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ROYAL COUTURE....."The Crown": Costumes vs Reality!

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Fur, Satin and Diamonds: Actress Claire Foy playing Queen Elizabeth II in Netflix' "The Crown" TV series

In case you have been living under a rock, "The Crown" is a fabulous new drama series on Netflix. The first season premiered on November 4th. The series chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth II, from her marriage in 1947 to the present day and has been dubbed "the most expensive TV series ever!". So far, I have only watched the first seven episodes and it's followed her relationship with her husband Prince Philip, her sister Princess Margaret (and her love affair with Captain Peter Townsend), her mother, as well Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and many others. I am obsessed with the series and besides all the drama, yes, it's ALL ABOUT THE FABULOUS COSTUMES!

Gown Royals: Cast of "The Crown", Netfilx (L to R): Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret, Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II, Matt Smith as Prince Philip, Eileen Atkins as Queen Mary and Victoria Hamilton as Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother

Emmy-winning Costume designer Michele Clapton and her amazing team were responsible for all the Royal Couture of "The Crown". The "Game of Thrones" costume designer (she designed the first five seasons and returned to do four costumes in two episodes of season six) combined historical accuracy as well as vintage Vogue magazine research to inspire and help her with the immensity of such an epic show, according to this Fashionista.com article.

Designer and her Designs: The Crown" costume designer Michele Clapton during a "The Crown" Costume Presentation in London back in October

As the big Royal Couture fan that I am , I was curious to check out some of the show's costumes vs. the actual fashions these real-life royals wore (if there were photos of course!). I think that Ms. Clapton did an exceptional job. I cannot even imagine having such a task. She said that over 95% of the principals costumes were custom made while many of the extras (and there were LOTS!) wore vintage garments from costume shops. Lets take a look at some of the gorgeous "The Crown" costumes for some of the main "characters" and what they actually wore:

The Wedding---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The TV Wedding: Actress Claire Foy as Princess Elizabeth (left) and Jared Harris as her father King George VI (right)--Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip Wedding Scene--"The Crown" Netflix

The Real Thing: Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark Wedding: Her wedding gown designed by British fashion designer Norman Hartnell. Princess Elizabeth used clothing ration coupons to pay for the dress. The gown was made of ivory silk and 10,000 pearls imported from the USA. At first when I was watching the series and the wedding scene, I thought that the "costume" wedding gown was a bit too stiff and crinoline'd--as opposed to the actual photos I had seen of the wedding and the gown. In some of the photos, her wedding dress does look less crinoline'd (as if there's no tulle underskirts) while in the museum display photo, it looks more like it was made for the TV series .

Commonwealth Tour-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Polka Dot Queen: Actress Claire Foy  as Queen Elizabeth (left) in "The Crown", and the real Queen Elizabeth II (right) during her Commonwealth Tour 1952 Kenya. 

Coronation-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Coronation Gown: Actress Claire Foy as the soon-to-be-crowned Queen Elizabeth II in "The Crown

For the Coronation Scenes, costume designer Michele Clapton received a replica of the actual gown worn by the soon-to-be-Queen Elizabeth from Swarovski. The Austrian crystals company created one for an exhibition and they offered to loan Clapton the dress. At first, she declined but after realizing how much she had on her costume designing plate, she said "Yes!". 

The Coronation Gown was designed by Norman Hartnell: The silk and sequined gown took eight months to make and featured floral emblems of the countries of the United Kingdom and those of other states within the Commonwealth of Nations.

Movie Premieres----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fur and Satin: Actress Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II (left) in "The Crown" and the real Queen Elizabeth II (right) with her husband Prince Philip at the "Neapolitan Carousel" movie premiere in 1954

Flight Style-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Travel Style: Actors Matt Smith (as Prince Philip) and Claire Foy (as Queen Elizabeth II), as they board a B.O.A.C. airplane on "The Crown"

Mink Travel: Queen Elizabeth in mink fur coat and silk dress, and Prince Philip in uniform disembarking a flight on B.E.A. British European Airways

Princess Margaret--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Belted Dress Princesses: Princess Elizabeth (left) and Princess Margaret (right)

 Smokey Princess: Actress Vanessa Kirby portraying Princess Margaret (top photo, left lower photo) in "The Crown", the actual Princess Margaret (right, lower photo)

Michele Clapton-designed costume for Princess Margaret character in TV show "The Crown", Netflix

Princes Margaret was Queen Elizabeth's Fashionista sister. She was like the Princess Diana of the 1950's/1960's/1970's. A devoted fashion-lover, she loved Dior Haute Couture as well as many other fashion designers. While Queen Elizabeth's creations seemed as if they took one fitting (no one can imagine the Queen having the patience for more!), Princess Margaret's fabulous creations looked as if they took FOUR fittings! Gotta love her for that (well, as a designer I do!).

Diamonds and Satin: Princess Margaret

 Princess Margaret on her 21st Birthday in a Christian Dior Haute Couture gown, 1951

 Pink Princess: Princess Margaret in pink tulle and sequins

 Fashion Diva: Princess Margaret at an event in a one shoulder Duchesse Satin ballgown, fur shawl and diamond necklace

Queen Mary of Teck------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Queen Mary of Teck--Queen Elizabeth's grandmother (on her paternal side), was very Edwardian in her style and this was seen in the costumes created by Michele Clapton (left), followed by the looks seen on the real Queen Mary of Teck (right).

Duke and Duchess of Windsor-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Couture Divo and Diva: Actor Alex Jennings as Edward VIII Duke of Windsor, and actress Lia Williams as Wallis Duchess of Windsor in "The Crown" Netflix

The Real Fashionistas: Wallis, Duchess of Windsor and Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor

Family Drama: Cast of Netflix' "The Crown"

I'm excited to watch the rest of "the Crown" Season One! Let me know what you think of this season and the costumes!

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