Michael Talboys talked about what it was like to design for Queen Elizabeth II, as an assistant to one of her two primary and of course British designers - Norman Hartnell and Hardy Amies.
Michael described the challenges of matching the gowns to country flags and themes, not always knowing how hot or cold it might be, the compromises Queen Elizabeth made to perhaps celebrate a joyous occasion in one country while in personal mourning, the constant struggle to convince her to wear larger hats, and the practicalities of sewing little weights so that a dress NEVER blew upwards in public. And yes, Queen Elizabeth had a fabulous figure as a young woman: 5'4" tall -- 36" bust -- 22" waist!
Michael also introduced a woman who was involved in the embroidery of every major gown, regardless of the designer. She brought samples of her work and described how the work was done. She is not training anyone to follow in her footsteps but was scheduled to demonstrate her craft at Kensington Palace later that week.
Michael joined us later for lunch and graciously circulated between tables, so we all enjoyed those extra tidbits of gossip that are best reserved for more intimate groups.