Task 3 (8 points)
Read the text and do the task. Choose the correct answer that best fits each of the questions. The task begins with an example (0).
QUEEN’S POWER DRESSING
When Princess Elizabeth was two-and-a-half-years old in November 1929, John Logie Baird staged his first experimental television broadcasts in London. So it was that the future Queen became the first monarch to live her life in the public eye, growing up under the watchful lens of the ever-evolving media, broadcasting her image around the world for global scrutiny.
In celebration of the monarch’s 90th birthday, a series of three exhibitions showcased more than 150 outfits from her childhood to the present day. From a young age, she was groomed to reinforce all the messages of the monarchy via her appearance. Throughout her years as a princess, as heir to the throne and then as Queen Elizabeth II, her wardrobe has been her armoury, designed to show power and regal dignity as a national figurehead. Constituting the largest display of the Queen’s clothes, the exhibitions charted nine decades of dressing for the world stage, mapping out not only her personal taste but reflecting the strategically styled working uniform of the world’s most photographed woman. Cultural considerations, religious restrictions, climate and many other factors come in to play in this incredible archive.
“The Queen and Queen Mother do not want to be fashion setters,” the court couturier Sir Norman Hartnell once remarked. “That’s left to other people with less important work to do. Their clothes have to have a non-sensational elegance.” The Queen has, without doubt, developed a sartorial handwriting that is intrinsic to her identity, using clothes and accessories to communicate in an era defined by photography and film. Royal historian Hugo Vickers says, “If she emerges from a parliament building somewhere in the world, or is meeting Commonwealth leaders, she has to be in pale lemon or bright coral or some other bold colour because she must stand out from the crowd. Even her choice of hats is strategic, to ensure her face is fully visible but framed perfectly. I think she uses her wardrobe very, very effectively to communicate with the world.”
In many ways, the Queen has set the agenda for other royals and high-profile female political figures in need of a style persona that delivers stature and poise. One only has to look at Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel, Nicola Sturgeon and Hillary Clinton to see echoes of the colour-blocked, feminine tailoring used to great effect by the Queen. Another example, on the presidential tour to Cuba and Argentina, Michelle Obama wore off-the-peg designer dresses, acting as an ambassador for home-grown designer Tory Burch and Herrera (a Venezuelan-American), while nodding to the watershed in US-Cuban relations by wearing Narcisso Rodriguez, an American designer of Cuban descent. This nuanced diplomacy has its roots in the early years of the Queen’s reign, with her Coronation gown, designed by court couturier Hartnell and featuring numerous motifs from the UK and all the Commonwealth nations. On tour she consistently wears brooches with emblems of a host nation, or will commission a dress with appropriate motifs. She has developed a subliminal but eloquent language through clothing and accessories.
However, it is likely that the Queen will be the last British monarch to wear pure couture in her public duties. We see the Duchess of Cambridge and royals such as Australian-born Princess Mary of Denmark and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway wearing mass-produced, high-street attire both when off duty and for certain engagements. But they are still expected to conform to court dress codes when it really counts, wearing high-octane, bespoke gowns for state banquets and formal receptions. “As members of the public, we want our figureheads and leaders to look a certain way,” says the personal stylist Elika Gibbs, who counts a number of royal and political figures as clients. “There is so much that goes into creating these wardrobes, so they look effortless but work hard to send the right message. And they have to be practical, too, so there are no embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions when descending the steps of a plane, exiting a car, or leaning over to sign a document, for example. All these women will be seen and photographed from every angle, and need to ensure they dress accordingly.”
0. What is the reason why the Queen has been in the spotlight?
- The advancement of the technologies of lenses.
- The appearance of television broadcasts.
- The growing demand of the public interest.
- The possibility to send her images around the globe.
- What did the exhibition display?
- What did the display of clothes in the exhibition show?
- What is Sir Norman Hartnell’s opinion about fashion and clothes?
- What is Hugo Vickers’s opinion about the choice of certain colours in the Queen’s clothes?
- How has the Queen’s choice of clothes affected other female royals and women in politics?
- When did different motifs from the UK and all the Commonwealth nations appear in the Queen’s clothing?
- How does the Queen show respect to host nations?
- What does Elika Gibbs do?