Coronation of Charles III: Secrets of Camilla's Dress

This is perhaps one of the best kept secrets of the coronation of Charles III

Coronation of Charles III: Secrets of Camilla's Dress

This is perhaps one of the best kept secrets of the coronation of Charles III. This Saturday, May 6, Camilla Parker-Bowles, wife of the king, will wear a dress signed Bruce Oldfield. And apart from the name of the British creator, no other information has leaked. Buckingham Palace even declined to comment to AFP.

The choice of stylist seems obvious to Sarah Banon, professor of fashion theory at the French Institute of Fashion in Paris (IFM Paris). "Bruce Oldfield embodies a certain continuity," she notes. On the one hand, because it is an English designer, and chauvinism is very important in these ceremonies. On the other hand, because he has been present for several years within the royal family. Indeed, the 72-year-old designer has worked with Camilla for over a decade and has also enjoyed a long friendship with Princess Diana.

"I gave Diana her glamour, and Camilla her confidence," he said in British media several years ago. A few days before the coronation, however, Bruce Oldfield prefers to avoid mentioning the two personalities at the same time, as he explains in a long interview with the Guardian. If comparing them may seem in bad taste, the two women had, in any case, an important role in his career.

"A very neat Venetian suit in wool, rust-colored", was the first outfit the designer designed for Diana Spencer. It's 1981, and Lady Di is to make one of her first public appearances after her marriage to Prince Charles. These are the first steps of a future fashion icon. It was also the remarkable debut of the young British fashion designer who already dressed actresses Charlotte Rampling, Jane Seymour and even star Barbra Streisand. Throughout the royal receptions, Bruce Oldfield managed to establish himself as one of the young princess's favorite designers.

"It's quite natural since Bruce Oldfield does formal wear. These are evening dresses where the extravagance is not as visible as at the MET Gala, of course, but where it is expressed through the techniques used,” explains Sarah Banon. Thus, Diana's outfits are distinguished not by their bold shape but by "iridescent materials", "a creativity that remains within the protocol". Like this all-velvet dress worn by the princess in October 1985 during a performance of the musical, Les Miserables, at the Barbican in London.

Bruce Oldfield is a dazzling success, over the creations worn by Diana Spencer and thus develops his business. Little by little, his muse becomes a close friend. And the year 1984 is probably not for nothing. The princess of hearts then becomes president of Barnardo's, an association which takes care of orphaned children in the United Kingdom. Bruce Oldfield is one of its main donors. A very special charity, since it played a crucial role during his young years.

It is indeed in one of the institutes that the pope of formal wear was placed at birth, after being abandoned by his parents. He stayed there for three years, before Violet Masters, a seamstress from Durham in the northeast of England, took him in. Bruce Oldfield then lives with two other boys and two girls from the home, all racialized like him, according to The Guardian. If Bruce Oldfield never called this woman "mom", it is she who gave him a taste for sewing. The young man left to study in London at Central Saint Martins, and then shone in fashion design.

“In a sense, the choice of Bruce Oldfield also embodies this desire on the part of Charles to impose himself as “a king of the left”, even if we do not speak of socialism in the monarchy, laughs Sarah Banon. For the sovereign, it is a question of not locking himself into white middle-class schemes. According to her, her trajectory is "an English success story", although it is not necessarily experienced as such in a country which "embodies restraint".

The style of Bruce Oldfield is also popular with many personalities, like the British model Jerry Hall or Kim Kardashian. If the English fashion designer has been working with Camilla for a decade, could the coronation outfit become the pinnacle of Bruce Oldfield's career? All eyes will be on this creation. In Great Britain, everyone engages in bets, and especially to try to guess the color of the outfit. “I will bet on light blue, mauve or white tones, slice Sarah Banon. She's still more restrained than Queen Elizabeth! No doubt for her, the colors will be soft, pastel.

Which also fits Camilla's personality. “She often wears colors that relate to the aesthetics of hunting: natural tones, earth tones, like pine green or duck blue. Camilla has a certain sartorial discretion, which could exemplify the British tradition, but also show her role within the royal family. "If the former Duchess of Cornwall is now the wife of Charles III, she was for a long time his mistress when the latter was still living with Lady Di.

The professor of fashion theory and doctoral candidate in political science confides "not to remember the wedding of Camilla and Charles". A reserve therefore which will perhaps be reduced this Saturday, May 6.