A designer who worked with the late dressmaker to the Queen has revealed how the monarch’s ‘marvellous’ figure made her the perfect 1950s ‘fashion plate’ in the early years of her reign.
Jon Moore worked for Hardy Amies – the man responsible for some of the monarch’s most striking ensembles worn on her early Commonwealth tours – and said his mentor had relished creating outfits for the Queen, because her hourglass figure was perfect for ’50s fashions.
Amies was the official dressmaker to the Queen from her accession in 1952 until he retired from the role in 1989.
Moore, who began working with Amies in 1979, shared the anecdotes he picked up over the years in new documentary series Elizabeth: Our Queen – including how dresses that had been fitted on models had to be taken in to fit the royal’s tiny waist.
One stand-out frock, said Moore in the episode which aired Tuesday night, was a white number she wore on a visit to Australia in 1954, which Amies and his team decided made her look like a ‘fashion model’.
This dress, worn by the Queen on a visit to Sydney, Australia, in 1954, was a particular favourite of Amies and his team, thanks to the way it emphasised her fashion model proportions
The Queen, seen wearing Hardy Amies, had asked him for ‘clean and simple’ designs, and didn’t want to look like ‘the girl on the cover of Vogue’
The Queen first visited Amies’ Saville Row studio in 1950, and by 1955 he was granted a Royal Warrant, joining the famous couturier who served the Queen and the Queen Mother before her, Norman Hartnell.
Despite her model-like proportions, the young royal told Amies she did not want to look like the ‘girl on the cover of Vogue’, and as such he became known for the ‘clean and simple’ designs he conjured for the Queen.
Moore said on the show: ‘Whereas Hartnell did a lot of fluffy, frilly dresses with a lot of embroidery on them, that was never Hardy’s look… he liked things to be very clean and simple.’
The stand-out dress from the Australian tour was white, mid-length and form fitting, and free from any major embellishment.
Jon Moore, seen left in the new Channel 5 documentary, worked for the Queen’s official dressmaker, Hardy Amies, seen right
Moore said of the frock: ‘It was such a chic outfit. It was very unusual in that it had a very narrow straight long skirt showing off her slim hips, fantastic narrow waist, that wonderful bust, that wonderful little parasol which was a very ’50s accessory.
‘I always thought she looked in that like a ’50s fashion model, and not so much like the Queen of England. She really did look amazing.’
Moore said the Queen had the ideal figure for a woman in the 50’s, and was a great ‘fashion plate’ for Amies to work with.
Amies, by then Sir Edwin Hardy Amies, retired in 1989, and the Queen was among those to pay tribute to him upon his death in 2003.
This Hardy Amies frock was worn by the monarch at a banquet at Claridges Hotel in 1974
A Hardy Amies evening gown worn by the Queen in Nova Scotia in August 1959
Buckingham Palace said at the time: ‘The Queen was very sad to hear of Sir Hardy’s death. He contributed to her wardrobe over many years and she is, of course, saddened that he has died.’
While she has always steered clear of outlandish or attention-grabbing choices, those closest to the Queen have spoken of how she enjoys fashion.
Her current senior dresser, Angela Kelly, previously revealed that she is something of an expert when it comes to materials.
Kelly has said: ‘The Queen loves clothes and is a real expert on fabrics. It’s not been me teaching the Queen — it’s the other way round.’
Elizabeth: Our Queen continues Tuesday on Channel 5
Moore recalled how one dress had to be sent back for alterations because it was too big for the Queen on the waist, but had been too small for their models
Those closest to the Queen discuss her love of fashion in tonight’s episode of Elizabeth: Our Queen