Royal Style: A History of Aristocratic Fashion Icons

Image of Royal Style: A History of Aristocratic Fashion Icons
Release Date: 
June 25, 2012
Prestel Publishing
Reviewed by: 

“. . . Royal Style has much to offer.”

What might easily be dismissed as a fluff book turns out to be quite interesting.

Royal Style is a very enjoyable read due to the writing, infusing the text with healthy doses of information, humor, and insight. Did you know that each of the subjects chose their wardrobes as a means of communication to their “people”?

With a photo of Grace Kelly as its hook, the book is quite refreshing in that even the most obvious choices—i.e. Marie Antoinette, Kate Middleton, Grace Kelly, and Queen Rania—are given a very personal touch by disclosing a more intimate view of their lives rather than an expose a la lifestyles of the rich and famous.

There are inclusions of royals we hardly ever hear of in the United States such as those from Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, and Bavaria. For many, the names will be completely foreign but the content will prove engaging.

Even the most obvious and hackneyed “icons” such as the Windsors, including the Queen Mum and her daughters, Grace Kelly, Princess Di, Princess Charlene, and Princess Letizia are given a much more appealing and insightful exploration than the usual tabloid fodder pervading the media.

Another genius move on the authors’ part is the balance created with the not so obvious and even forgotten “icons” such as Princess TNT, Queen Victoria, Elizabeth I, Louis XIV, Empress Eugenie, and many more. Some names might never have entered your mind as style icons but after reading Royal Style, you will reconsider and adjust your thinking through the compelling tales that are told.

There is a common thread among all of the “icons” and that is each of them made several fashion faux pas and every one of them had to greatly alter their lives to live up to their titles—some more successfully than others. Apparently, especially for the women, there was a great personal price paid, and yet for some, fashion sense led to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Royal Style is filled with wonderful photographs and illustrations showing off each subject in his or her own flattering—sometimes not no—light. Some will evoke great feelings of loss and nostalgia, and some will certainly elicit a giggle or smile fort each of the subjects is an individual with a distinct personality on display.

The authors really had me before I read the book as they referred to the “It Girls:” Marie Antoinette, Louisa of Prussia, Empress Sisi and Eugenie. I was ready to experience an amusing fashion read—exactly what I got.

There is only one question regarding the candidates: What happened to Sheikah Mozah of Qatar? She certainly qualifies in so many ways. Other than that small quibble, Royal Style has much to offer.