It’s no wonder that Karl Lagerfeld chose the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots – Linlithgow Palace – as the venue for Chanel’s Metiers d’Arts show last year, when tartan and tweed was met with white wool gowns with feathers and lace and padded shoulder rolls and pearls, all a nod to an icon who had been executed four centuries earlier. While now it’s Christopher Kane and Louise Gray who bring cool to the capital from Scotland, it was this fashion queen who reigned over the sixteenth century – after growing up at the French court no one was hipper, chicer or more sophisticated than Mary Stuart. And this year, amidst the fun and frivolity of the Fringe the recently re-vamped National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh is hosting the must-see show of the festival, the life and times of this queen whose tired head ended up reposing upon the block. 200 glittering objects together, amassed from the Royal Household and many private collections, tell her tale. Portraits show her power-dressing, tapestries woven by her during captivity in England with her hostess, Bess of Hardwick, hang on the walls while the Darnley Jewel, a gold enamelled locket set with rubies and emeralds is a dazzling reminder of the passionate romance with the teen heartthrob Henry, Lord Darnley whose increasing immaturity would lead to his murder and the unravelling of Mary’s power. It was her pearls though, then considered the finest in Europe, which her cousin Elizabeth snapped up can still be seen in the Tower of London. What next? A film of course. The men behind ‘Notting Hill’ are producing with Saorsie Ronan said to be cast in the title role. A timely tribute to Scotland’s original queen of fashion.
Until 17th October
Contributing Editor: Richard Dennen