Author(s): Michael Pick
Norman Hartnell (1901-1979) was a uniquely British genius. For nearly sixty years he was a major personality in the world of fashion. By the mid 1930s, Hartnell's meteoric rise to fame resulted in London becoming a centre of style that closely rivalled Paris. Known for glamorous evening clothes, Hartnell augmented his early design successes by creating a series of stunning wedding dresses for his younger society clientele. His bridal extravaganzas culminated in the romantic 1947 wedding of Princess Elizabeth to Prince Philip. While Hartnell clients included members of the English upper class as well as the best-known stage and film actresses of the time, it was his royal patronage that assured him a place in history. The famous "White Wardrobe" created for Queen Elizabeth (and photographed by Cecil Beaton) in the late 1930s changed her image forever; the extraordinary coronation robes designed for Elizabeth II in 1953; and the sublimely simple wedding dress he made for Princess Margaret when she was married to Lord Snowdon in 1960 remain iconic to this day. Decades of achievement were rewarded with a Knighthood in 1977.
Sir Norman Hartnell became the first of two fashion designers to be so honoured. Hartnell continued to create both daywear and evening clothes for a well-heeled sophisticated clientele until his death in 1979. In 'Be Dazzled!: Norman Hartnell, Sixty Years of Glamour and Fashion', royal enthusiasts and fashion connoisseurs will be able to examine in greater detail his drawings, vintage photographs, fabric samples and personal scrapbooks that have never been published before.
Michael Pick is the author of six books on interiors and the decorative arts. His numerous articles have appeared in 'The Times', the 'Daily Telegraph', as well as in such magazines as 'Apollo, Connoisseur, Tatler, Harpers & Queen' and 'Vogue UK'. A former director of the famous antiques firm of Stair & Company, he is now associated with Partridge Fine Art, in London, specialists in fine 18th century English and French furniture, paintings, and silver. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, he is an acknowledged authority and respected lecturer in his field and has appeared on numerous television and radio programmes.