|The Victoria & Albert Museum|
This gown was made in 1948 for Lady Alexandra Howard-Johnston (1907-97) who was the wife of the Naval Attaché to Paris at the end of the 1940s. Due to her husband’s position, Lady Alexandra was required to attend a vast number of formal events and, therefore, needed an extensive wardrobe. Lady Alexandra dressed exclusively at the house of Jacques Fath (1912-54).
This particular gown was designed by Fath for Lady Alexandra to wear for the official visit of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip to Paris in May 1948. Lady Alexandra later recalled that when she and her husband made their enterance at the Théâtre de l’Opéra, the Garde Nationale suddenly sprang to attention. She said, “I realised they had mistaken us for the Princess and Duke. That was the effect made by my splendid Fath.”