15 June 2010

8 maids...a Duchess... & a conga line.


  this photograph by Cecil Beaton
from Time Life 

I am reminded by Meg of Pigtown Design that this month is the anniversary of the Windsors-that's Wallis and Edward, June 3 1937.

& it is right On topic- the continual revisiting of certain persons-

Today -
WALLIS. Meg mentions the book THE WINDSOR STYLE by Suzy Menkes. The book, published in 1988, is still the best resource for the all the little delectable Windsor hors' d'oeuvres. Wallis knew herself, some might say-little to know-But I disagree. Women like WWW are constantly offered things-
She could have partaken of all.
Instead, she edited.
Mercilessly, Ruthlessly.

"Everybody was crazy to design for the Duchess. She was the most chic woman of our time...But she did not bargain herself. It was the couture houses who fought ot offer her discounts." Erik Mortensen

She always ALWAYS got it right. TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE.
She liked stripes, so did 8 others.
Givenchy made the blue and white matelot sheath for the Duchess. Paris Society's dressmakers were charged to copy, copy, copy, copy, copy, copy, copy, copy  the GIVENCHY jersey stripe. The designer-GIVENCHY, said, it "was the dress of the season. What I didn't know was that other women were going to have it copied by their little dressmakers."

from the pages of The Windsor Style-Suzy Menkes
The Duchess clasping hands with Mrs.Guiness Plunkett

this night, 8 ladies arrived at one of Baron de Rede's party in GIVENCHY'S sheath. Yikes Stripes! Wallis didn't blink- instead asking the "maids" to form a conga line and show the dress to its best advantage!
So many women would have been horrified! mortified!-as likely these maids were. No-not The Duchess. A Lady.

intriguing- I ran across in an old Vogue magazine. Vogue's NOTEBOOK spotted The Duchess at the d' Arenberg housewarming, 1966. Here it was reported  3 maids wore the  GIVENCHY dress. Certainly possible that this faux pas was repeated-If So-Mrs Guiness Plunkett slipped up twice.

from the pages of Vogue October 1966
pictured in 4. Mme. Walter Moreira-Salles
5. The Duchess, HRH The Duke and standing Mrs.Guiness Plunkett

who knows, once, twice, 
three times ? 
does it matter, not really, But it does amuse.
& besides
the Lady Duchess was always a bit of a mystery.



  1. As an aside, I read recently that the National Trust is now renting out the only home the Windsors ever owned - in France. You can rent different accomodations according to how many patrons and I guess your pocketbook. The price didn't seem unreasonable though.

  2. You have to admire Wallis's presence of mind on encountering her twin, her triplet...octuplet in the Givenchy dress. I have recently had the same problem, of a lesser order, encountering other ladies in my big fat Topshop ten quid pearls.

  3. It is amusing to think so little time has past and we do not have a clear picture. Suzy Menkes should know and so to should the 66 Vogue since that was an of the moment document. We enjoyed it as always none the less. A

  4. Loved her enduring style and always a card or playing with a full deck?Royal flush perhaps.

  5. I say when in doubt, dance. Great line-up.

  6. Donna, Yes, I have seen that. What fun that would be.

    Rosie- I think she managed it well-
    L. Yes-Some of both. I think she played her hand pretty well after a big running the table with no payout.

  7. Anon. I think so too. Leave it to history. It is fun though and sometimes it is just about fun here- I hope!

    Home- Yes, Just as the Duke and Duchess did in those highly highland flung rooms of theirs.


  8. Oh my dear, what a wonderful post. The great thing about the Duke and Duchess is that whenever you look, they look timeless. They always go for classic look that is always smart and focus.

  9. Forget slaves -these look like prisoners of fashion - but I'm sure the term was short. Pretty snazzy really!

  10. I think I shall don my stripes this evening!
    Wonderful, never too rich, too thin or enough stripes for me.



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