchanted Palace exhibition will run until 2012.