Hattie Lloyd 18/04/23
Crown to Couture | Extravagant Fashion Exhibition
The Crown to Couture exhibition brings together show-stopping gowns worn by celebrities and royalty.
As shows go, it’s pretty majestic.
It’s all being staged in the equally extravagant surroundings of Kensington Palace; the official residence of Wills & Kate and countless royals before them. Set within Kensington Gardens (right by Kensington High Street and Queensway on the other side), the regal mansion has been casting its commanding eye over the surrounding greenery since 1605.
Inside, it’s suitably lavish: hand-painted murals, chandeliers and gilded plaster ceilings abound. The clothing looks right at home. In fact, Giles Deacon’s dress for Billy Porter was directly inspired by the palace’s Cupola room, while a low-lit room showcasing dazzling gems from across the centuries includes an emerald tiara belonging to former resident Queen Victoria, (alongside the Rebel Black diamond ring worn by Rihanna).
The premise behind the exhibition is that the haute couture worn by celebrities today at red carpet events is no different from the outrageous outfits worn by those attending royal courts hundreds of years ago, and that fashion has long been instrumental in gaining power and influence. You’ll see many of these ancient and modern outfits side by side, like Billie Eilish’s Met Gala gown and Helen Robertson of Ladykirk’s 3m-wide mantua that would have broken the internet if the attendants of the 1760 Holyrood ball had Instagram.
The sheer originality on display is impressive – there are sharp suits and big puffy gowns, but also completely bonkers creations like Katy Perry’s chandelier outfit. And it’s huge: there are over 200 items on display, making it Kensington Palace’s biggest ever exhibition.
Tickets to Crown to Couture are included with admission to the palace, so once you’ve had your fill of the outfits you can have a nose around the rest of the state apartments and grounds.
You’ll really get the royal treatment.
NOTE: Crown to Couture is on show at Kensington Palace until 29th October 2023. Admission is included with tickets to the palace (from £25.40), but you’ll need to book in advance – do that right HERE.
Crown to Couture | Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens, London W8 4PX
Looking for more inspiration? Take a look at our pick of London’s best exhibitions on now
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Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens, Kensington, W8 4PX
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