Le privilège du blanc (en italien, privileging sel bianco) est une prérogative particulière utilisée par les reines, princesses et duchesses catholiques lors des audiences avec le pape, au cours desquelles elles son autorisées à porter vêtements et mantilles blancs, habituellement réservés au souverain pontife.
(The privilege of the white is a special prerogative used by Catholic queens, princesses and duchesses during audiences with the Pope, during which they are authorized to wear white clothes and mantles, usually reserved for the sovereign pontiff.)
Actuellement, les dames catholiques éligibles à ce privilège sont les suivantes:
Ce privilège n’est pas utilisé par les reines à chaque rencontre avec le pape, mais davantage pour les occasions les plus solennelles. Ainsi, Marina, « princesse de Naples » a utilisé le privilège du blanc lors d’une messe en 2003 célébrant l’anniversaire de Jean-Paul II.
(Currently, the Catholic royal women eligible for this privilege are the following:
This privilege is not used by the queens at each audience with the pope, but for the most solemn occasions. Thus, Marina, Princess of Naples used the privilege of white during a mass in 2003 celebrating the birthday of John Paul II.
Le 12 janvier 2013, la princesse Charlène de Monaco a été exceptionnellement autorisée à utiliser ce privilège lors d’une audience avec le pape Benoît XVI.
(On 1 January 2013, the princess Charlene of Monaco has been exceptionally allowed to use this privilège for her audience with His holiness Pope Benedict XVI).
Le bureau de presse du Vatican a, par la suite, indiqué que « conformément au protocole prescrit par le Vatican concernant les souverains catholiques, la princesse [Charlène de Monaco] a été autorisée à s’habiller en blanc »
(The Vatican Office states that “in accordance with prescribed ceremonial of the Vatican for Catholic sovereigns, the princess was allowed to dress in white…”)
For her audience, the Princess of Monaco wore a chic crepe jacket and white driving gloves with her white mantilla and nude heels, looking regal, elegant and sublime.
Apart from the 7 Catholic royal women who enjoy “le privilège du blanc”, all other female are required to wear black while meeting with the Pope, including other royal women and the First Ladies.
When you buy a Hermès silk scarf, a Max Mara silk dress, a Gucci silk blouse or a Valentino silk gown, You will only be told it is made of 100% silk. But what type of silk? Why are they look so different?
Silk is like a mysterious woman with many faces, it comes in many textures, weight, hand feel and drapes, and thus bear different names, such as silk twill, silk charmeuse, silk crêpe de Chine, silk georgette, silk chiffon, silk dupioni, etc.
Twill, one of red basic textiles weaves, produced with a diagonal rib, ridge, or wale. In regular twill the diagonal line is repeated regularly, usually running upward left to right at 45 degree.
The weave can be varied in many ways, for example, by changing the direction of the twill line or its angle.
Silk twill is lightweight, but strong. The most obvious example of silk twill is a silk scarf of Hermès.
Since Hermès produced its first square shaped silk scarf in 1937 designed by Robert Dumas, it has become the symbol of luxury silk scarf, and silk twill has become the standard material for almost all luxury scarf brands, always finished with hand-rolled edges.
Charmeuse is a lightweight fabric woven with a satin weave, in which the threads cross over four or more of the backing (weft) threads. These float threads give the front of the fabric a smooth, reflective finish, whereas the back has a dull finish.
Charmeuse differs from plain satin in that charmeuse has a different ratio of float (face) threads.
Luster and delicate hand make charmeuse suited for scarves, lingerie, flowing evening gowns, and draped blouses. Bridal gowns sometimes use charmeuse; however, the fabric does not hold shape well, so it is not used for full, flared skirts; the charmeuse tends to cling and hang against the body. It is best suited to more fluid, slinky bias cut, and drapes well.
Its uses in menswear includes the lining of jackets and slacks, handkerchiefs, ties, and underwear such as charmeuse boxer shorts.
Silk crepe de chine
Silk crepe de chine literally means crepe (fabric) of China, it is a lightweight plain-weave fabric, with twisted fibres which give crêpe its distinctive ‘pebbly’ look and feel, it comes in many different varieties – crêpe de Chine, Moroccan crêpe and crêpe georgette and can be used for scarves, dresses, suits and evening wear.
Sometimes known as dupion or douppioni,is a plain weave crisp silk fabric which is created with the threads of two different silk worms. When two worms spin their cocoons together, the fingers get tangled up; these naturally tangled fivers are then used together to make the silk thread. The thread is rougher than regular silk, and contains bumps and irregularities where the divers from the two cocoons are combined. It also creates a tightly-woven yardage with a highly lustrous surface.
It is similar to shantung, but slightly thicker, heavier, and with a greater slub (That runs horizontally across the fabric) count, which is part of Dupioni’s character, not defects.
Dupioni tends to resist wrinkles compared with other types of silk, and it also takes creases very well to give the dress made with Dupioni crisp and formal appearance. Besides, it is usually reversible so it is possible to use it making a coat or dress to be worn on both sides,
Dupioni can be woven into plaid and striped patterns; floral or other intrinsic. Dupioni may be also embroidered in any manner desired.
Along with shantung, dupioni is popular in bridal and other formal wear, it is also perfect for dresses, blouses, jackets, skirts as well as handbags.
Varanasi, India is one of the major manufacturers of Dupion. Weavers of nearby villagers, mainly of the Ansari community, have been producing fabrics for generations. The major demands of the Indian wedding industry are met by this city.
Silk Georgette (from crêpe Georgette) is a sheer, lightweight, dull-finished crêpe fabricnamed after the early 20th century French dress maker and milliner Georgette de la Plante.
Georgette is made with highly twisted yarns. Its characteristic crinkly surface is created by alternating S- and Z-twist yarns in both warp and weft. It is springier and less lustrous than the closely related chiffon, which is also sheer and flowing.
Georgette is made in solid colors and prints and is used for bridal gowns, blouses, dresses, evening gowns, saris, sacrves, as well as jackets and shirts, usually for women.
Unlike finer silks such as crepe de chine or chiffon, Georgette is unusually strong and holds up well to varied wear. So it is strong enough embroidering and beading.
83 years after: Homage to Duke of Windsor, from King of England to king of style
"You must believe me when I tell you that I have found it impossible to carry out the heavy burden of responsibility and discharge my duty as King as I would wish to do, without the support of the woman I love"
Thus said former King Edward VIII now Prince of Wales on 11 Dec. 1936 through radio, hours after he gave his throne to his younger brother George VII, ending his reign as the King of England publicly, but started another reign as king of style, which still continues, 83 year after he gave his famous abdication speech.
Edward VIII (Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David was born on 23 June 1894, and he called himself David, the last of his long seven names.
When he was still Prince of Wales, David already showed the sign of a rebel. He was not on time for meetings, even if it was meetings with his father King George V; he wanted to fight as a soldier when the First World War broke; he was the first royal to ever learn flying; he was always involved with married women and hated the idea of being married; he liked to dress as he saw fit instead of following the Royal protocol.
Decades later, in his memoir, Duke of Windsor described how one morning, still Prince of Wales, walked into the breakfast-room, late as usual, wearing a pair of turned up trousers, his father the King looked at him with disgust, and asked: "Is it raining outside?"
And then Prince Edward fell in love with Wallis Simpson, a married American woman who was once divorced.
Even when he became king, Edward VIII continued being a free spirit. He wanted to be exposed to and close to his subjects, including the humble mine workers; he wanted his left profile on the coinage instead of the right one (According to the royal protocol, the succeeding King's profile should be opposite to that of the previous King).
And he wanted to marry Wallis Simpson, now twice divorced, with both husbands alive.
Thus the "Constitutional Crisis", because the government did not want a divorcee and commoner with suspicious and unflattering past to be Queen of England, never. But King Edward VIII wanted to marry Wallis Simpson at any price.
After all attempted persuasions and negotiations between the two parts failed, King Edward VIII made the decision that shocked the world and history: He would gave up his throne to marry the woman he love, and abdicate, ending his 325 days of reign, the shortest in British history.
Within hours after his abdication speech, the former king and emperior, now just Prince of Wales again, was requested to leave his native land, once his kingdom, and was never allowed to go back, except for his mother Queen Mary’s funeral.
In March 1937, Prince Edward was officially titled His Royal Highness Duke Of Windsor, and 3 month later, the Duke finally married Wallis Simpson, now Your Grace Duchess of Windsor.
And for the rest of life, Duke of Windsor lived in permanent exile with his wife in France, apart from 5 year in Panama when he was appointed Governor there.
Some historians call his life empty, frivolous and meaningless, but for fashion history and fashionistas, it could be a blessing in the curse. As Duke of Windsor, he became a style icon, or perhaps the style icon of 20th century for men.
Hollywood actor and dancer Fred Astaire(1899-1987), who was born just a few years later than Duke of Windsor and shared the Duke's physique copied the latter's style enthusiastically and publicly, and became a style icon in his own sake.
Then for Ralph Lauren, the man who created a fashion empire by recreating his own version of New England, Duke of Windsor was his ultimate inspiration for his menswear. Even Giorgio Armani, the Italian who created the "Power Suit" for women with extremely wide shoulder, did something completely different for man's jackets: he made them unstructured and even unlined, just like Duke of Windsor did decades ago with his own jackets.
Even today, the best suit brands in the world, like the ultimate Neapolitan suit maker Kiton, almost always has some Windsor like soft suit in their collection.
The world at large was fascinated by Duke of Windsor and his story, a man who had everything but gave up all for love.
In October 1969, three year before his death, Duke of Windsor agreed to give an interview together with Duchess of Windsor conducted by Kenneth Harris for BBC, and when the interview was broadcasted in 1970, it was watched by 12 million people.
And the theatrical world has never stop fantasizing and dramatizing the life of Duke of Windsor on both small and big screen. Time and again, some creative minds would go back to him, telling his story with a new perception and new cast, so this extraordinary man, born and raised as Prince, reigned as King, and died a Duke, will stay forever in our collective consciousness.
But even without all these creative endeavors, Duke of Windsor has become part of our cultural heritage, at least in the world of fashion. The Prince of Wales Checks and Duke of Windsor Knot(which has nothing to do with him), the soft-collared shirt and soft-shouldered jacket, the disappearance of top hat and persistence of turned-up trousers, all remind us the existence of a man who loves and understands style.
In the same 1970 BBC interview, Kenneth Harris asked Duchess of Windsor what she thought about Duke of Windsor, she said: "He is ahead of his time."
Duke of Windsor died on 28 May 1972 at his home in Paris France of throat cancer.
And so much has changed after his death.
On 9 April 2005, when another Prince of Wales, Duke of Windsor's great nephew Prince Charles married Camilla the divorcee, the Archbishop of Canterbury endorsed the marriage, and Queen Elizabeth II, mother of Prince Charles and niece of Duke of Windsor, blessed the reunion of "My son" and " the woman he loves."
And on 19 May 2018, Prince Harry married Meghan Markle, an American commoner and divorcee, just like Wallis Simpson had been more than eight decades ago.
And yet, something has never changed.
In 1997, when Princess Diana was chased to death by the crazy French paparazzi in a Paris tunnel, it was like a replay of another group of French paparazzi hounding down Wallis Simpson in south France when she was trying to escape the British press, 50 years earlier.
And Duke of Windsor's hat maker The Lock & Co. is now making hats for other Dukes of his family: Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Charles, Duke of Cornwall, as well as the newer generation like Prince Williams, Prince Harry, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle.
What will change and what will not from now on?
Let's just wish the legend and style influence of Duke of Windsor, an extraordinary man who knows what he wants and has the courage to pursue it regardless what others would think, will live on as long as The Lock & Co. , the oldest hat maker in the world, continues to make hats.