fashion queens

Princesses are ubiquitous. Queens are epic. Here are a few of my favourite fashion queens.

Pharoah Hatshepsut

Her story is a dramatic one. She is a woman who crowned herself king – and recorded her image as a man’s. Hatshepsut represents a very calculated, symbolic image-making. This is what fashion queens have in common.

Empress Theodora

Another amazing story of transformation. Theodora remains a thoroughly charismatic enigma, a woman who used acting, style and bravado to win power and awe.

Queen Elizabeth I

Another story of an unlikely candidate seizing and holding power. She used her clothes as literal armour of wealth, covered with pearls and jewels, and a literal halo of a ruff. At a time when both kings and queens liked to power dress, she overpowered.

Marie Antoinette

I have to include her in every survey post I do, because she is the crux of modern femininity, or maybe a warning for what can happen when fashion takes over. Her use of image was amazing, prescient, ill-timed, and indelible. She may be dead, but her style returns to fashion over and over again.

Empress Eugenie

The second empire restored the silhouette of Versailles with generous skirts and nipped in waists and tons of jewels. The romantic and super-feminine look was wielded with expert womanly wiles by Eugenie – another story of intrepid social climbing with style.

Queen Alexandra

Her story is a sadder one, she doesn’t seem as much an agent of her own destiny as the others. But she is notable fashion-wise for bringing big emphasis to a collar of pearls, thus establishing the iconography for 20th century female power.

Jacqueline Kennedy

Though not a queen, she was a modern, mortal queen – she dressed the part as if she had been born for it. In simple, spare strokes she wore the crown and the pearls with perfect modern sense.

Queen Rania

She is the most compelling modern fashion queen, an elemental beauty and aware of how she presents herself. She is a living queen who lives up to her role.

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8 thoughts on “fashion queens”

  1. Always a good read and always interested to read about Eugenie; her, and Napoleon III’s, crypt is a ten minute walk from my house and she did a lot for this town at the end of the 19thC.

  2. Love the list but what about adding Empress Elisabeth of Austria (aka ‘Sisi’)?
    Her beauty was renowned and her regime occupied a major part of her daily routine – her thick, ankle-length hair alone needed 2 to 3 hours of attention for a start.
    She tried out countless recipes for beauty preparations and was especially concerned to preserve her slender figure. She was 173 cm tall, weighed between 45 to 47kg and her waist measured 51cm. She followed a daily regime of exercises and in addition to riding, she also enjoyed fencing, hiking and swimming.
    In order to be remembered as a beautiful young woman, she refused to let herself be photographed from her early thirties onwards.

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