Sir Norman Hartnell combined flamboyant flair with the dignity and assurance of traditional British style.
The designer who famously quipped, “I despise simplicity. It is the negation of all that is beautiful” was known for his opulent yet elegant designs, lavishly adorned embroidery,
and use of intricate details.
Although best known as a couturier and official dressmaker to the Queen, Hartnell produced a range of collections over the course of his lifetime, including bridal wear, perfume, shoes, furs, menswear, jewellery and ready-to-wear.
His most famous commissions included his designs for Queen Elizabeth’s wedding dress in 1947, and his highly celebrated Coronation gown 6 years later.
The Coronation gown, which was hand embroidered with 10,000 seed pearls and thousands of white crystal beads, all meticulously arranged to render emblems of the Commonwealth, is widely regarded today as a centerpiece in the history of ceremonial dress.
The resplendent gown was part of the display at Buckingham Palace for the Queens Diamond Jubilee celebrations
The Queen Mother knighted Hartnell in 1977 for his services to the Royal Household. He became known as ‘The First Fashion Knight’, and was one of only four British designers to ever have been knighted; Norman Hartnell, Hardy Amies, Paul Smith and Vivienne Westwood.