The Flowers of the Fields of France

Norman Hartnell

The Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum
London, United Kingdom

Lavish gold and white beadwork encrusts this ivory evening dress worn by Queen Elizabeth II on a state visit to Paris in 1957. The dazzling, jewel-like details of the embroidered design include miniature bees, grasses, wheat and wild flowers. These motifs are worked in relief in faceted glass, gold beads, brilliants and variously shaped pearls, mother-of-pearl and gold petals. It also features an extravagant back bow. The design of this single-occasion gown diplomatically refers to French motifs, including the flowers of France and large gold bees, the emblem of Napoleon. It was intended to both compliment the French nation and draw attention to the Queen.

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  • Title: The Flowers of the Fields of France
  • Creator: Norman Hartnell
  • Fashion House: Norman Hartnell
  • Date Created: 1957
  • Location Created: London
  • Provenance: Given by Her Majesty the Queen
  • Medium: Duchesse satin, embroidered with pearls, beads, brilliants, and gold thread

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