The current exhibition at the Queen’s Gallery, “Charles II: Art And Power”, explores the life, glamour and splendour of the returning king. It shows off the glorifying works of art, decorative furniture and other collections that show the lifestyle of the rightful king during the Stuart period (1603 to 1714).
After the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Charles II wanted to restore royal power. He understood that his appearance was the first priority to impress the public, so he became one of the most influential men’s fashion icons in UK history.
The king sensed that French fashion which he previously enjoyed when he lived with Louis XIV in France, was not popular in Britain. The king soon banned ‘French fashion’ in his court in 1666. Instead, Charles II adopted ‘the Parisian vest’ with a suit jacket over the top. The world famous English three-piece suit style was invented! Charles insisted that all the fabric and other material that made up his clothes must be English. Indeed, he was probably the first person to start a fashion revolution in British history.
The display of old master paintings at the exhibition also give the audience an inside view of the life in the Stuart court, with many paintings depicting the king’s fashion style on different occasions. The young king also had excellent taste in jewellery, he would wear different jewellery to suit the different events he attended. Many of the paintings from the Royal Collection Trust depicted how Charles could dress like an ordinary man with simple clothes but still dazzle the audience with carefully matched jewels in details such as rings, brooches, necklaces, buttons and headpieces.
Charles II was for certainly a man who looked after himself carefully, who used his influence in fashion to re-established and strengthen the monarchy in the Stuart time. If you are looking for that special gift for a well-presented English Gentleman, Berganza’s intensive collection of men’s jewellery from Ancient Roman to the Stuart period will certainly provide your Valentine a unique present.