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The BoF Podcast | Queen Elizabeth II’s Leadership and Legacy

Royal expert Elizabeth Holmes speaks to BoF’s Imran Amed about Queen Elizabeth II’s life and legacy — in fashion, culture and society at large.
The late Queen Elizabeth II waving to a crowd at a state event.

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Background:

Tributes to Britain’s longest-reigning monarch have flooded social media, television and even public parks in the days since her passing, memorialising the Queen’s steadfast leadership, but also her impeccable sense of style.

This week on The BoF Podcast, BoF’s founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed speaks with royal expert Elizabeth Holmes who reflects on the influence the Queen’s record-setting reign has had on the fashion industry and the wider culture.

Key Insights:

  • The Queen was known around the world for her monochromatic outfits, designed to help her stand out in the crowd. She also created a unique twist on a set formula of basics: hat, coat, bag and pearls. “I think she understood the power of clothes,” says Holmes. “She used things like the colour of her outfit, especially when she was travelling overseas to perhaps match the host country’s flag.”
  • Holmes details how the Queen had a “tremendous sort of swing of the style pendulum” from her private life, where she’d wear headscarves and tartan skirts, to her public life, wearing tiaras and gowns. “It was very important to see all aspects of royal life,” says Holmes. “Both being worthy of the glamour of royalty, but then also sensible stewards of taxpayer dollars.”
  • Her influence also stretched outside of her sovereign powers, with the path she paved for other female leaders around the world. Being crowned Queen at just 25, she became one of the only women at the table of leadership, and she made it count. “I think the Queen sort of made it permissible to really stand out.”
  • As King Charles III takes to the throne commentators are looking to the future of the institution. “The conversation changes a little bit now that there is a King on the throne,” says Holmes. “Understanding that the whole spotlight shifts to him and with that, the good and perhaps the criticism, too.”

Additional Resources:

  • Queen Elizabeth II’s Style Legacy: Britain’s longest reigning monarch has died. Her influence extended to the realm of fashion, where she invented the concept of “sartorial diplomacy.”
  • What the Queen Means to Designers: Queen Elizabeth was an inspiration for fashion designers from Vivienne Westwood to Alessandro Michele to Richard Quinn. Will any British royal have the same influence again?
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Inside the $7 Billion Dior Phenomenon