Royal style at Edinburgh International Fashion Festival

Summer has finally hit Edinburgh. In fact, a heat wave has hit the UK and this time the warmth decided to travel up north to those of us who very much appreciate the vitamin D boost. Thank you sun. Much love – ghost girl xx

Summer in Edinburgh brings tons of festivals of all different genres. This week the 3rd annual Edinburgh International Fashion Festival is in town and will continue until 25th July. So grab yourself some tickets! I’m very excited about next week’s CRAVE presents Racy, a show presenting young designers through technology. I was too slow to grab tickets. Anyone going?

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Over the weekend, my friend Michelle from Life of a DIY Shopaholic and I went to a talk featured in the festival. Gareth Pugh, an amazing British designer who enjoys the juxtaposition of hard and soft remniscent of Alexander McQueen, shared with us his muse for his previous collections – the Tudors and Stuarts.

Most people will have heard of the Tudors – one of the most soap opera-ish families full of war, opulence, murder, treason, deceit. You know, all those happy things. King Henry VIII and his six wives who divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. But at least the world got Queen Elizabeth I, a kick ass woman who charmed fellow royalty, explored new worlds and led England to a Golden Age all with swagger and style. Girl was a BOSS and I say that with a hat tip in her direction. Oh and the Stuart family? Mary, Queen of Scot’s son, James, took over after Queen Lizzy passed. He united the royal houses of Scotland and England.

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So back to fashion. The talk “In Fine Style with Gareth Pugh and Anna Reynolds” discussed modern fashions nods to the opulence of the past. The event was held in the Queen’s Gallery at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh where a glimpse at 16-17th century fashion was showcased through royal and aristocratic portraits.

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The exhibition opened a world where fashion was used as a symbol of wealth and power – very similar to what is reflected today on covers of Vogue and Tatler. Through these portraits, aristocratic hustlers could construct themselves as icons and leave a legacy – an historic public relations move.

The above portrait is of Queen Anne of Denmark who was married to British King James I. She became bffs with her Edinburgh jeweller, George Heriot, who provided her with £3.9 million (US $6.6 million) worth of bling during her lifetime. In her portraits, each piece of jewellery that she chose told the viewer that she was queen in her own right and not strictly just through marriage.

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I love this random fabric frog purse. This is thought to have been created more as a novelty fashion item to one up the others at court and to present the owner as avante garde, creative and ahead of the game.

A popular accessory of the time was a ruff – white fabric worn around the neck. Queen Lizzy Senior wore hers, Shakespeare worked his. When starch was discovered, ruffs became more elaborate. However, this look was dependant on the weather and as soon as you were exposed to rain, the ruff would loose its shape and the money you spent wasted – an expense that could only be afforded by the rich.

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When talking about his own view on fashion, Gareth said, “It’s really important what I do is always an evolution and morphs into something new. It’s all about transformation – which is why people are interested in fashion. It’s all about being something better.”

“A really great model is someone who wants to understand how they can feel the emotion through the clothes. The feeling of empowerment and strength really comes through. The things I do is like creating a model coat of armour – a barrier between you and the world.”

Check out some of Gareth’s amazing pieces in this video.

View Gareth’s Autumn/Winter 2014/2015 ready to wear fashion on Vogue UK. What do you think of Gareth’s designs? Do you use fashion as armour? I would love to hear your thoughts! More later lovelies x

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