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Ceil Chapman and the Queen

Spadea American Designers 1150.

This dress pattern was designed specifically for Queen Elizabeth II by Ceil Chapman, and was called the “Coronation” Dress. It was inspired by a button marketed by B.G.E. Originals that was a reproduction of an original Elizabethan button. The reproduction button was sold in stores. I’ve been looking for it for years. The original was an enamel flower, surrounded by diamonds and rubies. Ms. Chapman designed the dress in “Windsor blue” peau de soie, with the understated bodice that the queen favored. The back of the top is bloused, and the collar is a simple stand up one. The skirt is full. This is reminiscent of the queen’s simple taste that echoes through to today.

The pattern is a part of the American Designer’s series that was printed by Spadea, using all of the top designers of the day. Ironically, in the 60s and 70s, the Dutchess of Windsor would create patterns for this line. One has to wonder what the queen would have thought of being an inspiration for the line that later included an outcast of the family.

Though this pattern doesn’t include the highly desired draped necklines that Ceil Chapman is later known for, it’s beautiful in its own right, and her patterns are difficult to find. I have two in my shop. Click here to see an original, and here to see a reproduction of her Skylark dress, an iconic design of the time.

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