ROLAND MOURET neatly summed up our eternal fascination with Wallis Simpson when he said: “Love or hate her, the world is still obsessed by that woman.” Such is her legacy that some 25 years after her death (and seven decades since the King of England abdicated so he could marry the already-twice divorced Pennsylvanian)
Her clothes were as challenging as her approach to royal etiquette. When Coco Chanel’s boyish Breton tops and trimmed box jackets were de riguer, Simpson was trumping the nipped-in waists and corsetry of American couture designer Main Rousseau Bocher.
Her sharp wit led to a collaboration with Salvadore Dalí, who designed a lobster-print for the Elsa Schiaparelli gown that Simpson wore in Vogue in 1937
However, Simpson was a realist as well as an exhibitionist and said, with a touch of vulnerability: “I’m not a beautiful woman. I’m nothing to look at, so the only thing I can do is dress better than anyone else.”
Simpson may have been ostracised by the British royal family (the couple lived in Bahamas and France after they married), and died alone in France in April 1986, aged 89 – but her legacy to fashion continues to amaze and enthral