Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Royal Review: Style and Splendor

It's only been in the last 10 years or so that I've developed a true appreciation for royal fashion. Prior to that, I thought that they were just overpriced outfits and gowns. However after seeing the the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2001, and in 2002 the Elite Elegance haute couture exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum, I changed my mind. The sheer craftsmanship of these gowns is breathtaking to see up-close, and one can only wonder just how the wearer felt in them.

Style and Splendor - The Wardrobe of Queen Maud of Norway by Anne Kjellberg and Susan North covers outfits, accessories and gowns that she wore both as a princess and later as the Queen of Norway from 1896 to 1938.

The mother of King Olav V and the sister of Prince Albert Victor and Princess Victoria Alexandra , Princess Maud of Wales was not destined to be Queen. It was only when the Norwegians had a referendum in 1905 that the country elected to have a monarchy. As a result, Princess Maud and her husband Prince Carl of Denmark came to the throne as King Haakon VII and Queen Maud of Norway.

Unlike her sister-in-law Queen Mary, who for the majority of her life seemed stuck in a fashion time-warp pre-1914, Queen Maud wore the latest designs up until her death in 1938. This book showcases her fashions: coronation gown, day outfits, accessories, and gorgeous evening dresses in striking detail with beautiful photos, descriptions and information the designer.

I bought this book shortly after it came out and I was somewhat disappointed at how small it was. The contents definitely make up for any shortcomings in that area. And the book is well worth the price if you're interested in fashion from the period or royal fashion in general.

© Marilyn Braun 2009

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