Fashion Fit for Royalty

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I have always loved the costume designs detailed in Outlander. The first costume display I had seen was during season 1, where many of the iconic costumes were on display in Los Angeles. They were beautiful and authentic to the time period, even specifically weathered to make them more realistic. Seeing this exhibit made me truly appreciate the attention to detail and level of artistry displayed in Terry Dresbach’s designs. Nothing truly compares to her work. She was able to integrate the natural beauty of the landscape and culture into each design. It was breathtaking to say the least!

Claire and Jaime's wedding attire in Outlander season 1
Claire and Jaime’s wedding attire in Outlander season 1

Terry Dresbach's wedding dress was inspired by gowns made with metallic embroidery. Each leaf and acorn embroidered by hand with metal strands and aged.
Terry Dresbach’s wedding dress was inspired by gowns made with metallic embroidery. Each leaf and acorn embroidered by hand with metal strands and aged.

Hearing the call of Terry Dresbach’s Costumes blog pulled me to Los Angeles again to see the exhibit at the Paley Center. I have always loved fashion and design. However, she has completely changed my level of appreciation for fashion and the story it tells at different points in history. I have a greater appreciation of the key components that influence designs and supplemental details, such as the culture, class, or personality of the wearer itself.

As I began to become more interested in fashion and history, I decided to visit an incredible exhibit at Kensington Palace while I was visiting London, England.

Portrait of Queen Victoria, r1819-1901
Portrait of Queen Victoria, r1819-1901

The first portion of the museum I visited was an exhibit entitled “Victoria Revealed.” The presentation of personal objects, gowns, and photography collections gave great insight into her life. A few pieces completely stood out from the exhibit. This included Queen Victoria’s wedding dress, Prince Albert’s formal attire, and a collection of meaningful personal items.

The wedding dress of Queen Victoria, at her wedding to Prince Albert on February 10, 1840. The cream-colored gown was made of heavy silk satin with individually designed lace trim.
The wedding dress of Queen Victoria, at her wedding to Prince Albert on February 10, 1840. The cream-colored gown was made of heavy silk satin with individually designed lace trim.

The wedding attire of Prince Albert was equally as detailed.

Prince Albert wore a field marshal's uniform, with large rosettes of white satin on his shoulders.
Prince Albert wore a field marshal’s uniform, with large rosettes of white satin on his shoulders.

This portion of the museum also displayed important personal collections of Queen Victoria. Including a book, bracelet, and miniature portraits commissioned by the Queen.

The book of Prayer given on her wedding day by her mother, bracelet given by Prince Albert to Queen Victoria after their engagement announcement, commissioned miniatures given to eachother at their wedding (1839). Other artifacts include pins and a beautiful handmade fan.
The book of Prayer given on her wedding day by her mother, bracelet given by Prince Albert to Queen Victoria after their engagement announcement, commissioned miniatures given to each other at their wedding (1839). Other artifacts include pins and a beautiful handmade fan.

The next area of the museum I visited included pieces of the royal dress collection that dated from the 17th to 18th century. I never realized the extent of the style of dress during that time period. One highlight of the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection was the style of dress called the mantua, fashionable in the mid-17th century.

Worn on formal court occasions, it is made of white silk, brocaded in white and colored silk c1750-53
Worn on formal court occasions, it is made of white silk, brocaded in white and colored silk c1750-53

The formal wear for men of the court was equally as detailed as the ladies. An example of this form of court wear was on display, which dated from about 1770. The suites were made of the finest fashionable silks, often in vivid colors and elaborately embroidered. This example brought me right back to Terry’s costume creations for Paris in Season 2.

c1770
c1770

Just as Outlander jumped between time periods in the season finale, the exhibition then featured rare and exquisite dresses worn by HM Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret, and Princess Diana.  Providing a glance back through the royal fashions of 1950’s through the 1980’s.

The iconic gowns they wore were displayed with the pictures of the special event they attended. Designed by different designers, all were equal in exquisite detail and elegant design. You may even recognize a few, I certainly did.

Evening dress made of silk chiffon and satin, with beaded trim. 1985
Evening dress worn by Princess Diana.  Dress was made of silk chiffon and satin, with beaded trim. 1985

The gowns displayed were absolutely timeless and I thought they could still grace the red carpet today.

Midnight blue gown worn by Princess Diana for a formal dinner for the President of Greece, 1986
Midnight blue gown worn by Princess Diana for a formal dinner for the President of Greece, 1986
Evening dress worn by Princess Diana, 1956. Difficult knowing she was only twenty five years old when she wore this gown on a royal tour of Saudi Arabia.
Evening dress worn by Princess Diana, 1986. Difficult knowing she was only twenty five years old when she wore this gown on a royal tour of Saudi Arabia.

The gowns worn by HM the Queen Elizabeth, were also timeless in design.  The details of each gown was made to reflect or give tribute to the event she was attending.  I can only imagine her reception wearing  gowns as stunning as these.  Even to this day, HM the Queen gives so much forethought into every aspect of her attire.

A peach silk gown from the early 1950's worn by the young Queen Elizabeth.
A peach silk gown worn by the young Queen Elizabeth for the opening of the New Zealand Parliament, 1963.
Evening gown worn by HM the Queen to a formal dinner held at the German Embassy in London, 1958.
Evening gown worn by HM the Queen to a formal dinner held at the German Embassy in London, 1958.
This dress was worn in Novia Scotia during a Commonwealth visit to Canada in 1959.
This dress was worn by HM the Queen  in Novia Scotia during a Commonwealth visit to Canada in 1959.

If you ever find yourself searching for more insight into history and fashion while we await season 3 of Outlander, you may enjoy looking at the information of the exhibits present at Kensington Palace via a web search or visit.  You will not be disappointed.

Looking at each of the exhibits at Kensington Palace always brings  me back to Outlander.  The historical reference of fashion can be imagined through Terry Dresbach’s beautiful designs.  The costume exhibit at the Paley Center was a visual feast, worthy of multiple visits to capture the details she artistically displays.  Recent Emmy nominations are well deserved!  Outlander continues to inspire me on so many levels.  Where has your inspiration led you?


All photos from our blogs are owned by Timeless Sass3nach Journeys, unless noted or attributed. The use of our photos are is permitted unless consent is given.

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4 thoughts on “Fashion Fit for Royalty”

  1. I like the way you linked the history of the Outlander clothing designs to those of Queen Victoria and later HRH Elizabeth II etc.

    The piece provides the reader with such a wonderful mental imagery of the designs.

    Wonderful article.

  2. Have just read the article about Queen Victoria and the British Monarchy which reminds me here in England we have a series on TV about the life of Queen Victoria from childhood until death. I am recording it for when family come over to visit as they are very interested in British History and always enjoys visiting the museums, etc.

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