Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wallis Blue

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor in Miami, 1941. Photo: Bettmann/Corbis.

Every time I see the Pantone color Serenity, one of the two colors for 2016 (the other is Rose Quartz), I cannot help but think of both Marie Antoinette (who is said to have favored icy pastel shades) and Wallis, Duchess of Windsor.

Pantone Serenity, one of the colors for 2016.

Wallis, in particular, seems practically an inspiration for this shade of blue, with its color quality and the hint of gray in it. After seeing the paint chip for Serenity I had to head over to the Met’s website to have another look at Wallis’s 1937 Mainbocher wedding ensemble which she wore when marrying the former King Edward VIII in June of that year. The Duchess donated the dress, hat, shoes and accessories to the museum in 1950. The dress itself did not retain its original color because of the instability of the dye used, however, take a look at the undergarment or sheath dress that makes up the ensemble, as well as her shoes, and Serenity might be considered an updated version of Wallis Blue!

This sheath retains the color of the original dress.

The Duchess of Windsor’s wedding gown by Mainbocher, 1937.

Amazing couture details on the back of the gown.

The hat Wallis wore.

The shoes also kept their color.

Think of all of this as a very long reminder that February’s “How I Wear My” is devoted to either Serenity, Rose Quartz, or both, if you are so inclined! Photos are due February 1, 2016. Send them to us at and let us know what you think of these shades or tell us a bit about your outfit!

All photos of the Duchess of Windor’s wedding ensemble are courtesy of the Met.

Mildly related sidenote, I do believe the Duchess is wearing a Van Cleef & Arpels clip, and you know how crazy I am for those. I have developed a special eye for them and can see them a mile away at jewelry shows!

The Duke & Duchess with their Cairn Terriers in 1941.

Here is a similar VCA brooch that I spotted at Lueur last October:

A Van Cleef & Arpels “Hawaii” clip, 1945.

I do love a mix of sapphires and rubies!


Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

I love that you do this, Jill. Makes me feel better about the color!

Poppy Buxom said...

I'm dying to know who made the shoes! I was turning my laptop sideways trying to read the label inside. I mean, she bought them pretty much next door to Chanel ...

Jill said...

Hi Pam, I like this color but I always want to pair it with black! Same with rose quartz, otherwise I am afraid they look too sweet on me. What do you think? Hope you are joining us this time! xx

Jill said...

Hi Poppy! I am glad you are back, I have to see what's happening in your beauty world these days. I just checked the Met's website and under the "Markings and Inscriptions" tab it says "Georgette" and yes you are right, the shop was on 22, rue Cambon, just a hop skip from Chanel! Wonder if they are still there! xx

GSL said...

That is a fab blue and with the Duchess, i've always found her an interesting subject always mindful of those sad last pics in Paris I believe after the Duke died and she looked so sad; not from grief or sorrow but from emptiness.

Jill said...

Hi GSL, I am reading the DoW's memoirs right now, what a life. I will go on to read a book about the end of her life but I have to steel myself up for it because it sounds like that French lawyer had her in lock-down and would not permit anyone to see her. Very sad. x