Closer Look: Ivory and Red Pearl Pillbox

Royal HatsBack in 1979, Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh toured the middle east. During a stop in Kuwait, the Queen topped her red floral dress with a matching red and ivory pillbox hat:

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

We have been enjoying closer looks at several of the Queen’s past hats, thanks to the Royal Collection Trust released photos of the exhibition  ‘Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen’s Wardrobe’. This hat is part of the exhibition at Holyrood House in Scotland:
This closer look shows considerable intricate detail on this small hat- the individual swirls of red straw centred with a seed pearl bead are clearly hand sewn and the band of red piping around the crown is finished, perfectly. I’m not sure the photos of the time did this hat justice and while it’s not my favourite of the Queen’s past hats, it is a well balanced and beautifully made piece. As we see more and more of Simone Mirman’s millinery work closeup, her mastery of this craft impresses me more and more.
What do you think of this design, now that we’ve had a closer look?
Photos from Getty as indicated
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21 thoughts on “Closer Look: Ivory and Red Pearl Pillbox

  1. A beautifully made hat, perhaps not best suited to HM’s dress on the occasion. Really hard to tell from the photos. Thank you for posting these interesting close-ups.

  2. The polka dotted red and white hat does seem to fight against the pattern of the red and white dress. I too would have liked to have seen the hat paired with a dress in a solid red color. I do like to see each of these hats close up. The later pictures someone posted of the queen in polka dotted hats and outfits are great. In those outfits, whether you like polka dots or not, show the theme carried through. I also think they are a youthful and fun look on the queen!!!

  3. The measles hat. The close-up was a pleasant surprice, the texture makes it more interesting, but it’s still a good example of why we used to laugh at the Queen’s hats. Come to think of it, her hats are much more boring these days. We may have laughed sometimes, but the hats were more interesting.

  4. So large for a pillbox! From the front, the shape is quite reminiscent of a kokoshnik style tiara.
    Thanks for including the close up view, Hat Queen. That is just beautiful!

  5. I actually like this hat from the past which is a first for me , I think. But I do not like the “polka dot” embellishment with this floral dress. Did she ever wear it again with a solid color or polka dot dress? The flowers and the dots seem to be fighting with each other.

    • Agree! While the hat is interesting in itself, it rather kills the dress (or vice versa) since the shape and proportion of white to red is so different. Instead of adding all those little dots to the hat, why didn’t they add little flowers instead?

    • Also agree! I would much prefer to see this hat worn with something else, such as a plain red dress.The hat itself I quite enjoy – the shape is refreshing, and definitely reminiscent of a kokoshnik, as efrompdx says.

  6. You really have to hand it to the Queen. She is so daring in what she is willing to put on her head. I admire the workmanship in this hat. So interesting to have these closer looks. And I do like the size and shape on the Queen. I might like it placed farther down on the forehead or else with some curls left out to soften that pulled back look. But I think the Queen really does not like hair in her face. i like red and white together and think the dress is pretty. The best I can say about this design is it sure makes a change from the more expected floral decoration.

  7. I am loving these closer looks. Can’t wait to go to the exhibition.

    I’m not a mad fan of this hat when worn, but the closer look is lovely. Simone Mirman really did produce works of art. I’m just not 100% sure they always suited the Queen, who lets face it, is quite a conventional woman.

  8. For 1979 this seems pretty fashion forward. Go Liz!

    I don’t know much about how hats are made (everything I know I learned here LOL!) but these hats from a long time ago look a lot better made than some of the hats QE wears today. Just sayin’.

  9. Well, here is the dissenting vote! I love the whole look. Red and white is a personal favourite combination of mine and I really like this hat.

  10. You HAVE to smile at some of the polka dots! I think they’re fun!


    Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

    • That yellow polka-dotted turban is the only one of HM’s turbans I have ever admired! I never thought they looked well on her, but this one is lovely. Thanks for posting it, and its dotty friends!

    • I agree with what Jimbo says: July 20, 2016 at 11:06 am. The Queen was quite brave in her choice of the dotted look. Polka dotted clothes are hard to wear, and the Queen showed she has the nerves of steel and the sense of humour to pull these looks off.

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