It may be 2019, but the Duke of Windsor’s style lives on…
Before I joined the Crofton & Hall team, I lived and worked at the former weekend residence of HRH The Duke of Windsor; Le Moulin de la Tuilerie. Living there showed me how fashionable Edward was for his time and how he set trends, not being afraid to wear what he liked and pull it off with such ease.
Edward VIII and his wife, Wallis Simpson, for whom he relinquished the throne in 1936, owned the former mill from 1952 until the year he died in 1972. It was the only home they ever owned together.
Once playing host to the glitterati of the 50’s and 60’s, it has now been restored into luxury accommodation for those wanting to live the life of Royals, even just for a weekend.
The Duke and Duchess were renowned for their unique style, and this is still shown at Le Moulin today. Whilst almost everything of the Duchess’ busy decorative schemes has long gone (a coffee table made out of a regimental drum is the only original item left), ‘The Mill” still ensures it is difficult to forget them. The figures of the former King and his spouse still remain in the form of photographs, located on every wall, in every room. Visitors can enjoy the ample book collection about the Duke’s style and interests, Wallis’ feud with her mother-in-law, and their memoirs telling of their extraordinary lives.
Edward’s influence and sense of home were evident throughout his weekend retreat. He was captivated by the grounds, so much to the extent that he commissioned English garden designer, Russel Page, to design the gardens, which he tended himself and whose layout remains the same today.
The Duke may have not been widely known for his gardening, but he appreciated design and elegance. Just as in the pursuit of love he rebelled against society, he also rebelled in terms of style, both of which were admired then and still are today.
Having broken the rules required to be King, he also appeared to break nearly all the rules there is in gentleman’s fashion, but it worked.
Cravats under polo shirts, large cufflinks, cuffs on trousers (this enraged his father, George V), big and extremely bold checks. For a man that loved pattern, it was a surprising choice, as he was only 5’5”. However, he had his cuts carefully made, his jacket waists were higher than the norm to elongate his legs, which in turn helped him wear the patterns he wanted.
The sartorially elegant Duke epitomised the fashion of the age, although much of his style has remained ageless. He cared deeply about his style and made sure the finest apparel would fit him exquisitely before wearing it out in public.
Edward didn’t cut corners on comfort either, once quoted saying “dress soft”, this showed that he was well ahead of other fashionistas of the time. I can’t imagine anyone other than him in that era being comfortable wearing the clothes they did.
All of this style epitomised the Duke of Windsor. He was an extremely unique King, with an even more unique sense of style. This showed throughout his life, and the amazing example of this thankfully still exists today in a small village in the southern suburbs of Paris.
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Below view the gallery of HRH The Duke of Windsor and some of his sartorial looks…