Friday, 3 December 2010

'Never Complain, Never Explain'

"If you're tired of shopping, you are using the wrong shops"   The Duchess of Windsor
For my UK readers, I am sure you were aware of the lucsious Sunday evening drama that was Downton Abbey. Showing the upstairs/ downstairs class dynamic of early Edwardian life it was a feast for the eyes and ears and the perfect antidote to the dread of Mondays, work and real life in general. (For my foreign readers I would suggest visiting Amazon right now and trying to lay your hands on the box set!)

I was bereft when it finished so went to my local library in search of something to heal the wound.  I found it.  Edward and Mrs Simpson , a seven part drama from the late 70s/ early 80s that dramatises the events leading to the 1936 abdication of King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom, who gave up his throne to marry the twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson.  The series won the 1980 Emmy award for Outstanding Limited Series, and BAFTA Awards in 1979 for Best Actor, Best Design, Best Costume Design, and Best Series or Serial..and I found a new style icon.  

The way the full-of-pep Simpson looked in London in the '30s — when she was secretly dating the Prince of Wales and future king — would be right on for Phoebe Philo's Céline vision in 2010. "As compact as a Vuitton traveling case," said society photographer Cecil Beaton, calling her "tidy, neat, immaculate." You would not have found this elegant, outgoing, married woman (thirtysomething when she met her prince) in provocative clothes, despite the raging affair that threatened to topple the British monarchy.

 The W and E style was the essence of chic. The duke's look was primarily English: three parts aristo to one part eccentric in his mad mix of Prince of Wales checks, baggy golfing plus fours, and Fair Isle sweaters. Meanwhile, Simpson's style was quintessentially French, from the time when haute couture ruled the fashion world. On friendly terms with designers like Hubert de Givenchy and Christian Dior's Marc Bohan, the duchess worked to reduce every outfit to its essence, even asking the couturiers to dispense with pockets.
A fraction of the Duchess's shoe collection!

"I began with my own personal ideas about style and I've never again felt correct in anything but the severe look I developed then," Simpson told her friend Fleur Cowles, the magazine editor and society hostess, in an interview for Bazaar in 1966. That pared-down, urban elegance of her early days remained her style until her death in 1986.

A rather wonderful montage from Net-a-Porter on we can achieve Wallis style
Her Madge-ness is apparently utterly obsessed with Wallis and frequently channels her style.  There are even rumours that she is directing a film about her life..Watch this space!

Gillian Anderson as Wallis in the current Channel 4 drama, Any Human Heart.

Lastly, I found this wonderful picture and had to include it..Have a wonderful weekend everyone X


  1. great post! she had amazing style!
    i realy love receiving your comments- so sweet! can't wait for MORE :) ...and have you seen k come karolina on bloglovin, facebook and twitter?

    xoxo from rome

  2. A stunning post! They both had amazing sense of style. Ever since I saw The Woman He Loved (TV) (1988) starring with Jane Seymour & Anthony Andrews, I was totally mesmerised by them. Diana Mosley's biography of the Duchess is also a wonderful read.

  3. Hey Karolina, thankyou so much for your lovely comment.

    A Super Dilettante, I will absolutely checking out The Woman He Loved, thank you so much for the tip. I am also a huge Mitford fan (expect a post about that soon!) so all in all, EXCELLENT recommendations. Thankyou and I'm thrilled you enjoyed my post.

  4. Wish women still dressed like this... cracking last photo!


Thank you so much for taking the time to read my waffle. Every single comment is appreciated x