When Queen Victoria ascended to the throne in 1837, the world looked to the young royal for far more than a political standpoint and a line of succession. At 18 years old, Victoria represented a new era for regal fashion and inspired everyone from the court to the common woman.
The extravagance of Victorian velvets might seem out of place in a time where athleisure and nonchalant style reigns supreme, but two centuries later, drama is definitely back on the agenda. The evidence? Alberta Ferretti, Valentino and Erdem all showed AW17 collections with elements of Victoriana, while Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood and Rodarte reference gothic romance in their designs season after season.
The renaissance of ruffled blouses and lace-up boots for 2017 is in part thanks to ITV's Victoria. The sumptuous drama sees Jenna Coleman swan around Buckingham Palace in opulent gowns, lush lace and historic gemstones. So inspired by Victoria, we're delving into the influence of Victorian trends on modern fashion, and five ways you can wear the look today.
Designed to slim the waist and give the illusion of a bigger bust and curvier hips, the corset was a Victorian style staple. Originally known as a stay, the bodices of the early 1800s were stiffened with steel boning for evening and everyday wear, highlighting the sensual shape of a woman's body even under layers of lace and long-sleeved dresses.
Nearly 200 years later, the corset has shifted shape somewhat, but is still a mainstay in modern fashion. Take Madonna's iconic Jean Paul Gaultier conical corset in 1990, Vivienne Westwood's Rococo painted corsets from the same year and Alexander McQueen's continued exploration of a restricted bodice in metal, leather and lace.
Today, corsets come in the form of lace-up belts and structured strapless bustiers worn over untucked white shirts. Leave the vintage glamour to Dita von Teese and tone down the look by pairing yours with distressed denim or relaxed suiting.
2. White dresses
At a time when most brides were married in coloured dresses, Queen Victoria's choice of a white silk satin gown wasn't meant to change wedding trends for centuries to come. The virginal hue wasn't picked to represent purity, but instead was meant to boost the struggling lace industry by showcasing the detail and quality in Victoria's Honiton lace trim.
Ever since, white wedding gowns have become an iconic style for brides from every background, royal or otherwise. Take Kate Middleton in custom Alexander McQueen for her wedding to Prince William, or Gwen Stefani's twist on the trend with her pink-dipped wedding dress from 2002.
While a wedding isn't an everyday occurrence, it's easy to take inspiration from Queen Victoria's nuptials for the last days of summer. Look out for white poplin dresses and lace blouses to wear with layered gold jewellery for a modern take on a white wedding.
3. Heirloom jewellery
Queen Victoria had a passion for jewellery, teaming diamond crowns and sapphire brooches with personal pieces collected throughout her reign. Victorians favoured sentimental and symbolic pieces and the Queen was no exception, popularising the charm bracelet by presenting her inner circle with a new charm each New Year. After her beloved husband Albert's death in 1861, Victoria's mourning jewellery of fossilised coal or driftwood, known as jet, also sparked a trend for inky chains, crosses and earrings.
Victorian-inspired jewellery has been seen on the catwalk in supersized proportions. Ricardo Tisci's SS12 couture collection for Givenchy adorned models with crystal-encrusted septum rings and collarbone-skimming earrings, revisiting these styles in jet for AW15, while Dolce & Gabbana are known for their religious iconography and gem-encrusted jewellery.
For everyday, shoulder grazing earrings aren't completely out of the question. Stay on the right side of Pat Butcher with statement earrings in metallic tones, or wear your memories around your wrist with a customised charm bracelet.
4. Luxe fabrics
If there's one word to describe Queen Victoria's wardrobe, it's rich. Her silk and satin evening gowns were trimmed with lace and velvet (Russian velvet was particularly sought after), while dresses, blouses and skirts were fastened with pearl buttons and gemstone brooches. The introduction of synthetic dyes in 1860 also gave way to vivid hues of bold magenta, electric blue and extravagant yellow.
Tactile textiles are nothing new for autumn, so it wasn't a surprise to see Balenciaga, Saint Laurent and Valentino make use of luxe Victorian textures for their AW17 collections. Fabric took a moodier turn at Erdem, where the designer filled his resplendent collection with rich velvets, moody lace and extravagant embroidery.
These textures will dominate the high-street come September, but transitional pieces like velvet kimonos or bomber jackets and embroidered bags will add an element of luxury to your look in an instant.
5. Detailed blouses
When not dressed up in jewel-toned taffeta evening gowns, Victorian women adopted a more casual daytime look of laced-up boots, a long black bustle skirt and, the most iconic item of all, a white blouse with long sleeves, high neck and ruffles. Worn over tightly-laced corsets, leg of mutton sleeves ballooned out at the upper arm before tapering to a tight fit.
The Victorian shirt has shown up on the catwalk in a variety of styles: Temperley London showed both high-necked pieces with ruffles and lace-up details, while Emilia Wickstead focused on voluminous sleeves, luxe textures and gothic fabrics for AW17.
When trying this look for yourself, play with proportion - team a voluminous blouse with skinny cigarette trousers or straight-leg jeans and brogues. For a 2017 twist on the look, shop balloon sleeved knitwear in primary colours.
Watch Victoria on the ITV hub
Research by Molly Masters