Saturday, March 17, 2012

Astrid: Queen of Fashion

Königin Astrid von Belgien,Queen of Belgium, nee Princess of Sweden 1905 – 1935
I am researching Delly Poelmans, modiste to Queens Elisabeth and Astrid. If anyone has any information or pictures, please let me know. The fine collection of essays, Astrid: 1905-1935, edited by Christian Koninckx, contains a section on Astrid's fairytale wardrobe, with a discussion of the various Belgian and foreign designers she patronized, including Delly Poelmans, who created many of her colorful, fanciful hats.  In 1920, Delly Poelmans had obtained Elisabeth's permission to style herself Modiste de S.M. la Reine,  the official milliner of Her Majesty the Queen. Her business, located just behind the royal palace, continued to serve a broad clientele of Brussels society ladies through 1934-1935, the year King Leopold III reigned with Astrid at his side. Like her mother-in-law, the new Queen also favored Delly Poelmans. Upon Astrid's death, the designer requested authorization to style herself Modiste de S. M. la Reine Astrid. On August 23, 1937, nearly two years after the Queen's passing, she was finally granted the honor to do so. Today, the Belgian royal collection contains about twenty hats crafted by Delly Poelmans, and once worn by Astrid. Since color photographs of the Queen are rare, the hats can give us an idea of the original colors of the accompanying dresses, often lost, faded or damaged. The Queen loved soft, rich, subtle colors and intricate floral patterns. Although she favored simple, practical clothes in private, she always appeared in public splendidly attired in the most fashionable possible way. The styles of the period, abandoning the corsets of the previous century, flattered her tall, elongated, graceful figure, while her bobbed hair and Delly Poelmans' hats set off the beauty of her head and neck.

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