Vanity Fair: Windsor Dressing

Posted on August 17, 2011

Vanity Fair has a bunch of pretty pictures  featuring the stars and costumes from Madonna’s upcoming directorial debut, W.E., about the lives of Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson.

James D’Arcy and Andrea Riseborough as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, photographed at West Wycombe House, Buckinghamshire, England.

“For her feature-length directorial debut, W.E., Madonna has drilled into the obsessively stylish saga of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, whose romance rocked the British Empire and shocked the world. Naturally, as Krista Smith reports—and photographer Tom Munro confirms—the costumes had to be couture-perfect.”

D’Arcy wears clothing designed by Arianne Phillips
in collaboration with Dunhill; ring by Cartier.

Riseborough and D’Arcy in two of the period costumes
for the Windsors designed by Arianne Phillips.

“It was easy to get swept up in the historical relevance and epic romance of Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII,” Madonna says. “The fact that they were also the fashion icons of their day added to their allure for me. Wallis was the epitome of style and grace, and Andrea Riseborough captured this and so much more.”

D’Arcy and Riseborough at West Wycombe House.

“The fashions, modeled here by Riseborough and D’Arcy, were the special domain of Madonna’s longtime collaborator Arianne Phillips. The Oscar-nominated costume designer worked with such labels as Cartier, Dior, and Dunhill for the 60 or so wardrobe changes in the film. “Wallis and the Duke both made a lifestyle out of presentation. . . . It was a beautiful façade,” says Phillips. “He said that because she never got a title he gave her jewelry to make her feel royal.”

D’Arcy wears clothing designed by Arianne Phillips in collaboration with Dunhill.

Andrea Riseborough as Wallis Simpson and James D’Arcy as King Edward VIII, photographed at West Wycombe House, Buckinghamshire, England.

Riseborough wears clothing by Christian Dior for the film; jewelry by Cartier for the film.

Riseborough wears a headpiece by Stephen Jones Millinery for the film; earrings and brooch by Alexis Bittar for the film.

We don’t hold out a lot of hope for this film. Madonna has never really managed much in the way of success outside her pop ambitions and we suspect the final product here will be all surface; beautiful clothes and interiors, but little in the way of emotion or storytelling. We had to laugh when we saw the pictures because while Wallis and Edward were in some ways a striking couple, they were nowhere near as good-looking or glamorous as these two. Because Madonna’s in charge, it’s not surprising that the clothes are stunning and impeccable. We’d quibble with some of the historical accuracy because some of these look like modern reinterpretations of ’30s clothes rather than recreations of ’30s clothes; like a Marc Jacobs version of the ’30s. The blue and white striped dress and the zig-zag suit are gorgeous, though.

[Photo Credit: Tom Munro for  vanityfair.com]

    • Anonymous

      Clothes and styling: beautiful. Madonna’s understanding of Wallis Simpson: off the mark.  “The epitome of style and grace?”  She was a Nazi sympathizer, for crying out loud!

      • Anonymous

        And yeah she was impeccably dressed at all times as was her husband the duke, but she wasn’t a gorgeous woman and he wasn’t a stunning man. 

        • Anonymous

          That’s true, but Henry VIII didn’t look like anything like Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and you’d never mistake Bob Woodward for Robert Redford. Hollywood doesn’t understand anything but gorgeous and stunning.

          • Anonymous

            Well he sure didn’t when he was an old fart.  lol  Though all accounts of him as a young man said he was an extremely attractive, well built man.

            Insofar as Hollywood is concerned, I suppose we must allow them that.  We do all love our pretty after all.

            • Anonymous

              Ha! Good point about young v. old Henry. I should have used another example.  But there are 1000s to pick from, and it boggles my mind.

            • Anonymous

              Even as a young man, Henry VIII was the polar physical opposite of Jonathan Rhys Meyers!

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=621974740 Carolyn Wilson

            Plus Henry VIII was riddled with syphilis and that’s never attractive.

        • http://twitter.com/applecocola Stacy

          I remember reading that Wallis wasn’t beautiful, but she made you believe she was beautiful.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NMIFZ6A7BHP66M546AO77BWVQ4 Bonnie

            I remember reading a book about the Duke and Duchess of Windsor in which someone described Wallis Simpson as having the ability to make whoever she was speaking to feel as if they were the only person in the world, so perhaps that was part of what made people believe she was beautiful.

            • Anonymous

              It’s a very compelling quality. 

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1286501614 Maryann Sasaki

            She was abolutely fastidious in her grooming. A marvel really.

      • Anonymous

        Thank you!!!!

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GFMOZFM3WT3T56EZHVZFK7UXSI Ramon

        Well, people can be attractive while being morally repugnant. I won’t name names, but look at “The A-List.”

        • Anonymous

          Of course they can.  I was commenting on Madonna’s description of Wallis Simpson as “the epitome of grace.”

      • Helen C

        The same can be said about Coco Chanel.  

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1286501614 Maryann Sasaki

        Really. They were as far away from “rebellious” as could possibly be. Maybe one of the best things that ever happened to England was Wallis Simpson. They were buddies with Hitler, and from what I understand were ferreted away owing mainly to their embarrassing loyalty with respect thereto.

    • Anonymous

      I’m sure I’ll go see it, just for all the clothes and lavish interiors, but an actress and director she is not. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Margaret-Carlson-Nikoleit/100002490979930 Margaret Carlson Nikoleit

      Those clothes ARE stunning.

      I might have to watch (eventually, when it’s on basic cable or something) just to see those costumes and sets. Love the period look!

    • Anonymous

      Waaa!! Why don’t we dress like this? I’m sure it was a lot of trouble, but, just . . . waaa!

      • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

        You can if you want:)  I’m almost always the overdressed one in a room.

        • Anonymous

          Me, too. I live in a granola university town where everyone wears Birkenstocks and fleece all the time. I am almost always overdressed for everything. But I’ve decided I’m ok with that.

      • Anonymous

        It’s a good thing that we (meaning society in general) don’t dress like that. You can dress like that if you want to – it’ll even make people immediately interested in you for your eccentricity. But you also don’t have to dress that way to be appropriately dressed. Everybody wins.

        • Anonymous

          Oh, I’m way too casual to dress like that. Ever. And truthfully I’m glad that things aren’t so restrictive any more. I was just getting swept away by the beauty. Especially the last picture, the b&w.

          • Anonymous

            I assumed you weren’t entirely serious. (I would have been disappointed if you were – and would you want to disappoint a complete stranger on the internet? Perish the thought.) It’s just one of those things that kind of gets to me, because people sometimes do mean it earnestly and that worries me.

            I get caught up in the beauty of period clothing too (though the 30s aren’t my era) and have to remind myself that gorgeous period dress was frequently designed to make one look pretty and to prevent one from doing anything other than looking pretty.

            • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

              I do wish people gave a little more thought to what they wear — there are comfortable clothes that aren’t ugly!  I swear!  But I would hate to go back to the restrictive clothing that went to extremes (like girdles — every time I try to eat in even control tops I get sick, I can’t imagine having to do it all the time!)  or clothing trends that were so ridiculously narrow that you couldn’t buy something flattering if your body type wasn’t in vogue at the moment.

    • Anonymous

      I love a good, well-done, English costume drama. However, knowing that Madonna’s name is attached to this I don’t have high hopes for a quality film. But you have to give it to her for trying. Since she’s getting a bit long in the tooth (such as I) it’s nice to see that she’s exploring options other than performance. Incidentally, the clothes are absolutely divine!

    • Anonymous

      I love a good, well-done, English costume drama. However, knowing that Madonna’s name is attached to this I don’t have high hopes for a quality film. But you have to give it to her for trying. Since she’s getting a bit long in the tooth (such as I) it’s nice to see that she’s exploring options other than performance. Incidentally, the clothes are absolutely divine!

    • lilibetp

      They are MUCH too attractive to play the Duke and Duchess of Windsor!  Clothes look nice, though.

    • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

      Wallis Simpson was often a striking woman, but not a particularly beautiful (in the traditional sense).  And the epitome of grace doesn’t sleep around that damn much when she’s married — she cheated on every man she was ever with, including Edward! 

      Not to mention the fact that she was a Nazi (probably because she thought that the Nazis would beat Great Britain and then they’d give her the title), and Edward supported the Nazis as well, mainly so he wouldn’t have to make any effort to stop them — that might have been actual work!  And I have no sympathy for a man that abdicates his throne as his country is facing a crisis.  If he’d been any sort of a leader, he would have stayed and opposed the Axis powers, and waited to abdicate until the situation was resolved. 

      I have no use for either of them, and it honestly makes me think far worse of Madonna that she choose THIS to be her debut.  Especially after her only decent film role was playing the wife of a man who protected Nazi war criminals.  Seems to me like she should be trying to get away from the Nazi-friendly characters.

      • Anonymous

        And from what I’ve heard, from a nice little old lady who happened to be fabulously wealthy and actually entertained the couple at dinner parties in Palm Beach, they were cheap and grasping and lived off their “friends,” and not all that elegant and well-bred. So Madonna, get your facts straight. If she made a film about how they actually were, now THAT might be interesting. As it is, it looks like it’s going to be a moving editorial magazine spread.

        • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

          I’ve never met anyone like that, but I know they lived WAY beyond their means.  She had been married to very wealthy men before Edward, but courts didn’t give out alimony and support the way they do now.  She may have gotten some, but not as much as one might think.  And all of his assets before abdicating stayed with the royals.  He got an allowance from his brother of something like 10,000 pounds a month (I think — I know it was close) which sounds like a lot in pre-inflation dollars, but really doesn’t go that far considering their lifestyle.  And when QEII took the throne, she cut that by quite a bit. 

          And I could care less how much they had or how much they spent — they were still vapid, useless boils on the ass of humanity who were NAZI SYMPATHIZERS!  As for their great romance, she spent the rest of her life talking about how boring he and their relationship were, so I’m not really buying that line either.

      • Anonymous

        And from what I’ve heard, from a nice little old lady who happened to be fabulously wealthy and actually entertained the couple at dinner parties in Palm Beach, they were cheap and grasping and lived off their “friends,” and not all that elegant and well-bred. So Madonna, get your facts straight. If she made a film about how they actually were, now THAT might be interesting. As it is, it looks like it’s going to be a moving editorial magazine spread.

      • Anonymous

        To ber fair, abdicating the throne was probably the best thing Edward ever did for his country.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sarah-Adams/1143985903 Sarah Adams

          THIS / I’m not at all impressed with Madonna for making a pic romanticizing these two losers. 

        • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

          Oh without a doubt!  Wallis Simpson was the best thing to ever happen to Great Britain, and one of the best to happen to the world — WWII would have been very different with Edward on the throne.

    • Anonymous

      I will watch, because I have made it my life’s mission to experience any movie about British royalty.  I haven’t seen a movie or miniseries about Edward and Wallis that didn’t ultimately bore me.  I suspect because they were ultimately kinda boring.  Based on the pictures alone, these two don’t look like great actors.  The clothes are great though.  Seems like the designer has gone beyond copying clothes from old photos of Edward and Wallis.

      How do you suppose the British really feel about Madonna?

      • http://twitter.com/lois_abigail Lois Cameron

        Andrea Riseborough is a brilliant actress – just because she’s not a model, doesn’t mean she can’t act. She was a young Mrs Thatcher in a BBC drama a few years ago and she absolutely nailed it, not to mention the pilot of Being Human.

        • Anonymous

          Good to know.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t know how I feel about Madonna doing this film. It could be interesting if, told honestly, a nazi lover and a social climbing opportunist. Hmmmm, I just don’t think Madonna has the skills to convey the truth of who these people were. I have a feeling she will go the, romantic he gave up the throne for his one true love route. Anyhooo, pics look nice very old school british. And yes, the actors portraying the couple are more attractive.

      • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

        Which only would have worked if she’d made the film in the ’40s.  You know, before the world discovered just how close they were to Hitler, and that she’d been screwing around from the day they met, and that she made statements in the press that essentially said that she was trapped in their relationship because of his abdication for her, even though she was bored with him.

        • Anonymous

          I think Madonna may believe she’s in the 40s, just like she believes she is now a british subject ,hence the hard british accent. Hell, wouldn’t surprise
          me to find out she thinks she’s related to the Queen! That crazy Madge.

          • Andrea Rossillon

            I know everyone rags on Madonna for her British accent, acquired since
            she moved to England–but I wish I knew how much of it was pretension,
            and how much of it is because she is (I suspect) something of a mimic–
            What I mean is, I didn’t have a southern accent growing up, but I’ve
            lived in Alabama for 12 years now and to my friends and family I sound
            southern. But to the southerners, I still sound like a yankee. And my
            friend from Wisconsin has noticeably rounder vowels than he did when he
            first moved here, and he says his family and friends also tell him he
            sounds southern.

            So whenever people rag on Madonna’s accent, I always have to wonder, how
            much of it is just her natural acquisition of the accent of those
            around her? I wouldn’t be surprised to find out she has a pretty good
            “ear” and that at least part of it is unconscious.

            • Anonymous

              That is a very valid point indeed. Most of us to one degree or another do this same thing unconsciously, all the time.

            • Anonymous

              As someone from a non-English speaking country, I can tell you that whenever I speak English to a ‘Westerner’, I will adjust my accent to suit theirs, whether it’s American, British, Australian etc. Otherwise it’s just that much harder for them to understand what I’m saying. (Of course, it then gets awfully hard when I’m talking to a mixed bunch…)

        • http://www.facebook.com/WendyLKaufman Wendy Kaufman

          So, sure sounds like he used her as an excuse to abdicate. 

          • Anonymous

            More like she was used as an excuse to force him to abdicate once his closeness to the Nazis was discovered. 

            • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

              It was both actually.  He didn’t want the headaches of the job, only the priviledges.  And Parliament wanted him out — as evidenced by the fact that a morganistic marriage was proposed as a possible solution (one in which children cannot enter the line of succession) I think by the Australian PM, though I may be mistaken about that part.  Parliament refused to go for it, because they didn’t trust him, especially if she remained in his life.

        • Anonymous

          Not to mention she was quite the dominatrix, by many accounts — making him publicly get down on his knees and pretend to be a dog to beg for something, for example.  The actress captures her tight, bitchy expression quite well in the first few photographs. She was a real piece of work.  She set out to snag him, and then found herself stuck with him.  And he was SO vapid and stupid and boring that just being in his company was quite excruciating for any intelligent folk. 

          • Anonymous

            Eve Best in “The King’s Speech” definitely captures this quality of Missus Windsor — while being outrageously stylish and charismatic.  That actress made the most of her limited screen time, and justified the sense of crisis surrounding the relationship.

          • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

            She set out to snag the TITLE not the man.  She begged him not to abdicate (for many reasons, the two dominant ones being that it would lessen her usefulness to her Nazi friends and eliminate any hope for her rising to Queen.)  I think she honestly believed that once the Nazis took power, he could marry her and make her Queen if he stayed on the throne.  It wouldn’t matter if Parliament resigned in protest then — in fact, it would have been a perfect way of grabbing some power back for the monarchy.

        • Anonymous

          Not to mention she was quite the dominatrix, by many accounts — making him publicly get down on his knees and pretend to be a dog to beg for something, for example.  The actress captures her tight, bitchy expression quite well in the first few photographs. She was a real piece of work.  She set out to snag him, and then found herself stuck with him.  And he was SO vapid and stupid and boring that just being in his company was quite excruciating for any intelligent folk. 

    • Judy_J

      The clothes are beautiful.  Actors playing Wallis and Edward are also beautiful….too beautiful, actually.  It sounds to me like Madge is making their story into some kind of fairytale, and it just doesn’t ring true. The historical facts aren’t as pretty.

    • Anonymous

      The 1st, 3rd and 4th pictures are stunning!  But the colors are all wrong on the 5th (D’arcy by himself with the dog.)

    • scottyf

      Was it Tennyson, or Oprah who said:
      “It is better to have Executive Produced, than to have acted in and/or directed weak crap.”?

      Whichever said it, the clothes are beautiful.

      • Anonymous

        I’m voting for Tennyson, myself.

    • Anonymous

      What was it about Wallis Simpson???… not at all attractive, and yet the sum of the parts resulted in an unforgettable image.  “you can never be too thin or too rich”  But what a vapid, sad duo they made…. Romance, I think not… maybe “merger”

      • Anonymous

        From the accounts I’ve read/heard, they became even more vapid and sad as they aged. They never built a meaningful life together, but just continued to travel and go to parties. In the end they were pathetic and empty.

        Maybe in the beginning it was about romance, or, to be blunt, lust. Intense sexual attraction can make people do crazy, stupid things, especially if it’s forbidden. I think this was an extreme example of that, considering everything Edward had to give up.

        • Anonymous

          Lucky for Britain he did and Britain wasn’t stuck with him as King.

        • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

          I think it was more codependency than either love or lust.

    • MilaXX

      That blue and white striped dress is gorgeous! I have no interest at all in this movie, but this is a pretty photoshoot.

    • aimee_parrott

      I don’t imagine I’ll be paying to see the movie, even as a rental, but the clothes sure are pretty.  Maybe if it’s on cable I could watch it with the sound off just to see the clothes, because I’m sure not expecting much in the way of emotion or storytelling from Madge.

    • Anonymous

      He seems to have more chemistry with that dog than with her, to be honest.

      • Anonymous

        OMG you’re so RIGHT!

    • greathill

      I agree, they are way too attractive.  Plus, and this is a big PLUS – the Windsors had pugs, not westies or whatever those pooches are.  They loved them so much the dogs were on the Duke’s bedside when he died.  Big mistake; David would be very disappointed.

      • Anonymous

        Well I was pretty unaffected about this film before – except for the period fashion – but the mention of possible pug citings has me sitting up and taking notice.

        • greathill

          love your picture!  I’ll have to find a similar one.  we pug people stick together!

      • Anonymous

        Thank you, greathill – pugs it was, and pugs were the obvious dog for the couple.  I’m not going to try and explain but I think other dog people understand what I mean.  I hope this is a crew member’s dog and not a dog that they used in the film because this will get made much fun of.

    • Anonymous

      This movie will boil down to this – a fabulous photo shoot.  I love everything here.  But for the story of Wallis Simpson and Duke of Windsor, I will look elsewhere.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1248212910 Jessie Melcher Brown

      They were an attractive couple.  http://theroyalcorrespondent.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/wallis-simpson-3.jpg but it would be a more accurate film with “less pretty” people.  I bet the clothes will be awesome and hopefully the pattern companies will follow :-)

      • Anonymous

        I have a slightly less issue with the prettiness factor than I do with the disparity in height. At least in the King’s Speech they cast the fab Eve Best with Guy Pearce and they approximated the Wallis and Edward were the same height. This is the first time I’ve seen him taller than she, and this is not a couple unfamiliar to film or popular media.

        • Anonymous

          I just had the thought, a Wallis + Edward movie starring Pearce & Best would be well worth the ticket price, and would surely go to the psycho-political depths.   And they would look good, as a kind of stubborn “so-there.”

          • Courtney Ashe

            A sequel to “The King’s Speech.”

          • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

            I KNOW!  I said if she wanted to do a movie about them, she should have gotten Guy Pierce at least — he was amazing!  I can’t accept anyone else as Edward now.  (In fact, I’m going to struggle mightily to like Pierce after that — just like Mark Harmon and Ted Bundy:(  )

    • Anonymous

      Gorgeous, even if they are ’30s-esque’ instead of actual period garb. I also love the herringbone suit and blue & white dress. But I NEED that black & white blazer. Maybe its the B&W photography, but it looks stunning!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JSGAZPEESHQT47ATH55GNOHHBY Erin

      Madonna is making a(n almost certainly bad) movie glorifying a known Nazi sympathizer?  (See link below.)  This is going to be *hilarious*. 

      Wait, this has to be more celebrity performance art, like she does, right?  No such thing as bad publicity?  She can’t possibly be this stupid, can she?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Duke_and_Duchess_of_Windsor_meet_Adolf_Hitler_1937.jpg

    • Anonymous

      Genius, clothing and styling! I’m with Inforapenny, I thought Wallis Simpson was suspected of being Nazi Sympathizer? Great role model Madge!

    • Anonymous

      I hear ya. They were not that gorgeous and she was certainly not that thin. 

      These are designed to emulate the 30′s but clearly sewn with modern technique, which makes them “too perfect”. Look at the blue and white striped summer dress (gorge, btw) If you look at real vintage clothes they don’t sit on the body that smoothly and closely. 

      And Madonna’s interpretation of the situation is nothing less than I’d expect from her: the poor misunderstood American, the couple in love caught in this unfair scandal.  

      • Andrea Rossillon

        I dunno, I went to a lecture given by the woman who curated their things for Christie’s (or the other auction house, I forget?), and she said the Duchess’ clothes were tiny, tiny, tiny, with 20″ waists.

      • Anonymous

        She was quite thin.

        I’d disagree on sewing techniques. Couture methods haven’t changed much at all, and comparable quality clothes will fit equally as well. Granted there have been advancements in textiles, but not so much in method.Generally my complaint is that modern clothes don’t lie as smoothly due to the shunning of the proper foundations :)

        • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

          I think it was true of what most people wore, but Wallis Simpson was hardly “most people”.

          • Anonymous

            Exactly. A lot of fit issues would be down to home sewing, re-using fabric and altering garments so they might not hang right. But that can’t be said of good quality or couture garments. I’ve got a 1940s Lilly Anne suit, it’s far superior to it’s equivalent today.

    • Anonymous

      Arianne Phillips is a great costume designer – she did the costumes for A Single Man and Walk the Line – so I will be excited to see all of her work here.  Wallis Simpson knew she was unattractive, and she conscientious made up for that by being the most stylish woman in the room.

    • http://profiles.google.com/awilsongirl Amy Wilson

      Historical inaccuracy aside, thse clothes give me goose bumps. Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. I am tempted to buy this issue of VF solely to gaze at them in print.

    • Anonymous

      Can’t wait to see the film.  Madonna may surprise us.  Have everything on Wallis and Edward, “WE”, that I could get my hands on. 

      Wouldn’t it be great if the film is fabulous and Madonna gets nominted for a Directoral Osacr?

      • http://thememorexe.com memorexe

        Don’t hold your breath, many things Madonna is capable of– but directing is not one of them. By the way, she had another “directorial debut” a few years ago: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1042499/

    • Anonymous

      Love the clothes, hate the poses. 

    • Rand Ortega

      Good Lord, James D’Arcy is a dead ringer for a young Ralph Fiennes. Never found the 2 subjects very interesting. Madonna as (any type of) director? It is to laugh.

      • Anonymous

        I was wondering if he was from the Fiennes clan – he looks eerily like them, especially in profile.

    • Jessica Rowe

      James D’Arcy?  Oh yes yes yes!  PLEASE!  Master and Commander would have been nothing without you, Mr. D’Arcy.  And I still dream I can be Prince Harry’s Wallis Simpson.  I am from Bmore, after all!

    • Anonymous

      I barely recognized D’Arcy as a blonde. He looks like the lost Fiennes brother in some of these shots. As you said, this all *looks* lovely, but I’m weary of romanticizing of a pair of weak (him) and ruthlessly social-climbing (her) Nazi sympathizers. Pass.

      • Anonymous

        My feelings exactly. They were both vile. 

    • up with pod people

      Haha, Riseborough even faintly resembles her. She’s going to completely erase the Nazi stuff, isn’t she.

    • http://twitter.com/jennawaterford Jenna Waterford

      When will people stop glamorizing these two useless, self-involved, tacky, Nazi-sympathizing fuckers? I mean HONESTLY!

    • Anonymous

      My first thought when looking at these pictures was…’They WISH they looked as good as these people!’ Also, what’s the deal with the deal with the no title/jewelry comment in the interview? She did have a title – Duchess of Windsor. And that chevron-print dress in the third and last photos is stunning, no matter what era it came from.

      That said, they are not a couple to be admired. They were Nazi supporters early on (visited Hitler on their honeymoon!), and caused George VI a lot of grief during WWII. They were really just useless pains in the ass.

      • Scott Hester-Johnson

        And Edward was a bit of an idiot to boot.

      • Andrea Rossillon

        I think he meant, that she wasn’t “Her Royal Highness” or the queen.

        • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

          She was never given the “Her Royal Highness” styling, which she would normally have received (if she wasn’t so hated) as his wife.  But since pretty much EVERYONE in the Royal Family despised her, it was never granted as a very public snub.  By royal standards, it’s the “…Highness” styling that’s important, not the Duchess part. 

          And she’s lucky she even got that — the only reason Edward was made Duke of Windsor was kindness from his brother.   

      • Joshau Norton

        Edward wanted her to be given an “H.R.H.” elevation. George VI and the rest of the Windsor absolutely refused to even consider it. And she never got it.

        • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

          She wanted it as well.  But since they didn’t even have to give HIM a title…

          • Anonymous

            Understand what is being said about the HRH. Sort of like when they took that away from Diana, even though she remained Princess of Wales.

            Anyway…I agree, she was lucky to be Duchess of Windsor, although I’m sure they didn’t see it that way.  Still think these two shouldn’t be idolized.

          • Anonymous

            Understand what is being said about the HRH. Sort of like when they took that away from Diana, even though she remained Princess of Wales.

            Anyway…I agree, she was lucky to be Duchess of Windsor, although I’m sure they didn’t see it that way.  Still think these two shouldn’t be idolized.

            • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

              Essentially, a lot of people have titles.  The HRH is what denotes your position close to the throne, which is why it was also removed from Diana.   

    • Anonymous

      Am I the only person who looked at these and, at first, thought of Austin Scarlett?

      Aside from that, Edward & Wallis were more tawdry than romantic. Aside from the fact that he was nothing but a spoiled, amoral rich kid, they were both Nazis. The world, and especially Britain, is very lucky that he abdicated.

      –GothamTomato

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1414091387 Florrie Brafman

      Period costumes in films are always (or almost always) filtered through the lens of today’s aesthetic.  I remember going to a wonderful exhibit in Boston (at the Gardner, I think; it was AGES ago) on just that subject.  I particularly their comparison between the costumes, hair, and makeup from Claudette Colbert’s Cleopatra and Elizabeth Taylor’s.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1414091387 Florrie Brafman

      Period costumes in films are always (or almost always) filtered through the lens of today’s aesthetic.  I remember going to a wonderful exhibit in Boston (at the Gardner, I think; it was AGES ago) on just that subject.  I particularly their comparison between the costumes, hair, and makeup from Claudette Colbert’s Cleopatra and Elizabeth Taylor’s.

    • Anonymous

      fucking gorgeous clothes and photographs

    • http://twitter.com/PsychicMuppet Bitsy Carver

      Gorgeous! I know it’s Madonna but I can’t wait for this movie!!!!

    • Anonymous

      they were nowhere near as good-looking or glamorous as these two

      Yep.  My first thought was, “She’s way too good-looking to portray Wallis Simpson.”

      On the other hand, I don’t care if the clothes are accurate (well, for purposes of the film, I do. For purposes of “pretty”, I don’t).  They’re gorgeous!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1260924501 Frank Butterfield

      I’m surprised no one else has made this comparison, but when I first saw this article, I immediately thought of Madonna playing Evita.

      So, here’s another real-life story centered around the same point in history about a woman with Fascism on her mind. 

      I do remember that Madonna made a few comments about Eva Peron being misunderstood when the movie premiered.  And, of course, there is that famous private conversation that Madonna had with Argentinian President Carlos Menem that was supposedly the reason why he allowed filming of the Casa Rosada in Buenos Aires.

      • Scott Hester-Johnson

        Spot on, Frank.

        Next up, Madonna IS Eva Braun!

        • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

          Yep, and that’s why I’ve never seen Evita — I have no interest in how poor Eva Peron was just “misunderstood” when she protected men who had the blood of tens of millions on their hands.

    • Anonymous

      I kind of love Madonna’s sheer kabbalah-infused chutzpah:  “I want to be British!  I want to write a children’s book!  I want to direct a period piece!”  And thus, she does.  She may be off the mark, but she is totally powerful and fearless.  A lot of women are afraid to make mistakes–Madonna just does whatever she wants.  Maybe her directing will even improve over time.

    • Toto Maya

      I think they are all gorgeous. Maybe not historically accurate, but let’s face it, the point is the clothes, which I think are stunning.

    • Anonymous

      The clothes are pretty, but the fact that Madonna looks at these repulsive Nazi creeps and sees “epic romance” …?

      Barf.

    • Anonymous

      This seems like particularly bad timing, right after The King’s Speech gave most contemporary Americans pretty much their first look at the couple (and not a pleasant one.) I have to say, from the little poking around I did after the movie, the picture looked pretty spot-on, too. I haven’t got the slightest interest in watching a couple of self-serving Nazi sympathizers swan around in pretty clothes and lament the great tragedy of not getting an HRH tacked on her name.

      • Anonymous

        If The King’s Speech is most contemporary Americans’ introduction to this couple, all I can say is “wow.”  But I’m an old fart.

        • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

          Sadly, it’s probably true.  British royal history isn’t really discussed much among Americans, and the points you get in history class all boil down to “He was King.  He was in love with an American divorcee.  He gave up the throne for her.”  without any mention of the actual PEOPLE involved.

      • Anonymous

        If The King’s Speech is most contemporary Americans’ introduction to this couple, all I can say is “wow.”  But I’m an old fart.

    • Anonymous

      If the movie is all about how these gorgeously dressed useless facist moronic parasites were truly loathsome, I’m all for it. 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EDI2DLE7DE3YPW2ONIHBWOVHMA ecallaw

      I googled them because I wanted to see more pictures, and Wallis looks to me like she could be Matthew Morrison’s sister.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/01/wallis-simpson-auction-fa_n_829814.html

    • Anonymous

      Well, it’s a good choice for Madonna, given her career being essentially about image and style.  The historical reality of this couple is really quite vapid and dreadful but that’s why they’re a good choice for Madonna’s directorial debut:  She was ambitious as hell, “no such thing as too rich or too thin,” married very very well.  Couple her to him, born to be King of England, for heavens’ sake, with a remarkable tailor from the get-go.  All Madonna really has to do is put them in pretty clothes in pretty settings.  I really hope she hasn’t tried to grapple with the politics or, well, the reality of this story.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Catherine-Rhodes/602850414 Catherine Rhodes

      The actors in the movie version of history are ALWAYS more attractive than the real people. This shouldn’t come as a big revelation, TLo. There’s no way the real Henry 8 was as smoking hot as Jonathan Rhys Meyers, for example.

      • Anonymous

        I doubt that King Henry had a sixpack.  Even though he was supposed to have been quite a beautiful man in his youth.

        • Anonymous

          I always assumed the casting of Meyers was deliberately against type for shock value (I mean, even the hair color is completely wrong).  A young Robert Shaw however…

          • Anonymous

            I always wanted Stephen Waddington to be cast as a younger Henry VIII. He’s not far off physically.

            Jonathan Rhy Meyers was the most ridiculous piece of casting in the history of ridiculous casting! But then the whole thing was just silly.

        • Anonymous

          FWIW contemporary reports of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon were that they were a spectacularly beautiful couple, with their red hair, his great height and athletic prowess.  So you might say that Jonathan Rhys Meyers was not really as ‘hot’ as a young Henry Tudor….

          • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

            But spectacular beauty at the time does not translate to beauty now.  Meyers is good-looking by modern standards, which is entirely different.

    • http://needtherapy.tumblr.com skadi1

      So, do the movie title initials “W.E.” stand for Wallis and Edward?  I guess I see why she didn’t go with the more proper Edward and Wallis.

      • http://profiles.google.com/gillianholroyd gillian holroyd

        He used to write the most pathetic sick-making notes about “a boy” missing “a girl” and then sign it WE. It was their private name for each other. 

        My quibble is that Mrs Simpson was in her late 30s when this all happened and the actress playing her looks too young.

    • Anonymous

      I believe Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, hated “Mrs. Simpson of Baltimore” with a passion unabated for her 102 years. Refused to allow her body to be interred in England because “that woman” killed her husband. In the Q Mum’s eyes, George VI died as a result of being thrust into the position of King, a role he did not want. (He really had lung cancer) When I think of the Queen Mum sipping gin and loathing the Duchess for 70 years, I get a delightful shiver. 

      • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

        Oh yeah… really really hated her.  I mean, I’m willing to throw a lot of things on Wallis Simpson, but somehow I suspect smoking 3 packs a day probably had more effect on George VI’s lungs than the throne did. 

        But she also never wanted to be Queen — in fact, she turned down his initial proposal because of his title.  And she didn’t particularly want that life for her daughters either.  Had Edward done his duty, he would have reigned until his death in ’72 and left behind at least a couple heirs, keeping her family far enough down the line of succession they could have real lives.

    • http://twitter.com/enuma enuma

       I can’t help but be a little horrified that a woman so enamored with Jewish mysticism is so hell-bent on making flattering movies about Nazi sympathizers. 

      • http://profiles.google.com/trashilove { edi } ilovetrash

        ibid ibid ibid, it’s really nice not to have to write all this stuff myself.

    • Anonymous

      Chance missed, Madge, to give a meaty role to an older actress.  Shame on you.

    • Anonymous

      One of my favorite eras for women’s and men’s clothing. Love every article of clothing depicted here. Just gorgeous.

    • Anonymous

      Wallis and Edward were in some ways a striking couple, they were nowhere near as good-looking or glamorous as these two

      Edward was considered very good looking. Wallis was famous for being, objectively speaking, a fairly unattractive woman who somehow managed to look glamorous and attractive.

    • http://twitter.com/Mopsythebunny Lucy Bates

      Pretty pictures even with that irritating prat Andrea Riseborough.

      The film holds no appeal for me, unless it is to see how they attempt to skip over the unpleasant aspects of the couple, actually no, I can’t face it.  

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GFMOZFM3WT3T56EZHVZFK7UXSI Ramon

      I have a feeling “The King’s Speech” said more about the Duke of Windsor than Madonna will in her whole movie.

    • Anonymous

      i will go see this strictly for the costumery, guaranteed.  the two print dresses are setting my fashion loins ablaze, and i love the satin as well as the white-on-black graphic dress, too.  all the menswear looks are giving me life, too ~ that man can wear a suit!

    • Anonymous

      I’m shaking my head over the fact that Madonna is a fangirl of Wallis Simpson’s. Shouldn’t be surprised, though. Madge is talented, ruthless and incredibly savvy… but also apparently a pretty stupid broad. Her extreme fame and privilege protects her from being considered a vapid twit, but it shouldn’t. Nice clothes. The movie will certainly romanticize these two vile parasites.

      • http://profiles.google.com/trashilove { edi } ilovetrash

        ibid, redux.

      • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

        Cunning but not particularly bright. 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_F3HKIK7MIJMBDAQBDWEAQDTXUM theneva

      “Madonna has never really managed much in the way of success outside her pop ambitions and we suspect the final product here will be all surface; beautiful clothes and interiors, but little in the way of emotion or storytelling.”

      That’s actually (and ironically) the most perfect outcome we could wish for for this movie because all style and no substance describes Wallis and Edward to a T. At a time when the UK’s resources were strained to the breaking point and international communication between leaders risky, the Duke of Windsor was harassing Churchill for funds to redecorate the governor’s mansion in the Bahamas and, as always, demanding an HRH for his duchess. Churchill’s reaction was “Having voluntarily resigned the finest throne in the world, it would be natural to treat all minor questions of ceremony and precedence as entirely beneath your interest and dignity.” :D

      So… yeah. I’m really rooting for this movie to be interesting to look at, but completely superficial and worthless, just like its subject matter. Anything less wouldn’t feel right.

      • Anonymous

        Agreed.
        He was an inbreed imbecile. And she a vicious social climbing whore. Nazi sympathizers, both.  Truely, the greatest thing she ever did was keep him off the English throne.

        • http://profiles.google.com/trashilove { edi } ilovetrash

          ibid.

        • Anonymous

          Ditto.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_T53WBEPGJZ7MMMZC4O563YU5HA Observer

      I’ll probably have to see it for the sets and costumes.  Fortunately I’m shallow enough to enjoy that aspect even if the movie itself sucks.  The clothes from the 30′s to most of the 50′s could be so stylish even doing war time.  There were of course plenty of frumps just like today; I pretty much fit that catagory, a real whiner if I have to wear a tie.  I do appreciate the people that do put some effort in dressing however.

      • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

        There are plenty of interesting and stylish looks for men that don’t require a tie.  In fact, for a lot of occasions, going with something interesting is better than the tie and jacket routine — that’s nice but boring.  As long as you understand that formal occasions should still have a tie:)

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_T53WBEPGJZ7MMMZC4O563YU5HA Observer

      I’ll probably have to see it for the sets and costumes.  Fortunately I’m shallow enough to enjoy that aspect even if the movie itself sucks.  The clothes from the 30′s to most of the 50′s could be so stylish even doing war time.  There were of course plenty of frumps just like today; I pretty much fit that catagory, a real whiner if I have to wear a tie.  I do appreciate the people that do put some effort in dressing however.

    • margaret meyers

      Well, we can see their TEETH are all wrong.  Those are Hollywood teeth.  The Windsors had good old English teeth.  Madonna didn’t have someone research this?

    • narita_rayna

      that zig zag outfit is incredible!  i hope the movie doesnt suck. wouldnt it be a kick in the head if it actually got an oscar nomination? at least for costumes…  

    • Anonymous

      Edward Fox nailed the character 30 odd years ago, I can never get my head round anyone else in the role. He was quite a good looking man, just a bit short.
      But, I’m reserving judgement, after all nothing there really says it’s necessarily going to be flattering, although I expect it’ll be shallow.Andrea Riseborough is a great choice, good actress and not someone I think of as conventionally pretty anyway (not as pretty as she looks here).

      That black dress/suit with the white on it is a copy of an original. http://www.independent.co.uk/multimedia/dynamic/00560/wallis_560242t.jpg
      The blue satin is also quite similar to a dress I’ve seen pictured. So the clothes are fairly close to authentic.

      If you want to see a really unflattering portrayal of the Duke & Duchess of Windsor, watch ‘Any Human Heart’. Gillian Anderson and Tom Hollander played them quite cruelly :) although it isn’t about them. And it’s a good series, with some marvellous performances (Kim Cattrall for one).

    • Lisa

      Good lordy, these are GORGEOUS!  And I’m excited for Madge’s directorial debut, even if it is a flop – I don’t care, I just love her!  A sick, twisted part of me even hopes she narrates the whole thing in her fake British accent!

    • Josefina Madariaga

      Is it me or the Duchess looks a little bit like Dita von Teese in some pictures?

    • http://profiles.google.com/trashilove { edi } ilovetrash

      may i note that i used to work w/ her niece {or grand-niece, or something. duchess windsor’s, not duchess madonna’s}. she was the single most racist person i have ever met in my life; in fact, the endless complaints about those of us who are members of the mud races made me physically ill to the point that i had to hide in what was then my office. i was retraining her, the grand-niece, after a horse fell on her. it didnt fall far enough, imneverho.

      may i also note that her boyfriend was, yes, a member of one of our mud races &, in fact, he dressed every day as a clown. & he wasnt a clown. & i’m not making it up or exaggerating. dressed as an actual clown, tho sans makeup, played accordion or something, i think. it was a while ago. never woulda met him but, in ironic coincidence, somehow we wound up on the same plane a few weeks later going to the same nowhere that was, at the time, 120 degrees of flagstaff, az.

      other than that, madonna is the poster child for maximal ambition, minimal talent, always has been. cos i have been all my life attached to the entertainment industry in one wary way or another, i know more obscene, just awful stories about madonna than i do about anyone else, none of which i feel like repeating here, there, anywhere.

      none of which can compare to her ignorant iconicising of fascist sympathisers. ignorant, awful &, of course, repeated. everyone else put it better than i could today, so i just added the funny, in many senses of the word, story uptop.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1260924501 Frank Butterfield

        That racism was a well-documented trait of the Windsors as well.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1260924501 Frank Butterfield

        That racism was a well-documented trait of the Windsors as well.

        • http://profiles.google.com/trashilove { edi } ilovetrash

          thats why i mentioned it. coworker had two topics of conversation, mud races & windsor duchess. that would include the supposed sexual calisthenics that made her the windsor duchess. but had they all not shared this appalling &, at select times, even murderous trait–one at best underplayed, at likeliest ignored by madonna, i woulda let sleeping cats lie.

      • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

        Somehow I can’t be surprised by that.  She seems like someone who bought into her own press before she even had any to buy into.  I think she’s shown herself to have many remarkable traits (such as ambition), but sweetness isn’t one of them.

    • tripletmom96

      the movie will probably be awful, but i may go see it anyway just to see the fabulous clothes…. i have seen some of her exquisite jewelry in some museum shows and there are some fabulous pieces.  i would prefer if they tried to honestly re-create some of her actual clothes since she was quite fashionable, but if the pieces shown here are any indication, they are still worth seeing on-screen…. as for the duke and duchess themselves, everything i have read and heard about them make me not like them very much — there is some debate over whether they were in fact nazi sympathizers, but from what i can gather, they sure seemed to be….

      • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

        There is no more serious debate on their position re: Nazis than there is on whether the Holocaust actually happened.  British intelligences services had  A TON of information regarding her relations with high ranking Nazis, particularly those attached to Britain before the war broke, all of which has been released to the public.  There are also pictures showing them with Hitler shortly after their marriage — they would hardly have sent Edward if that was the case. 

        Things like their sexual proclivities are hearsay, and debate on them is common.  But their Nazi leanings?  Those have been proven and supported with significant documentation. 

    • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

      And oh dear God, she wrote it too….

      This will end poorly.

    • Anonymous

      As for Nazi sympathizers, I truly do not know enough about the history of these two to venture a learned opinion; however, if their story has not been accurately told in the movies, then I think it is high time that it was; whether Madonna is the one to do it justice, I couldn’t possibly say, never having followed her career with any interest. I am interested in the clothes I see here, and they are fabulous. I particularly am drawn to D’Arcy’s suits, he is so beautiful in them, and the tailoring is exquisite. I understand the quibble with historical accuracy, but I generally don’t have an issue with modern takes on vintage clothing, as long as the spirit is maintained.

      • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

        I can pretty much guarantee that Madonna is not telling their story accurately.  In fact, I doubt anyone ever will.  There’s so much that can’t be known about a personal relationship that movies will always get some things wrong.

    • foodycat

      The fact that they are layering what sounds like a half-arsed second timeline over the Windsor’s story also fills me with fear. Beautiful pictures though.

      • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

        And Wallis Simpson is a girl’s spiritual guide of sorts in that second storyline.  Doesn’t that sound just wonderful?  If my daughter ever looked to someone like Wallis Simpson for guidance in anything other than a Papa Bear Bernstein way, I’d have her committed.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=583505025 Kelley Comfort

      LOVELY clothing! Being a huge fan of period films (The King’s Speech and Young Victoria being two of my faves), I have this movie on my “to watch” list. I know it’s Madonna, but she’s directing, not starring in it, and I hear it’s getting good reviews. But the actress…..MAN she’s white. They couldn’t put the slightest bit of blush on her?

    • Anonymous

      TLo – just thought of a potentially useful feature. Right now, you can only reply to one person. Can something be done so that you can reply to multiple people at the same time? I just had an experience where I had 3 replies to a comment and I would have liked to reply to all of them with the answer. Of course, there would have to be some control where you couldn’t reply to everyone (the dreaded ‘CC: all). Perhaps limit it to three? Just a thought.

    • http://twitter.com/vesperbeauty Vesper Beauty

      Blargh PR people … she did get a title: Duchess of Windsor. :P

      • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

        The Duchess title wasn’t the one that counted — she was never Her Royal Highness.  That’s what Edwarq

    • Anonymous

      You can’t expect Madonna to know they were the epitome of Fascism obsession, and borderline treason. Now, can you?! This was really no love story; it was an alliance of convenience: it kept him from having to keep the throne, and it gave her some sort of cover and legitimacy when she was being wooed by Goebbels. Feh. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1017585103 Kanani Fong

      As a couple, they gave me the creeps. And so do these photos. The best thing that ever happened to England was Wallis Simpson. She saved them from having a Nazi Sympathizer as a king. See?  Americans do come in useful for Brits some things!

    • Anonymous

      I won’t go see it because it’s a Madonna movie glorifying despicable people, but I will google as many pictures of the clothing as I possibly can. My favorite era.