Norman Hartnell: Sixty Years of Glamour and Fashion
By Michael Pick
Published Fall 2007
268 pages / Over 300 Illustrations
During a 1938 summer break on the Riviera in Monte Carlo, Norman Hartnell dressed with typical flair, down to his unusual two-tone shoes.
The royal family with the crew of the HMS Vanguard during their 1947 Royal Tour of South Africa, for which Hartnell designed extensive wardrobes for the Queen and the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose. Foresseing they would be photographed in a sea of dark uniforms, the designer dressed the women in light-colored dresses.
Three ready-to-wear dresses, dating from 1942, brought the allure of the Hartnell name to the general public during World War II; Hartnell sporting the British Home Guard uniform in the salon at 26 Bruton Street.
Original Hartnell shoe designs from the 1940’s: Hartnell worked within wartime government rationing of shoemaking materials to create some of the most popular and fashionable footwear designs during this period.
Descriptions and swatches from Hartnell’s personal workbooks detail his designs from the Queen’s wardrobe from the 1953-54 Royal Tour; Newspaper clippings show the Queen and Price Phillip on tour, cementing ties with the greater Commonwealth.
Princess Margaret in her Hartnell wedding dress — one of the most beautiful ever designed — with a tiara and a diamond necklace given to her by her grandmother, Queen Mary; she and her husband, ennobled as Earl of Snowdon, were photographed by Cecil Beaton inside Buckingham palace.
Hartnell at the peak of his career, was shot by Norman Parkinson with examples from the 1953 summer Silver and Gold collection; in-house embroidery seen here on the caped collar of a silk evening dress, gave Hartnell’s dresses an unmatched level of artistry.
Ian Thomas’ sketch of a late-50’s day dress, later worn by the Queen on her 1957 trip to America; a narrow waist and bold, flat buttons define the gathered bodice of a satin cocktail dress from 1963.
Hartnell turns street fashion into dashing couture in this 1968 outfit; plastic sheathing and stiletto heels, combine for a Space Aged entry in the late 1960’s Hartnell catalogue.
The Royal Family on the Coronation Day of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953; those in Hartnell dresses include Princess Margaret, the Queen, and the Queen Mother.
Follow renowned British designer Sir Norman Hartnell’s meteoric rise to fame in Be Dazzled!. Designing for the best-known stage and film actresses, the British upper class, and the Royal Family, Hartnell helped make London an international center of style during his more than 50 years as a designer. With countless never-before-seen drawings, photographs, fabric samples, and scrapbooks, Be Dazzled! is the authoritative visual biography of a style legend.
About the Author
Michael Pick is the author of six books on interiors and the decorative arts. His articles have appeared in The Times, the Daily Telegraph, Apollo, Connoisseur, Tatler, Harpers & Queen, and Vogue UK. He is currently associated with Partridge Fine Art, in London – specialists in fine 18th century English and French furniture, paintings, and silver. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Pick is an acknowledged authority and respected lecturer in his field.
Why We Published This
Michael Pick came to us in 2006 with unlimited access to the Hartnell archives and a desire to revive the late, legendary designer’s legacy. We created this book to be both a document of Hartnell’s life and career, and an object that would mirror the taste, nobility, and dazzling style of the designer and his clientele – from the lavish, oversized format down to the silver trim that lines each page.