The forthcoming Jubilee weekend has given designers the perfect opportunity to look back on some of the amazing designs created at the start of the Queen’s reign 60 years ago.
But not all of them have managed to capture the spirit of the times with as much flair as Selfridges.
To mark the start of one of the most exciting summers the UK has ever seen, the department store has worked with curator Judith Clark on the Britannica exhibition, looking at women’s fashions from 1951 to 1953.
Using its ever versatile Ultralounge as the venue, which earlier this year hosted the exclusive evening of conversation between Stella McCartney and Alexandra Shulman, the exhibition explores a day in the life of one incredibly stylish lady using the Vogue Patterns released at the start of the Queen’s reign.
Coming just a few years after the end of the Second World War, blacks and greys were still prevalent in the times of austerity. But to celebrate the crowning of the beautiful new Queen Elizabeth a shade named Champagne Pink made an appearance. For the exhibition, milliner Stephen Jones has created some beautiful modern designs in the pretty hue that are perfectly in keeping with the looks on display.
In order to show women how they could dress to impress on a budget, a road show travelled around the country showing how to make the Vogue Pattern designs in February 1951.
With dressing appropriately for the time of day still an important consideration for women in the early 50s, the stylish lady’s day begins in a gorgeous oversized grey coat after being caught in the rain (it is supposed to be February in the UK after all).
She then heads out at midday to look at the latest clothes on display in the shop window, pausing to look at a chic black dress with a pleated skirt.
At 3pm she pays a visit to the Vogue Patterns show where a demonstration is taking place on how to create a beautiful grey dress adorned with embroidered symbols of the British Isles.
At 5pm her evening takes a chic turn as she dresses in a polka dot cocktail dress, complete with a plunging back and a full skirt.
Then a 8pm it is time to head out to the ball in an embellished floor-length gown and magnificent headdress, accessorised with just a simple single string of pearls.
Dressing for the weekend was also covered, as the designs featured a gorgeous doubled-breasted jacket and a full tartan skirt, ideal of spending time in the great outdoors, whether it be on Sandringham Estate or Sefton Park.
With the arrival of the 50s and the shift in taste of art and music came the new Beatnik look. Forgoing the full skirts and nipped waists, slim legged cropped trousers and looser tops started to creep into style, changing the fashion landscape forever.
See the gorgeous display for yourself in the Ultralounge located on the Lower Ground Floor of Selfridge’s Oxford Street store until 24th June.