John Cavanagh, 1953
The Victoria & Albert Museum
Can you picture the young Queen Elizabeth II wearing this beautiful gown? Here, we see an evening dress of brocaded silk with a design of semi-naturalistic orchids woven in oyster, pale-pink and green silk punctuated with gold threads. The gown has a heart-shaped, fitted bodice with two shoulder straps, and a semi-full skirt with a small train at the back.
This magnificent evening gown is the work of the John Cavanagh (1914-2003) and was part of his Spring/Summer 1953 “Coronation Collection.” The gown was made for and worn by Lady Cornwallis (nee Esme d’Beaumont, 1901-69) expressly for the coronation celebrations in June.
The intricate fabrics were designed by Oliver Messel (1904-1978), at the time Britain’s foremost designer of costumes and sets for stage and film.